Cliff Lee

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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I looked at the schedule as I sat down to write this and noted that, even including the postponed game, there were only 14 games yesterday. Rays-A’s played Thursday-Saturday, leaving yesterday off to avoid conflicts with the Republican National Convention. Guess you couldn’t expect the RNC to compromise, so …

Anyway, it was weird and disorienting to see less than a full slate of games. Only thirteen thanks to the rain in Baltimore. Oh wells:

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: The sweep. With Cliff Lee pitching like Cliff Lee is supposed to pitch. Everyone’s having a lard at the Phillies season in the wilderness, but I think folks are gonna be in for a surprise next year when everyone’s healthy and they have Hamels/Lee/Halladay and a couple of good bats. It ain’t perfect, no, but that more than plays in the NL.

Brewers 7, Pirates 0: You hear that Mr. Hurdle?… That is the sound of inevitability… It is the sound of your death… Goodbye, Mr. Hurdle…

Braves 7, Giants 1: Tim Hudson allowed one over seven innings and, while it wasn’t an awful start, Tim Lincecum looked quite mortal allowing three over five. Back to back homers by Heyward and Freeman in the ninth were unnecessary piling on.

Cardinals 8, Reds 2: Four hits and four RBI for Matt Holliday, who has to be a part of the MVP conversation. Allen Craig homered and drove in three. The Cardinals are heating up. They’ve past the Pirates and, while still six back of the Reds, are looking dangerous.

Yankees 4, Indians 2: Curtis Granderson hit his 200th home run. Of all time, not in the game or the season, because those would be records. New York took two of three from lowly Cleveland, giving them a bit of breathing room over the Rays, who are four back.

Tigers 5, Angels 2: Back to back homers in the sixth by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. Max Scherzer continued his recent good run, striking out nine in seven innings and winning his 14th. Mike Trout had a bad series. I note it only because I think it’s the first bad series he’s had all year.

Cubs 5, Rockies 0: Chris Volstad got his first win since, I think, the Carter administration. The game ended early due to rain. Gonna level with you: i’m having a hard time thinking about a Cubs game in Chicago, guys. For reasons that are best left unexplored but which have something to do with my girlfriend, I started watching that old TBS show “My Boys” over the weekend. The one with the female lead who covers the Cubs and has all the male friends and — based on two or three episodes anyway — looks like it’s gonna be some inside-out “Sex and the City” thing, albeit somewhat smarter. Upshot: the chick is pretty good looking, but all I keep thinking is how the people who really cover the Cubs look like Paul Sullivan. I can only suspend my disbelief so much, folks.  Oh, and I want the main character’s apartment.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 4: Seven game winning streak for the Friars. They have swept the Diamondbacks in Arizona twice this year. A  three-man umpire crew officiated the game after crew chief Tim Tschida was scratched due to “personal medical reasons.” With the caveat that I will take this joke back if it turns out to actually be serious, I’m gonna assume he’s suffering from Little Donnie’s Disease.

Red Sox 8, Royals 6:  Pedro Ciriaco had three hits, scored twice and drove in two. James Loney had an RBI single. Wondering how long until the new car smell wears off the new look Sox and everyone starts to realize that, just because some guys no one likes are gone, the team isn’t any more fun to watch and certainly isn’t better.

Twins 6, Rangers 5: You can’t stop Ben Revere, you can only hope to contain him. Four hits for him, as the Twins broke a five-game losing streak.

Marlins 6, Dodgers 2: Four homers for the Marlins. Three in three games for Giancarlo Stanton. He had eight homers during the Marlins’ 11-game road trip.

Mets 2, Astros 1: Offensively, it was all Ike Davis, as he accounted for both Mets runs with homers, including the walkoff. Lucas Duda gunned a would-be runner out at home in the ninth to keep the game tied at 1.

White Sox 4, Mariners 3: Like the Cubs game, this one was called early — after seven — due to rain. Tyler Flowers’ game-winning homer came in just under the wire.

Blue Jays vs. Orioles: POSTPONED: As a man I ain’t never been much for sunny days. I’m as calm as a fruit stand in New York and maybe as strange. But when the color goes out of my eyes, it’s usually the change.  But damn Sam I love a woman that rains.

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.