Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 1: Three bombs for Juan Uribe and four driven in. What a season for the guy who, in his first two years in Dodger blue, looked lost and, frankly, over. This year he’s hitting .279/.334/.476, is playing excellent defense at third and who has been, by all accounts, a great guy in the clubhouse whether he’s been struggling or not. Oh, and Uribe was so good last night it’s easy to overlook the fact that Ricky Nolasco didn’t give up an earned run into the seventh inning. Oh, and the win eliminated the Giants from NL West contention, which is kinda sweet for those of the Los Angeles persuasion.

Cubs 2, Reds 0:  Travis Wood with seven shutout innings and a couple of solo homers was enough for the Cubs to stop Cincy. Until looking at his stat line I totally forgot Wood was with the Reds previously. What else am I forgetting? [starts to write things all over his body like Guy Pearce in “Memento.”]

Orioles 4, Yankees 2: Managers got chippy in this one after Joe Girardi accused Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson of stealing signs in less-than-calm fashion and then Buck Showalter came racing over to confront Girardi about it in less-than-calm fashion. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Lyle Overbay hit home runs, but it wasn’t enough as Chris Tillman allowed only those two runs and the O’s scored four on a couple of sac flies, a single and a double.

Nationals 9, Mets 0: Well that was a dominant win. Gio Gonzalez with a one-hitter and eight strikeouts and Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each drove in three. A forfeit is officially scored 9-0 too. Maybe the Mets woulda been better off just staying home?

Indians 4, Royals 3: Ten strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings for Ubaldo Jimenez. The Royals playoff hopes, at four games back of the wild card and four teams above them, seem pretty over.

Braves 5, Marlins 2: Atlanta snaps its four-game losing streak with a five-run fourth inning. All of their hits came in the fourth too, which is kinda efficient. And kinda worrisome too, but let’s worry about that when they can’t score runs in the playoffs. Kris Medlen got the win. He started 1-6 and this brought his record up to 13-12.

Twins 6, Angels 3: Jered Weaver has a history of dominating the Twins but he didn’t last night. Trevor Plouffe drove in three. “Trevor effing Plouffe. Plouffe was magical. He was like a GD unicorn.”

Pirates 1, Rangers 0: And with that, the Buccos have their first winning season since 1992. That’s great for history. More important for the Pirates is that Gerrit Cole was effective, tossing seven shutout innings. All they could manage off Yu Darvish was an RBI double from Pedro Alvarez, but that was enough.

Giants 3, Rockies 2: Eliminated when the Dodgers won — and one more loss from total playoff elimination — but they won anyway. Brandon Belt hit an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth. Tim Lincecum went eight innings allowing two runs and a no-decision. The next significant thing the Giants have to do is figure out what to do with him — or whether to do without him — next year.

White Sox 5, Tigers 1: Chris Sale, who allowed one run over eight innings and struck out eight. Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera and Jim Leyland were ejected in the first inning because people really, really prefer to see home plate umpire Brian Gorman way more than the likely two-time MVP. So hard for Gorman, always signing autographs, posing for photos with fans and still having to make time to go out and perform at the highest levels on the field like fans expect. Let’s hear it for the star of the game.

Astros 6, Mariners 4: Houston with a four-run rally in the ninth to give them the victory. One of the runs that inning came when Justin Smoak threw a ball home on a foul out and hit the guy in the on-deck circle. Smallest crowd of the season at Safeco Field.

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.

Tony Clark is not happy so many players remain unsigned

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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We’re almost halfway through February. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training soon. And yet, there are more than a handful of solid free agents that remain unsigned. Among them: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler. All three have draft pick compensation tied to them, as each rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from his respective former team. That, undoubtedly, is a reason why they haven’t inked a contract yet.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark is unhappy about this reality and expects to discuss potential changes when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The current CBA expires after the 2016 season. Per the Associated Press, Clark said last week, “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”

Clark also mentioned, among other things, the possibility of a draft lottery, which would take away the incentive for teams to “tank”, or lose on purpose. The Astros and Phillies have notably done this in recent years, finishing with baseball’s worst record and thus netting the #1 overall draft pick.

These are, however, simply two items of many that will be discussed during the upcoming offseason. It will be interesting to see what solutions are eventually put in place.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.

Brewers GM: Acquiring Jacob Nottingham doesn’t change Jonathan Lucroy’s status

Jonathan Lucroy
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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The Brewers acquired prospects Jake Nottingham and Bubba Derby from the Athletics on Friday in exchange for slugging outfielder Khris Davis. The hope is that Nottingham will develop into the Brewers’ catcher of the future, so you could say that the club is planning for life after Jonathan Lucroy. However, Brewers general manager David Stearns said today that the trade doesn’t change Lucroy’s immediate status.

The Brewers are in rebuild-mode and Lucroy is an excellent trade chip if healthy, as his contract includes a $5.25 million club option for 2017. It’s likely just a matter of time before he’s shipped elsewhere, but yesterday’s trade shouldn’t change the timeline for a potential deal. Nottingham doesn’t turn 21 until April and has yet to play in Double-A, so he’s still a ways off from the majors. The Brewers can afford to wait on the right offer for Lucroy, whether it’s in spring training or at the trade deadline or perhaps later.

Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Nottingham batted .316/.372/.505 with 17 home runs over 109 games last season between Class A and High-A. He was traded from the Astros to the Athletics as part of the Scott Kazmir deal last July. It’s worth noting that Stearns was the assistant GM for Houston when Nottingham was drafted in the sixth round back in 2013, so he’s clearly a fan.