Actor Sherman Hemsley dies at age 74 portrayed George Jefferson

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Holy moley, an awful lot of big news happened overnight. Ramirez a Dodger? Cole Hamels almost remaining with Philly? There were even some games!

Athletics 7, Blue Jays 2: The A’s are streaking. That’s six in a row. Derek Norris hit a two-run homer and Yoenis Cespedes drove in three with a single. The A’s success at this juncture of the season is almost as surprising as me learning that the late Sherman Hemsley was into 1970s prog rock and LSD and was all kinds of crazy and different than you’d imagine. Seriously. I have no idea how to process this information. It was bad enough when I realized yesterday that he was younger than I am now when “The Jeffersons” premiered.

Phillies 7, Brewers 6: The second straight day the Phillies rip the Brewers’ hearts out. Or the Brewers choked their guts out. Depends on your point of view. Zack Greinke was fantastic for seven innings, allowing one run and even hitting a homer of his own.  But then the bullpen came in, giving the Phillies a six-run eight inning. Milwaukee: trade Zack Greinke because you’re out of it and you need to get something for him. But also trade him out of basic human compassion.

Cardinals 8, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers stopped streaking as Clayton Kershaw was rocked for eight runs in five and two-thirds. Adam Wainwright [all together now] helped his own cause with an RBI double and taking a walk with the bases loaded.

White Sox 11, Twins 4: Adam Dunn went 3 for 5 with a double a homer and drove in four. Josh Willingham hit two bombs but that’s all the Twins could muster.

Reds 4, Astros 2: What a depressing night for the Astros. First they trade away one of their last bona fide major leaguers in Wandy Rodriguez and then they go and blow a one-run lead in the ninth. Will the last person remaining in Minute Maid Park turn out the lights?

Braves 4, Marlins 3: Jason Heyward hit a sac fly and later singled home Martin Prado to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh. After a shaky start Tim Hudson was solid, retiring the last 16 batters he faced. I suppose now that they’re selling off players that it’s worth watching to see when the Marlins have officially given up on the field.

Red Sox 2, Rangers 1: Clay Buchholz gave the Red Sox a much needed solid start, allowing one run over seven. He didn’t get the win — Vicente Padilla got that when Mike Aviles broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the ninth — but the Sox needed that kind of outing from a starter.

Nationals 5, Mets 2: R.A. Dickey’s 11-game winning streak is over, though he did strike out Bryce Harper three times, which was fun. Gio Gonzalez notched his 13th win to match Dickey, pitching his longest game in two months.

Indians 3, Tigers 2:  The Indians are 6-1 against the Tigers this year. Too bad they can’t play ’em all season long.

Cubs 5, Pirates 1: Paul Maholm is en fuego. He won his fifth straight start, beating his old team which had been rumored to maybe want to trade for him again before snagging Wandy Rodriguez. Maholm has allowed just four earned runs in 38 and a third innings in that winning streak.

Rays 4, Orioles 1: In contrast to good streaks like Maholm’s and good streaks ending like Dickey’s, Jeremy Hellickson has had a bad streak: he had’t gotten a win in nine straight starts.  Well, that changed last night. He gave up one run and three hits in six and a third and didn’t walk anyone.

Mariners 4, Yankees 2: Bad night for A-Rod. His 2000th career strikeout followed by a broken hand. Oh, and since he was in Seattle, he was booed mercilessly. Splendid.

Giants 3, Padres 2: Angel Pagan may have made the play of the year to end the eighth and then Brandon Crawford delivered the game-winning hit in the ninth. Pablo Sandoval left the game after three innings with a left hamstring strain while stretching for a ball at first base.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 2: Five straight wins for Arizona. Joe Saunders allowed only three hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out nine.

Royals 4, Angels 1: Will Smith shut down the Angels. Later today several hack headline writers and highlight show anchors will be fined $100 each for saying he “got jiggy with it.”

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.