Mets Marlins Baseball

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 7, Marlins 6:  Jordany Valdespin hit a pinch-hit three run homer in the sixth to put the Mets up to stay, breaking their six game losing streak. But Terry Collins is on the hot seatNo he isn’t! Yes he is! She’s my daughter! [slap] My sister! [slap!] My daughter …

Nationals 2, Braves 0: The Nats finally break through against the Braves. Biggest reason: the best kept secret in baseball: Jordan Zimmermann’s awesomeness. Why that’s a secret I don’t know, but ask 100 baseball fans to name the Nats rotation I bet his name is listed after Strasburg and Gonzalez by almost everyone, and I bet some folks even forget it. His numbers may be a tad inflated so far this season because four of his six outings have come against the Marlins-Marlins-Cubs-Mets, but he’s a legit stud. Maybe the most underrated starter in the NL.

Twins 6, Tigers 2: Anibal Sanchez was coming off a 17-strikeout performance against the Braves but here he didn’t really have it. “It” being either his best stuff or an opponent that would swing at it if the pitcher putted it up to home plate. Scott Diamond was sharp. The Twins showed when facing Bruce Rondon that you can throw it 100 miles per hour, but it don’t mean nothin’ if it doesn’t have any movement.

Pirates 6, Brewers 4: Pittsburgh finally takes one at Miller Park. Four runs in the eighth thanks to Starling Marte’s two-run homer and RBI singles from Brandon Inge and Pedro Alvarez. John Axford blew up here, giving the Brewers their first loss this season when leading after seven. Shades of 2012.

Angels 5, Athletics 4: Mark Trumbo has been a bright spot at least. Three homers in three days for the big guy. He also leads the league in mixed metaphors:

“It was probably more of a nail-biter than we would have liked. This team hangs around and they’ll find a way to get back in it if you let them. You just have to keep your foot on the gas pedal and try to pound them into submission before they get their second wind.”

I hate it when people hit me with gas pedals when I’m trying to breathe.

Indians 6, Phillies 0: Ryan Raburn went 4 for 5 and is hitting .364/.407/.655. Because that makes sense. The Indians have won four straight, outscoring their opponents 39-5. The Phillies send Halladay and Lee into a two-game series and get outscored 20-2. That’s something that would have made no sense a year ago at this time. Heck, it still makes little sense.

Cardinals 4, Reds 2: Lance Lynn is 5-0 and has won ten straight decisions. He also got a hit and laid down “a perfect bunt” which he said after the game was what he was most happy about. Pitchers batting is adorable.

Yankees 5, Astros 4: Over at IIATMS, Jason is keeping tabs of how big the Yankees’ disabled list-only payroll is right now. It’s up to $95 million. Yet the Yankees are still winning ballgames. Later this year some manager on the hot seat is gonna start whining about all the injuries he’s had to deal with. He’ll say it’s “not an excuse,” but he really will be offering it as an excuse. When he does, I hope Johnny Sportswriter asks him why his injuries have kept him out of contention while the Yankees are still in the thick of the AL East race.

Cubs 6, Padres 2: Scott Feldman goes the distance, striking out 12 and allowing only two runs. Andrew Cashner — the Cubs first round pick back in 2008 — faces his old coworkers and doesn’t make it into the fifth inning.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 1: Clay Buchholz tosses seven shutout innings and improves to 6-0. Two homers for Mike Napoli, one which travelled multiple parsecs.

White Sox 5, Rangers 2: Texas had its chances against Chris Sale in the first couple of innings but didn’t take full advantage of all of their baserunners. Slenderman — which if people aren’t calling Sale that now, they really should be — settled down after that and didn’t allow anything after that. Conor Gillaspie and Alejandro De Axa homered in the seventh.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 6: The comeback kids: the Giants rally against the Arizona bullpen for the third straight game to sweep the Gritties. Brandon Belt had a three-run homer. I haven’t watched many Giants games this year, but it feel like Belt has had a lot of big late hits for a guy whose batting line is rather blah overall.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 3: I suppose it’s possible the Rockies can keep winning despite getting meh performances from their starting pitchers, but I just don’t feel like it’s likely. Juan Nicasio only went four innings, but the bats — and Dexter Fowler’s glove, robbing Adrian Gonzalez of a dinger — picked him up. This game lasted nearly four hours. You won’t be surprised to learn that Josh Beckett was starting for the Dodgers.

Royals 9, Rays 8: The Rays led 6-1 after three and a half, but Kansas City scored one in the fourth, two in the fifth and five in the sixth. After the game, Jeff Francoeur explained why the Royals feel like they can always come back from deficits:

“Our goal is to get the first one or two guys on every inning and then let whatever is going to happen, happen,” Francoeur said. “Tonight, we were able to do that.”

