San Francisco Giants v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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The losing team scored two runs in eight of last night’s fifteen games. I have no idea if that’s uncommon or not, but I noticed it and I’m going to pretend it’s a sign or portent or something. Anyway:

Pirates 8, Giants 2: Welcome to the big leagues Gerrit Cole. The 2011 number one pick pitched shutout ball into the seventh before running out of gas, allowed two runs total, got the win and drove in the first two runs of the game with an RBI single.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Any time you have a fight where some of the most active participants include multiple former MVPs and a couple of guys with arguments for one, well, that’s something. Hats off to you, Don Mattingly, Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire, Matt Williams, and Don Baylor! Show ’em how we do it, 80s-style!

Mariners 4, Astros 0: Aaron Harang got shellacked his last time out. This time? He tossed a two-hit, ten strikeout shutout in a game that lasted only two hours and fifteen minutes. He may be one of the more hard-to-predict pitchers of the past decade or so. Just never know what you’re gonna get with him.

Orioles 3, Angels 2: Miguel Gonzalez was sharp, allowing one run over eight innings. Nick Markakis delivered the go-ahead runs on a two-run single in the seventh.

Cardinals 9, Mets 2: Five unearned runs for the Cardinals, helped in part by a Daniel Murphy error at first base. Miss Ike yet? OK, maybe not. Allen Craig with a three-run homer. Michael Wacha got his first win and helped his own cause with an RBI.

Rays 8, Red Sox 3: Two homers for Desmond Jennings as the Rays rough up Jon Lester for seven runs in four and two-thirds. He hasn’t won since May 15.

Marlins 5, Brewers 4: Giancarlo Stanton returns and hits a two-run homer that put the Marlins in front for good. The Miami fans weren’t all that impressed with the return of their team’s best player, however: a paltry 13,110 bought tickets, the Marlins’ lowest attendance total of the year.

Indians 5, Rangers 2: The Indians snap their eight-game losing streak — and a 12-game road losing streak — behind Corey Kluber’s one-run performance over eight innings. Texas fans weren’t totally unhappy, though, as it was Yu Darvish bobblehead night. And that’s what it’s all about, yes?

Reds 12, Cubs 2: Four homers for the Reds as they continue their dominance of the Cubs. Four driven in for Zack Cozart.

Blue Jays 7, White Sox 5: Chien-Ming Wang makes his 2013 debut. It wasn’t pretty — five runs and ten hits allowed in seven and a third innings — but he kept his team in the game. The winning run scored on a Ramon Troncoso wild pitch. In other news there was a fog delay at U.S. Cellular on Monday and a lighting malfunction delay on Tuesday.

Rockies 8, Nationals 3: Tyler Colvin homered twice and drove in four runs in his first game since being recalled from the minors. Carlos Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking three-run homer. Remember when Dan Haren was good?

Tigers 3, Royals 2: Max Scherzer improves to 9-0 and shows that he doesn’t need crazy run support to win games. The Royals win streak ends.

Twins 3, Phillies 2: A three-hit night and the go-ahead RBI for Justin Morneau. The Phillies have dropped four in a row.

Padres 3, Braves 2: Andrew Cashner allowed only two runs in eight innings — his longest career outing — and the Padres scored single runs in the first, second and third, which is all they needed.

Athletics 6, Yankees 4: A late rally by the Yankees fell short as Seth Smith made a nice catch on what looked like it could have been a game-tying homer by Travis Hafner in the ninth. Derek Norris homered and drove in four runs, Bartolo Colon continued to be as solid as a rock and the A’s won their eighth game in their last 11. They have the franchise’s best record at this point of the season since 1992.

