New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 3, Yankees 2: Looking at the Yankees side of the box score and noting Robinson Cano’s contributions compared to everyone else’s and this comes to mind. Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells combined to go 0 for 28 with 12 strikeouts in this marathon game. And while, yes, hats off to the A’s staff for 17 consecutive scoreless innings, fact is that the Yankees offense has been absolutely terrible of late. 19th in runs scored, 23rd in batting average, 22nd in on base percentage and 21st in slugging percentage in all of baseball.

Cardinals 2, Mets 1: It’s a shame, really, that Matt Harvey just doesn’t know how to win. Perhaps he can ask Adam Wainwright how he gets his team to score some runs for him.

Orioles 5, Red Sox 4: It’s not often that a 13 inning game is the third longest of the day, but that’s yesterday for you. The Orioles won despite leaving 16 runners on base and going 4 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Thirteen pitchers used between the two clubs in the first of a four-game series. So this one should be fun to watch this weekend.

Cubs 6, Reds 5: This one went 14, and the Cubs finally broke the Reds Wrigley Field winning streak. The Cubs bullpen racked up 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings.

Royals 10, Rays 1: Elliott Johnson hit a three-run homer and was 3 for 4 overall against his old club. Ervin Santana allowed but an unearned run in seven and two-thirds. Jeremy Hellickson? Five and two-thirds, ten hits, eight runs. More like Jeremy Shellackison, amirite?

Nationals 5, Rockies 4:  Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler drive the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler each left yesterday’s game with injuries. So, yeah. Tulowitzki is going to miss 4-6 weeks. This could be the end of the frisky portion of the Rockies’ season. Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman homered, doubled and drove in three runs, Desmond got four hits.

Blue Jays 3, Rangers 1: Yu Darvish and Esmil Rogers each allowed one run in seven innings. Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run double in the eighth broke the tie.

Giants 10, Pirates 0: Matt Cain: much better these days. He tossed six and two-thirds scoreless innings and wasn’t wanting for run support. Hunter Pence drove in three and is hitting .296/.341/.518 on the year.

Phillies 3, Twins 2: Ben Revere went 4 for 6 and Cliff Lee did nothing to stop the “oh man someone should trade for him at the deadline” stuff, allowing two runs in seven innings.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.