And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 4, Indians 3: The M’s just keep on winning. That’s eight in a row, with this one ending interestingly. The Indians had runners on the corners with no one out in the ninth. Then Drew Stubbs got caught in a rundown he probably shouldn’t have gotten caught in between third and home, ending the play out in a double play which erased both baserunners. Michael Bourn struck out, game over.

Reds 3, Giants 9Giants 5, Reds 3: A weird doubleheader in which the Giants were the home team in the first one and the Reds were the home team in the nightcap, batting last and wearing their home uniforms and everything. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that both games were in AT&T Park and that the Reds had agreed to make up a home rainout in San Francisco as opposed to the teams chartering jets and traveling to Ohio in between games. There was a time in this country where people had vision and ambition and such a thing would not have seemed so crazy. Thanks, Obama.

Red Sox 6, Rays 2: An eight strikeout performance from Jon Lester, who was making the start on extra rest. He gave up two runs and seven hits with no walks in six and a third. He needed that.

Dodgers 10, Blue Jays 9: Toronto had a five-run lead in the sixth and piddled it away. Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer, he Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis each had three RBI. Five straight for L.A., 22 of 27 overall.

Pirates 5, Nationals 1: Gerrit Cole had no problems with the Nats, pitching seven strong and driving in a run. The Nats have lost five straight. Jayson Werth after the game: “Things aren’t going our way and we’re not winning games. We need to find a way to win a game.” That’s some keen insight there, Jayson.

Mets 4, Braves 1: Bright side for the Nats: The Braves have sucked too. Carlos Torres allowed a leadoff homer to Andrelton Simmons but nothing else of consequence. I was so depressed watching this game that I turned it off and watched episode 6 of “Sherlock” for the fourth time or so. I feel like I know how Holmes did that thing at the end now. But thanks to the BBC I’ve been waiting over a year for the resolution and will be waiting a lot longer. British TV is weird.

Yankees 5, Rangers 4: Two runs off Joe Nathan in the ninth is not the sort of thing one can count on very often, but that’s what the Yankees got thanks to an RBI triple by Eduardo Nunez who was then driven in on a Brent Lillibridge single. Weirdest part: the tying run came in the form of Vernon Wells who actually drew a walk. He doesn’t do that terribly often.

Padres 6, Brewers 2: Nick Hundley was 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBI. Just before the game Milwaukee traded Francisco Rodriguez. This has been quite a week for unloading jerks in Milwaukee. Anyone gonna argue that the team now has better chemistry? Nah, of course not. They’re not winning.

Tigers 6, White Sox 2: Seven scoreless for Rick Porcello. The White Sox committed four errors. This one night after they had three. More like the Chicago White Slops, amirite?

Cardinals 4, Phillies 1: Make that three teams in the NL East “hunt” stinking up the joint. Shelby Miller struck out six in six shutout innings to nab his tenth win. Allen Craig drove in a couple. More like the NL Least, amirite?

OK, sorry. I’ll cut that out now.

Royals 3, Orioles 2: Bruce Chen is now 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA. Only two starts and a lot of relief work in that, but you have to assume these are showcase starts for a trade, right? Of course that assumes Dayton Moore knows what he’s doing.

Marlins 4, Rockies 2: No matter how poorly the P.R. end of the offseason purge was for the Marlins, you have to admit that this team is more interesting giving a showcase to the kids while losing than it is trotting out highly-paid veterans and losing. Jose Fernandez gave up two runs over seven innings while striking out eight. Christian Yelich makes his debut after yesterday’s callup going 3 for 4 with a couple driven in.

Astros 5, Athletics 4: A three-run ninth for the Astros, with runs scoring on a Matt Dominguez homer then a passed ball/throwing error combo gave them the walkoff win. It was Grant Balfour’s first blown save in a long, long time.

Diamondbacks 10, Cubs 4: A.J. Pollock doubled, tripled and drove in three, Eric Chavez tripled and drove in three and Patrick Corbin kept the Cubs more or less contained.

Twins 10, Angels 3: Your standard seven-run 10th inning, highlighted by a Chris Herrmann grand slam. Herrmann was filling in for Joe Mauer, who high-tailed it out of there for the birth of his twins.

Jose Canseco to join NBC Sports California as an A’s analyst

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Hey, I have a new coworker: Jose Canseco has been hired by NBC Sports California as an Athletics pregame analyst.

OK, maybe he’s not technically a coworker, as the folks at NBC Sports California — formerly CSN Bay Area — and I do not hang out at the water cooler, have potlucks in the conference room or exchange secret Santa gifts at Christmas time, but dang it, I’m gonna TELL people I work with Jose Canseco. The only downside will be people assuming that, because he and I are on the same team, my performance is something less than authentic. Or, perhaps, Canseco may write another book and tell all of my secrets.

Anyway, Canseco will be part of NBC Sports California’s A’s Pregame Live and A’s Postgame Live shows. Live TV can be hard. I’ve done a bit of it, and there is certainly more to that gig than meets the eye. You can’t always prepare for what happens on the fly. I’m sure Canseco will do well, however, as he’s great with coming up with the best stuff off the top of his head.

2017 Preview: Cleveland Indians

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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 Cleveland Indians.

The Cleveland Indians almost won the World Series without their best hitter for the whole season and two of their starting pitchers for the playoffs. This year that hitter — Michael Brantley — is back and the starters — Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar — are healthy. Oh, and they added arguably the best free agent bat available in Edwin Encarnacion.

Baseball teams love to downplay their expectations, but given where the Indians are at the moment, anything less than another American League Pennant will have to feel like a disappointment, right? Fortunately for the Indians, they stand as the favorites to do just that.

They didn’t lose much in the offseason. Yes, World Series hero Rajai Davis is gone, but the Indians outfield will be fine if Brantley remains healthy. Mike Napoli‘s loss will be felt but it will be made up for with Encarnacion’s bat and probably then some. Coco Crisp left too, but he was not a key part of the equation.

The biggest losses are guys from last year who will start the year on the disabled list, most notably Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. Kipnis is just starting to work out following time off to rest his sore shoulder. Chisenhall ran into a wall the other day and is being evaluated. There is no sense that either will miss extended time, however.

Otherwise, the lineup should score a lot of runs, with on-base machines Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor setting the table for Encarnacion, Brantley and Carlos Santana, who is entering his walk year. The Indians trailed only the Red Sox in runs scored in the American League last year and they should score a lot of runs this year as well.

The strength of the club, however, remains its pitching. Corey Kluber looked like his old Cy Young self last year, particularly in the playoffs. Danny Salazar built on his excellent 2015 season in the first half before falling prey to injury. Carlos Carrasco posted an ERA+ of 141 before breaking his hand and Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer both stood out for fourth and fifth starters.

The bullpen is excellent too, as relief ace Andrew Miller is joined by Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and newcomer Boone Logan make up one of the relief corps in baseball.

Pitcher health is probably the biggest uncertainty for any contender, but the Indians have the best pitching in the AL if everyone stays healthy. And maybe even if one or two guys don’t.

It’s hard to find much fault with the 2017 Cleveland Indians. They are the class of their division and, while the slog of the regular season turns a lot of surefire contenders into hash before it’s all said and done, there is no reason to look at the Indians right now and think of them as anything other than the best team in the American League.

Prediction: First place, American League Central.