A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 6, Tigers 1: The offense continues to snooze. And the Tigers are getting so little respect that some clever wags out there are calling them the “Kittens.” That’s just sad, dude. Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham did most of the damage for the Sox.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1: Fifth straight for Philly, as Phillies-fan commenters slowly creep back into HBT comment sections after a season of mostly silence. Hey, that’s what hope does for you I guess. Welcome back, fellas. Just don’t pretend that you didn’t check out for five months is all I’m asking.

Nationals 5, Mets 1: Gio Gonzalez notched his 19th win — walked five, but the Mets couldn’t capitalize — and Ryan Zimmerman, Kurt Suzuki and Ian Desmond all hit homers. Bryce Harper also broke his belt in the middle of the game while diving for a ball in the outfield. I’m assuming this is symbolism of some sort. Maybe a harbinger. Perhaps a metaphor? Eh, that English minor was obtained over 17 years ago. I’m fuzzy.

Twins 7, Indians 2: First line of the AP recap:

Samuel Deduno struck out six in seven innings and Pedro Florimon made two stellar defensive plays . . .

I refuse to believe those are real people. Sorry. Just not buying it.  Viva September baseball for non-contenders.

Brewers 4, Braves 1: When you have a couple of teams surging meeting each other it tends to be a Thunderdome series: two men enter, one man leaves. The Braves played the roll of Master Blaster here. That is, if walking four dudes in the seventh inning to help throw gas on the fire was what Master Blaster did.

Padres 11, Cardinals 3: For the Dodgers, Pirates, Phillies and the Brewers — or anyone else with pretensions of snagging that second wild card slot that looks vulnerable at the moment — the Cardinals are being quite accommodating. San Diego unloaded an industrial sized can of Whoop-Ass that someone found in the basement of the Western Metal Supply Company, exploding for 11 runs on 17 hits.  Cameron Maybin hit a two-run homer, Will Venable had three RBI. The Cards have lost four of five and now hold a one game lead for the last playoff spot.

Rockies 6, Giants 5: Rockies pitcher Alex White, of all people, homered off Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong’s recent nightmare stretch continues. I don’t want to spoil it for you if, later on, you plan on seeing this one at the theater, but Vogelsong says it’s because he’s “just not making pitches.” Didn’t see that coming.

Cubs 4, Astros 1: Dave Sappelt — another fictitious guy who I think some wiseacre inserted into the box score — scored on a wild pitch. The Cubs quest to not lose 100 gets a boost.

Athletics 3, Angels 1: The A’s are supposed to be crumbling now because of injuries, a tougher late-season schedule and lots of road games. Not happening yet. Jarrod Parker tossed seven innings of three-hit ball.

Reds 4, Pirates 3: Fourteen innings, won by Ryan Ludwick with an infield single. That’s four straight losses for the Buccos and — get this — 21 of 30.  And if you think that’s ugly, get a load of this.

If Brett Anderson hits better this year, thank Josh Donaldson

Los Angeles Dodgers' Brett Anderson ducks away from a pitch from Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg on a bunt attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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Or, at the very least, thank his bat.

Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:

 

If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.

In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.