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Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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The Cardinals were shut out by the Cubs yesterday afternoon, so the Reds had a chance to move into second place in the National League Central with a win over the Brewers last night. And they appeared in fine position to do just that when Arolids Chapman strolled to the mound for the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Jonathan Lucroy had other ideas in mind.

After Jean Segura beat out an infield single to lead off the ninth, Lucroy turned on a hanging 1-2 slider from Chapman and put it over the left field fence to secure a stunning 7-6 victory for the Brewers. Lucroy was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in his career against the hard-throwing left-hander coming into the night.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Reds, who now sit at 69-53 on the season. They are a half-game behind the Cardinals and 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Pirates. With the Reds and Cardinals comfortably atop the standings for the Wild Card play-in game, it looks like all three NL Central teams will be playing October baseball.

Your Friday box scores:

Cardinals 0, Cubs 7

Royals 2, Tigers 1; Royals 3, Tigers 0

Diamondbacks 2, Pirates 6

Yankees 10, Red Sox 3

Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

Giants 14, Marlins 10

Rockies 6, Orioles 3

Blue Jays 4, Rays 5

Nationals 2, Braves 3 (10 innings)

Mariners 3, Rangers 1

White Sox 5, Twins 2

Astros 8, Angels 2

Mets 5, Padres 2

Indians 2, Athletics 3

Diamondbacks name Dan Haren as pitching strategist

PHOENIX - APRIL 05:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the Opening Day major league baseball game at Chase Field on April 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.

Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.

Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.

Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life

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For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.

And it continues anew:

There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.

Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:

FORT MYERS, - MARCH 14: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox makes the throw to first on the ground ball from Jason Rogers (not in photo) of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning of the Spring Training Game on March 14, 2016 at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, Florida. The Pirates defeated the Red Sox 3-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Or at the end of the 2015 season:

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox warms up prior to the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 31, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won the game 4-3. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.

Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.