Jeff Francoeur: on base percentage guru.

Mariners 8, Orioles 3: Seattle has taken five of seven. Michael Morse hit his third homer in four games. After the game Eric Wedge provided his bosses with a baseline which can help them better decide if he needs to be fired later:

“I feel like our guys have taken significant steps and what you are seeing now is more the norm in regard to what our guys are capable of.”

Awfully courteous of him.

White Sox ballpark to be renamed “Guaranteed Rate Field”

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10:  General view as members of the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins stand for the National Anthem before the White Sox home opener at U.S. Cellular Field on April 10, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Stadium naming rights have long been with us. They’re just a part of the sports landscape now. Some are pretty spiffy despite their corporate underwriting: “Great American Ballpark” could be the name of a sports facility even if it wasn’t also the name of an insurance company. “Progressive Field” could be the name of a field even an anti-corporate dude like Bernie Sanders could appreciate, at least if he’s sloppy with capitalization.

Others are clunky: “Globe Life Park in Arlington” seems to have both adjective and preposition problems, as if it were run through a foreign language translator and then back again to English. The joint in Oakland went by the name O.co Coliseum for a spell. That was for Overstock.com, but it didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

At the risk of being snobbish, I think it’s fair to say that there are also higher and lower rent names as well. Banks, airlines and beer companies, however crassly commercial they are, seem a bit more respectable and venerable than, say, the fly-by-night dot com companies which named sports facilities for several years. “Chase” and “Coors” aren’t going anyplace. Those places are named after American institutions, even if they’re still corporate institutions. I’m pretty sure that circa 2001 half the stadiums and arenas in the country were named after businesses still being run out of tech incubators in nondescript office parks, their first biggest investment being the naming rights, their second biggest investment being the ping pong table in the break room.

The White Sox have long played in “U.S. Cellular Field.” This is pretty dicey as it is, given that that company is only a regional wireless provider. Fifth largest in the country. Certainly not A-list, and likely far more identifiable to more Americans as the name of a ballpark than the name of a going telecommunications concern, thereby sort of defeating the purpose of naming rights. Which must be why U.S. Cellular is getting out of the naming rights business, leaving the White Sox to find a different naming rights partner:

As the tenth largest mortgage company in the country, is there even any guarantee that Guaranteed Rate will be in business in 2030? If the choices are “it goes under,” “it gets purchased by a larger lender” and “it’s still there,” I am not putting money on the latter choice.

That aside, it’s just a goofy name for a ballpark. It’ll better lend itself to columnist jokes about bad guaranteed contracts for bust veterans than it will to spreading awareness of a financial services company. And don’t even get me started on the dissonance between the ballpark name and its tenant’s ticket price policies:

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Best work on that, guys.

UPDATE: LOL

 

Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz cleared waivers

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies follows through on a 3 RBI double in the ninth inning off of Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 10,  2016 in Los Angeles, California. Phillies won 6-2.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz have both cleared waivers, which means the club can attempt to trade either player unimpeded. Stark adds that two teams are mulling a pursuit of Ruiz, but Howard is “virtually certain” to stay with the Phillies.

Howard, 36, has unimpressive overall stats, as he’s carrying a .198/.252/.445 triple-slash line with 19 home runs and 43 RBI in 286 plate appearances. The Phillies have limited Howard to right-handed pitching by platooning him with Tommy Joseph.

Shockingly, Howard has been one of the best hitters of the second half, as Corinne Landrey explains at FanGraphs. Using wRC+, an all encompassing offensive statistic that sets 100 at average, only Joey Votto has been a more productive hitter since the All-Star break, owning a 226 wRC+ to Howard’s 191. Howard is trailed by Freddie Freeman (179), Adrian Gonzalez (149), and Paul Goldschmidt (140).

Howard is owed the remainder of his $25 million salary for the 2016 season as well as a $10 million buyout for ’17. Despite Howard’s productive second half and even if the Phillies were to cover all of the remaining money owed, there won’t be much of a market for an inconsistent 1B/DH in his mid-30’s who can’t field, can’t run, and can’t hit left-handed pitching.

Ruiz, 37, has had a solid season, batting .261/.368/.352 in 193 plate appearances. Like Howard, Ruiz has lost playing time at his primary position to a younger player — Cameron Rupp, in this case. Ruiz is owed the remainder of his $8.5 million salary and is under contract next season if his controlling club picks up his $4.5 million option. That option may make him even more attractive to interested clubs, as Ruiz is still a valuable catcher. He has accrued 1.3 Wins Above Replacement despite limited playing time and has a reputation for working well with his pitchers. A playoff-bound club could do a lot worse.