Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 3, Red Sox 0: Matt Moore throws his first career shutout and it came in the first game of what, so far this year, is the Rays biggest series. Two hits allowed, one walk four strikeouts as the Rays cut a game off the Sox’ division lead, now sitting a half game back.

Reds 11, Giants 0: Bronson Arroyo’s 100th win as a Red comes on a shutout in which he scattered seven hits. It was his sixth shutout all-time. Tim Lincecum had eight days to rest his arm after his 148-pitch no-hitter. Didn’t help much, as he was roughed up to the tune of eight runs on nine hits in three and two-thirds.

Rangers 3, Yankees 0: The third shutout of the night, though this one was a team effort. Yu Darvish brought it into the seventh and then three relievers took it from there. Nelson Cruz homered to help the Rangers to victory. If yesterday’s big news is a harbinger — and it’s hard to see how it isn’t — don’t get used to Cruz helping you out for the rest of this season, Texas fans.

Pirates 6, Nationals 5: The Pirates win, yes, and Andrew McCutchen had two homers, but all anyone wants to talk about is how they’ve lost Jason Grilli to what, by appearances, is a serious arm injury. The Nationals, meanwhile, are a hot mess. Or a cold mess. Whichever mess is the worst.

Dodgers 14, Blues Jays 5: Can’t stop the Dodgers. Oh, wait, I’m sorry: can’t stop the first place L.A. Dodgers. Who were nine and a half games back on June 22nd. A.J. Ellis drove in five. Skip Schumaker hit a three run bomb. Then dropped some bombs after the game.

Braves 2, Mets 1: Jason Heyward does not always play center field. But when he does, he makes game-saving catches. Stay frustrated, my Mets friends.

Padres 5, Brewers 3: The Brewers lost with Ryan Braun this season and they can lose without him too, so in that regard nothing has changed. Not having Corey Hart all year has been just as big a problem. Nightmare year for Milwaukee.

Tigers 7, White Sox 3: Max Scherzer won his 14th game, but Miguel Cabrera left with a sore hip flexor. Unless I’m missing a stint at one time with Florida, I don’t believe he’s ever been on the disabled list. Chris Sale struck out 11 and allowed only two earned runs, but the White Sox allowed five unearned overall. Bad defense aside, Adam Dunn did make one really nice play at first which caused me to almost do a spit take.

Marlins 3, Rockies 1: Miami finally ends their scoreless streak at 37 innings when Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI double in the first. After the game Logan Morrison made a funny when he said that you know the Marlins are clean given how crappy their offense is.

Orioles 9, Royals 2: Tampa Bay is on the verge of overtaking Boston, but don’t sleep on Baltimore. The O’s are now 2.5 back after taking their fifth game in a row. Three RBI a piece from All-Stars Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy.

Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 2: Arizona surrenders first place as emergency starter Chris Rusin — called on to replace the just-traded Matt Garza — held the Dbacks scoreless until the sixth inning. Love that Garza trade for Chicago, by the way.

Athletics 4, Astros 3: A two-run homer for Josh Reddick and a solo shot for Chris Young. The A’s are taking extreme advantage of their new division mates, upping their record to 10-0 against the Astros this year.

Twins 4, Angels 3: Player of the game Clete Thomas. Homer, RBI double and a nice grab on what would have been a go-ahead homer by Chris Iannetta.

Mariners 2, Indians 1: The Mariners — playing this one without Eric Wedge — won their seventh in a row. Kendrys Morales and Mike Zunino each homered and Aaron Harang pitched seven strong innings. Not that I feel like they’re competitive, but the M’s did tie the Angels in the standings.

If Brett Anderson hits better this year, thank Josh Donaldson

Los Angeles Dodgers' Brett Anderson ducks away from a pitch from Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg on a bunt attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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Or, at the very least, thank his bat.

Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:

 

If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.

In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.