Rockford Files

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 6, Yankees 5: Miguel Cabrera homered for the third straight game. The dude is good. The Tigers have won six straight and, with the White Sox loss, pull to within a half game. Speaking of the Tigers, I found out last night that one of the people I hung out with at Comerica Park this past weekend wrote a book about “The Rockford Files” that was published yesterday. That’s him, as a young man, on the cover next to Garner. And he also owns a Rockford-style gold Firebird, which is for sale and looks suh-weet. How did none of this come out over the three days I spent with this guy?

Phillies 3, Braves 0: Philly breaks the losing streak to Atlanta via a Cole Hamels shutout. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer. This is how they drew things up once upon a time.

Marlins 4, Mets 2: Jose Reyes extends his hitting streak to 25 and his being-booed-at-Citi-Field streak to two. Giancarlo Stanton hit a sac fly in his return. The Mets have dropped eight in a row at home.

Diamondbacks 10, Pirates 4: Chris Johnson smacks two homers, helping the Dbacks rally for seven runs in the last two innings to beat Pittsburgh. The Pirates have dropped three of five. It’s too early to worry, though. Right? RIGHT?

Brewers 3, Reds 1: Well, I suppose it really is too early to worry about the Pirates, what with the Reds dropping three in a row themselves. Mike Fiers shut them down, tossing eight innings of one run ball and striking out seven.

Giants 4, Cardinals 2: Cards lose too, so I guess it doesn’t matter for any of the contenders in that division. Barry Zito was effective and Buster Posey hit a three-run homer.

Royals 5, White Sox 2: Country Breakfast was two for four with a yicketty. Can’t tell from the box score if it was mammo.

Rays 4, Blues Jays 1: Evan Longoria came back and went 1 for 3 with an RBI. J.A. Hapless allowed four runs in four and a third innings for the Jays.

Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: Ryan Dempster notches his first win as a Ranger. He pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning. No earned runs, but the three unearned runs came on a home run he gave up to Will Middlebrooks after an error. Unearned runs are stupid. I mean, it’s not like he didn’t sever up a three run dinger there. It did happen, and it happened because he got smacked. Whatever.

Twins 7, Indians 5: That’s 11 straight losses for Cleveland. This one coming when the Twins plated six runs in the final three innings thanks in part to bad Cleveland defense. Chris Perez blew his second save in three days. The recently-recalled  Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a sac fly to give Minnesota the lead. Because he’s clutch like that.

Nationals 3, Astros 2: Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer and then hit an RBI single in the 12th, accounting for all of Washington’s runs. Houston threatened in the bottom of the inning but Roger Bernadina made a diving catch into the wall to end the game.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 1: One-man wrecking crews were a thing last night I guess, because Josh Rutledge did it too. He had three doubles and a single, driving in all three Colorado runs. Rutledge, who is filling in for Troy Tulowitzki, was called up from Double-A around the All-Star break and has since driven in 18 runs in 22 games.

Padres 7, Cubs 4: Seven straight losses for the Cubs. Carlos Quentin hit a three run homer.

Orioles 8, Mariners 7: Baltimore wins yet another one run game, and another extra innings games, continuing its charmed existence in that regard. They’ve won 12 straight extra innings games, actually, five of which lasted 13 innings or more. Two homers for Matt Wieters. Hey, remember these?

Athletics 10, Angels 4: Bartolo Colon pitched seven scoreless innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 22 and a third. The A’s racked up 13 hits including four homers off Angels pitching.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.