Comerica Park

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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I went to Detroit over the weekend where I took in Saturday and Sunday’s Tigers-White Sox games. Such a wonderful time. Cool temperatures, no humidity, good company, good pitching, good food, good beer. It’s really all you could want.

As I watched these games and hung around a city that, no matter what else you can say about it, is a lot of fun and loves baseball, I occasionally checked in on Twitter and baseball blogs to see what sort of news was happening. Observed: the closer you are to real baseball and the more fun you’re having while watching it, the less any of that Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis stuff matters. Even in Detroit, fans were 100% able to (a) talk about that news as intelligent baseball fans might; while (b) cheering for Jhonny Peralta like mad. It’s not either/or. That stuff doesn’t cast a shadow on the team or the season or anything. It’s just something happening.

Baseball is also happening. And it totally trumps that noise. Don’t let anyone wringing their hands over the Biogenesis stuff today and on for the next few weeks tell you differently. Anyway: this happened too:

Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Jim Leyland had the junior varsity in the lineup to start things — Andy Dirks and Don Kelly batting two and three — but once it got to the 12th inning Leyland had Miguel Cabrera (pinch hit single) and Torii Hunter (pinch hit to enter the game in the tenth and a game-winning single in his second at bat) bail the kids out. The White Sox ended their road trip 0-7 and they’ve lost ten in a row overall. Which, eww.

Blue Jays 6, Angels 5: Two in the eighth and two in the ninth help Toronto come back and avoid a sweep. The AP game story lead off by saying “The Toronto Blue Jays avoided a four-game sweep the hard way.” I agree that coming back late is a hard way, but there are harder ways to do it. For example, winning by forfeit when your manager realizes that the other team’s starting pitcher is actually one kid riding on another kid’s shoulders wearing an overcoat, thereby revealing that the other team has violated roster rules is extraordinarily difficult to pull off. La Russa did that once. No one else.

Dodgers 1, Cubs 0: You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. Well then grab the horsehide and let your pitch rip (Stephen Fife: 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 5K, weighs a buck 150, 36 waist). Also, WTF is up with the caption on this photo?

Cardinals 15, Reds 2: Well, the Cardinals offense seems to be doing better. They scored 13, 13 and 15 runs in three of their last four games, respectively. Now, after a tough road trip that took them through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, they have one more tough assignment: the Dodgers at home.

Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: Felix Doubront continues his remarkable consistency, shutting out the Dbacks for seven innings and making his 15th straight start in which he has given up three runs or fewer.

Royals 6, Mets 2: The Royals had a three-run fifth inning in which Marlon Byrd misplayed not one but two balls due to the sun. After the game Byrd said “I need to get better with sun balls.”  I wish the reporter he was talking to shot back with “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. — C. S. Lewis,” but I suppose that’s too much to ask of our decrepit educational system.

Mariners 3, Orioles 2:  Henry Blanco hit a two-run homer in the seventh to help the M’s to a win. Also: Henry Blanco is still alive and is playing baseball and everything. Kids: forget trying to perfect a curve ball. Forget trying to be a shortstop. Learn how to be a backup catcher and you’ll never be unemployed in your life.

Indians 2, Marlins 0: Scott Kazmir and three relievers combine for a shutout. It was the Indians’ major league-best 15th shutout this season. It was Cleveland’s 10th win in 11 games. Now they have four big ones against Detroit, trailing them by three games.

Rays 4, Giants 3: Wil Myers homered and the Rays’ bullpen tossed four and a third scoreless innings after Fauxsto Carmona struggled.

Pirates 5, Rockies 1: A.J. Burnett went the distance and struck out nine. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. Some Yankees fan somewhere is trying to craft some argument about how what they’re doing matters less because they’re on the Pirates.

Twins 3, Astros 2: Twins sweep the Astros.  It was their first sweep and is their first three-game winning streak in over a month.

Brewers 8, Nationals 5: Down 4-1 in the sixth the Brewers put up a five-spot.  Jeff Bianchi’s bloop single over a drawn-in infield put Milwaukee ahead. He also had a squeeze bunt in the game. It was definitely a nice day for backup catchers.

Rangers 4, Athletics 0: Derek Holland tossed eight shutout innings with ten strikeouts. Ron Washington became the Rangers’ winningest manager of all time with this win. Which, honestly, I figured had happened a year or two ago, but I guess Johnny Oates was there longer than I realized. UPDATE: Or make that Bobby Valentine. Whatever.

Padres 6, Yankees 3: Yankees third basemen went 1 for 5. The lede for all game stories tomorrow should be “Thank God A-Rod is back!” But I figure they won’t be.

Braves 4, Phillies 1: Ten straight for the Bravos. Chris Johnson with a couple of RBI. Dude is batting .346. Not bad for a throw-in in the Justin Upton deal.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.