And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 10, Blue Jays 6: “The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.” Carl Sandburg said that about fog. “It was worse than when it rains. With the lights, it made it really really bright. It was weird.” Adam Dunn said that about fog. Which may not be as good as what Sandburg said, but Dunn hit two homers so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Reds 6, Cubs 2: Fog on the north side too, but this time it didn’t inspire any poetry that we know of. It did feature Brandon Phillips driving in six runs, though, and the way some people love RBIs I’m sure they’re composing some epic verse about Phillips’ clutchiness or what have you. The Reds have beaten the Cubs 17 of the past 20 times they’ve faced them and ten straight times at Wrigley Field.

Red Sox 10, Rays 8: Fisticuffsmanship! Well, more like a violence-free, bench-clearing shuffle no one’s heart was really in after John Lackey drilled Matt Joyce in the back for flipping his bat after he thought he had hit a second home run off the Boston starter (it was foul). Boston won this one despite blowing a 6-0, an 8-7 lead and a 9-8 lead, the first of those it enjoyed in the first inning, the second and third of which it enjoyed in extras. This one was over in a crisp five hours, twenty-four minutes.

Brewers 6, Marlins 1: [CTRL-V]: [Pitcher] tossed [number] shutout innings against the Marlins. [highlight, CTRL-V: “Yovani Gallardo”] [highlight, CTRL-V: “eight”].

Orioles 4, Angels 3: The O’s got two runs in the sixth before the game was halted due to monsoons and such for two hours and change. That was all the scoring that would happen, though. I sorta feel like Mother Nature didn’t want a lot of baseball played last night. Maybe She had some TV to catch up on.

Rangers 6, Indians 3: Welp, those Indians sure are doing what they can to derail Terry Francona’s Manager of the Year campaign. Eight straight losses in a row for The Tribe, who are now tied with the Royals for second place in the AL Central. Eighteen days ago they were in first place.

Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4: This was not one for fans of stellar bullpen work. Brandon League was handed a 3-1 lead in the ninth and surrendered four runs, all on singles, two of the infield variety. Heath Bell came in to close it out for Arizona, and ultimately did, but not before allowing a homer and allowing the Dodgers to get runners on the corner with nobody out. He still got the save, though, and someone will one day say that Bell knows what it takes to lock down games in the ninth inning or some such.

Padres 7, Braves 6: A late rally falls short for Atlanta. San Diego beat up Julio Teheran and Jason Marquis stymied his old mates. Well, not his old mates since he last played for Atlanta a decade ago, but you know what I mean. Jason Heyward was 13 then. He hit two homers last night. Will Venable drove in three.

Royals 3, Tigers 2: Break up the Royals. Kansas City wins its sixth in a row, as Tigers hitters not named Miguel Cabrera could do nothing against Jeremy Guthrie and four Royal relievers. Doug Fister pitched a complete game loss. You don’t see a ton of those these days.

Mariners 3, Astros 2: Hisashi Iwakuma continues to roll right along, upping his record to 7-1 lowering his ERA to 1.79 after seven innings in which he allowed only one unearned run. Indeed, he hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 26.

UPDATE: Donald Trump declines Nats offer to throw out the first pitch

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UPDATE: Welp, we wont’ get to see that:

Sad!

8:53 AM: It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.

2017 Preview: Texas Rangers

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Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Texas Rangers.

The Rangers somehow won the AL West last year despite not being super great at any one aspect of the game. There are stars here — Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Rougned Odor are all spiffy players — but the Rangers won the division by being greater than the sum of their parts. They scored a decent number of runs despite some bad collective peripheral numbers and they allowed more runs than anyone in the AL except the Twins and Athletics. Yet they had a great record in one-run games and outperformed their pythagorean record by a WHOLE lot. Luck shined brightly on the 2016 Rangers.

It’s hard to expect luck to hold in any instance, but that’s especially the case when there have been some pretty significant changes. Changes like the loss of Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland. In their place: A full season, the Rangers hope, from Shin-Soo Choo, a converted-to-outfield Jurickson Profar and Mike Napoli. That may wash out OK, especially if Choo is healthy, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see some regression in two of those offensive slots.

Starting pitching is also a big question mark. Cole Hamels at the top is not a problem, obviously, and if Yu Darvish is healthy and durable the Rangers have an outstanding 1-2 punch. Martin Perez in the third spot presents promise, but he’s been exactly average so far in five major league seasons. The back end of the rotation has some real problems. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are hurt at the moment and even if healthy, Cashner seems to be a shell of his once-promising self. A.J. Griffin is looking to pitch in his first full season since 2013. If the Rangers are strong contenders all year it’s gonna be on the “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain” model, but I have no idea what rhymes with “Darvish” and that’s sort of a problem.

The bullpen is going to look a lot like it did last year. Sam Dyson will close, but manager Jeff Banister has shown in the past that he’s not a slave to keeping guys in any one role down there. Jeremy Jeffress will likely set up but he’s closed before. Some think Matt Bush or Keone Kela could close. We’ll see Tanner Scheppers and lefty Alex Claudio. Banister has a Manager of the Year Award on his mantle and while that often doesn’t mean anything, it usually suggests that a guy knows how to deal with his pen. Banister will do OK with what he has.

Really, though, the rotation is a concern, as is hoping that a 35-year-old Mike Napoli and a soon-to-be 38-year-old Adrian Beltre can continue to be the types of players who can form the offensive core of a playoff team. There’s talent and a track record here, but there’s a lot of uncertainty. For that reason, I suspect the Rangers will fall back a smidge this year, even if they’re a playoff contender.

Prediction: Second Place, American League West.