Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Braves 4, Marlins 3: The Braves clinch a playoff berth on a Freddie Freeman walkoff jack. It only guarantees them a slot in the one-game gimmicky thing next Friday, but that beats the hell out of last September. The only thing that would have made this better is if Heath Bell, as the the Marlins walked to the clubhouse, went up to Ozzie Guillen and told him that he wouldn’t have blown the save if Ozzie wasn’t such a jerk and kept him from closing.

Tigers 3, Royals 0: Anibal Sanchez comes up big, tossing a three-hit, ten-strikeout shutout, and the Tigers take advantage of an earlier White Sox loss for the first time in what seems like forever. Things are all tied up in the AL Central.

Indians 4, White Sox 3: Tied up because the Sox’ 9th inning rally off Chris Perez, though quite promising for a while, fell short. Russ Canzler had a big day. Meaningless but fun: Canzler has played two games against Chicago this year and he is 4 for 8 with two homers and a double and three driven in.

Phillies 6, Nationals 3: A four game lead with eight to go is pretty safe, but really Washington, you don’t want to be doin’ this. Not that I’m gonna stop you from doin’ this, but dudes, seriously. Not the best night ever for Cole Hamels, but he won his 16th, which sets a new high for him.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: This series could be the Brewers’ Waterloo. And I’m not talking about the one on Highway 89 northeast of Madison.  The loss, combined with the Cardinals win drops them four and a half back in the wild card.

Cardinals 4, Astros 0: About that Cardinals win: Jaime Garcia tossed seven shutout innings. I haven’t checked it, but I bet — win or lose — the Astros have had the most impact on the NL playoff race this year. Be it knocking off the Phillies or laying down to the contenders, the Astros have paid a rich and meaningful role in the pennant race.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 0: Another classic six-pitcher shutout. Viva September. Aaron Laffey led the way with five innings of goose eggs.

Twins 5, Yankees 4: I guess Denard Span wasn’t lying when he told Adam Jones he was trying to help the O’s the best he can. Span drove in two and the Yankees can’t put any more daylight between themselves and the Orioles. The gap remains one and a half.

Angels 5, Mariners 4: Angels pitchers strike out 20 M’s batters — Greinke fanned 13 in five innings himself — and hold on for a 5-4 victory. Justin Smoak had two bombs in a losing effort. Losing team effort, anyway. His effort was smashing, baby.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2: David Price continues to be a beast. He notches his 19th win while striking out 13 Red Sox. Jeff Keppinger’s second inning three-run shot was all the Rays needed.

Pirates 10, Mets 6: At least Pittsburgh managed to avoid being mathematically eliminated for an extra night. Which is something. Approximately 236 players were used in this game.

Rockies 10, Cubs 5:  DJ LeMahieu singled, doubled and tripled but had his shot at the cycle cut short due to rain, as this one was called after six and a half innings. Stinks for him, but ending a late-season Cubs-Rockies game early is a positive in humanitarian terms. Indeed, I view the rain as evidence that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Diamondbacks 7, Giants 2: Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in five. Tim Lincecum had been on track but then pinches off a Seven run on five hit four inning performance heading into the playoffs. Troublesome.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Edinson Volquez had seven shutout innings as the Dodgers continue to sink.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2: George Kottaras hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning. He hit it off Mark Lowe who, for reasons which are clear only to Ron Washington, was pitching in a tied game in the 10th inning. This is the sort of magic that folks point to when they say that Washington, however good a manager he is over the long haul, costs his team individual games.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.