Breaking Down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot: Lou Piniella

TORONTO - JULY 9:  Manager Lou Pinella of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during batting practice prior to the1991 All-Star Game at the Toronto Sky Dome on July 9, 1991 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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On Monday, December 5, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame — the replacement for the Veterans Committee which covers the years 1988-2016 — will vote on candidates for the 2017 induction class. This week we are looking at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness. Next up: Lou Piniella

The case for his induction:

He notched 1,835 wins, made seven postseason appearances, a won a World Series as a manager. That win total is good for 14th all time. Of the 13 men ahead of him, 12 are already in the Hall. The only who isn’t is Gene Mauch, who was under .500 for his career. Connie Mack and Bucky Harris are in that crowd and they were under .500 too, but Mack is kind of a special case as the all-time wins leader and Harris, well, I dunno, he hung around forever and the Veterans Committee was a different beast back in the 1970s. Point is, if you have Piniella’s win total and you’re over .500, as Piniella is, you’re probably getting in, at least eventually.

A lot of those wins came in some good places and at some good times, adding some psychological weight to that record. Taking the 1990 Reds to the World Series and beating the heavily favored A’s was a great story and, as the Reds’ last title for 26 years and counting, stands as a more memorable accomplishment than doing it someplace else. Likewise, his next job, in Seattle, coincided with the franchise’s best seasons thanks to the emergence of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez under Piniella’s command. Mariners’ history fundamentally changed during the Piniella era and he will always be associated with that. Oh, and his 2001 team set the single season record for wins with 116. He made two playoff appearances with the Cubs too. That’s been eclipsed by the 2016 team’s exploits, but it was a pretty big deal at the time.

It’s also worth noting that Piniella likewise had a very fine playing career, with 18 seasons of 109 OPS+ hitting, a Rookie of the Year Award and a couple of World Series rings on his resume. That’s not enough by itself to get him in the Hall, but he presents a nice total package as a Baseball Man Supreme who has been thought highly of for close to 50 years now.

Oh, one other thing: he was colorful. He had a temper and a repuatation as kind of a red ass, with a good number of on-the-field incidents which stick in people’s minds. That sort of thing doesn’t necessarily make someone a good manager or a good person, but Piniella has been seen as a guy who mellowed with age and, at various times in his career, showed that he had a sense of humor about all of that stuff which makes it play a heck of a lot better. For Hall of Fame purposes, it certainly plays a heck of a lot more memorably.

The case against his induction:

His years in Tampa Bay weren’t all that great and, by the time his days in Chicago were over there was a sense that he was sort of running on fumes and padding that win total to get him into that top 14. In both places Joe Maddon eventually came along and did better things and, in some cases, undoing some bad things Piniella did. Some believe he should’ve won another pennant or two and, yes, some of those Mariners teams disappointed in the postseason. Some people look less amusingly on his temper tantrums over the years and, I suppose, one could characterize them a bit more sinisterly than I did above without being too dramatic.

Would I vote for him?

I think so. As I mentioned in the George Steinbrenner entry, when it comes to managers and executives, I put a lot of weight on whether one could tell the story of baseball in a guy’s era without mentioning his name. Piniella is no Joe Torre, Bobby Cox of Tony La Russa in that regard, but he’s pretty close to that group in terms of the figure he cut in the game and, as I mentioned, he’s critical to the story of a couple of franchises. Certainly the Mariners but also the 1970s Yankees as a player and, possibly, the 1990 Reds. I tend to be a softer Hall of Fame touch than a lot of people, so I get that people may disagree, but I’d put him in.

Will the Committee vote for him?

Hard to say. On the one hand, Piniella feels like the sort of baseball man that gets rewarded by the Veterans Committee. On the other hand, the Veterans Committee took ages to vote in some other notable managers such as Whitey Herzog, suggesting that maybe Piniella will have to wait. This is the first year for the new composition of the Veterans Committe, however, so it’s hard to say if they’ll be tougher or easier graders. He may be the hardest call of all of the guys on this year’s ballot.

Twins hire James Rowson as their hitting coach

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
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The Minnesota Twins have announced that they have hired James Rowson as their hitting coach.

Rowson was the minor league hitting coordinator for the New York Yankees for seven of the last nine seasons, interrupted by a short stint with the Chicago Cubs as minor league hitting coordinator. He also worked at the minor league levels with the Los Angeles Angels. He played in the minors for the Seattle Mariners and Yankees.

Rowson replacesTom Brunansky, who was hitting coach for the past four seasons.