Jake Diekman

A day after Tigers embarrass Phillies, Phillies embarrass themselves

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Last night, the Tigers outclassed the Phillies en route to an easy 10-0 win. Max Scherzer was on point as he improved to 15-1, and Miguel Cabrera was productive as usual. A typical game for the defending American League champions.

This afternoon was an entirely different story, as the Phillies were their own worst enemy. It started off like a normal game. With the Phillies leading 1-0 in the bottom of the third, the Tigers were threatening, loading the bases with one out for Miguel Cabrera. He fell behind 0-2 on some questionable calls, then was, all of a sudden, ejected from the game. Ostensibly, Cabrera had muttered a few words within earshot of home plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Manager Jim Leyland came out to defend his slugger and was promptly tossed as well, an inauspicious start for the Tigers. Matt Tuiasosopo replaced Cabrera, eventually striking out. Prince Fielder fouled out to end the threat.

The Phillies would tack on a couple more runs to go up 3-0. Though Pettibone had pitched well through five innings, he labored all afternoon, having thrown 78 pitches. Manager Charlie Manuel opted to go to his much-maligned bullpen for the final four frames, and that is where it all fell apart. Without having to take you through the painful details, this is what the sixth-inning summary looked like (emphasis mine):

Bottom 6th: Detroit

– J. Diekman relieved J. Pettibone

– A. Dirks walked

– A. Avila safe at first on pitcher J. Diekman’s throwing error, A. Dirks to second

– R. Santiago reached on bunt single, A. Dirks to third, A. Avila to second

– A. Jackson flied out to shallow right

– D. Kelly safe at first on left fielder S. Susdorf’s fielding error, A. Dirks scored, A. Avila to third, R. Santiago to second

– L. Garcia relieved J. Diekman

– M. Tuiasosopo walked, A. Avila scored, R. Santiago to third, D. Kelly to second

– H. Perez ran for M. Tuiasosopo

– P. Fielder safe at first on first baseman D. Ruf’s throwing error, R. Santiago scored, D. Kelly to third, H. Perez to second

– V. Martinez walked, D. Kelly scored, H. Perez to third, P. Fielder to second

– J. Peralta homered to deep left, H. Perez, P. Fielder and V. Martinez scored

– A. Bastardo relieved L. Garcia

– A. Dirks struck out swinging

– A. Avila struck out looking

8 runs, 2 hits, 3 errors

Philadelphia 3, Detroit 11

The inning was actually uglier than the summary suggests, as it lasted over a half hour and featured this gem:

The Tigers went on to win 12-4, completing the series sweep in Detroit. The win is the Tigers’ seventh in their last eight games, while the Phillies extended their losing streak to eight games.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.

Report: Tyson Ross not expected to pitch in April

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park September 29, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:

We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.

Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.