Boston Red Sox  v Tampa Bay Rays

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Welcome back Clay Buchholz. It’s like you never left. Or at least the early-season version of you never left. Five shutout innings with six strikeouts before making way for a bullpen that was just as stingy. The Red Sox lead in the East is 8.5 games.

Padres 8, Phillies 2: Tyler Cloyd was smacked around for seven runs on nine hits in four innings. Meanwhile, Andrew Cashner limited the Phillies to two runs on four hits and a walk.

Yankees 7, Orioles 5: Homers: Chris Davis with his 49th but Alfonso Soriano had two and Mark Reynolds added one to help the Yankees keep pace in the wild card. Injuries:  Alex Rodriguez tweaked his hamstring, Austin Romine got a concussion and Ivan Nova left early with a sore right triceps. The Bombers limped all season and are now limping to the finish line.

Cubs 9, Reds 1: Edwin Jackson allowed one run in seven innings and hit a homer. Wellington Castillo hit two. I guess you can say the Cubs were [removes sunglasses] … battery powered. [Yeeeeeeahhhhh!!!]

Royals 6, Indians 3: The Indians blew their chance to move within a half game of Tampa Bay in the wild card as they manage nine hits off Mark Jeremy Guthrie (bah, I’m old) but also hit into three double plays behind him. It was the first Royals win in Cleveland in six tries.

Nationals 6, Mets 3: A homer and two doubles for Jayson Werth as the Nats win their fourth in a row. Their run differential is finally at zero. Progress, albeit probably too late.

Angels 12, Blue Jays 6: Five hits — four for extra bases — and five runs scored for Mark Trumbo. Josh Hamilton went 3 for 5 with four RBIs himself.

Braves 4, Marlins 3: Julio Teheran struggled early after a long layoff but settled down. The Braves won this on a walkoff rundown: Craig Kimbrel threw a wild pitch, Marlins pinch-runner Jake Marisnick tried to advance to third, but the ball rebounded right back to Brian McCann who threw Marisnick out. Tough break, kid.

Cardinals 4, Brewers 2: Four wins in a row for the Cards. Wily Peralta took a no-hitter into the sixth but Matt Holliday broke it up with a homer. Shelby Miller continued his mastery of the Brewers. He’s 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee this year.

Pirates 5, Rangers 4: Pittsburgh keeps pace. Francisco Liriano picks up his 16th win and Andrew McCutchen drives in three. A lot of folks around Pittsburgh thought the Pirates would have a lot of trouble heading into Texas, but so far so good.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Pinch hit walkoff homer for Scott Van Slyke in the 11th. Five straight wins by the Dodgers over the Dbacks. That’s how you put an end to the early-season rivalry between the two. And how you win the division with authority. L.A.’s magic number is six.

Tigers 9, White Sox 1: The girlfriend saw it was Rick Porcello pitching, said “eh, Porcello always struggles in Chicago,” and changed the channel to an old “Frasier” episode. It was from 1994. Frasier had an old 386 computer. I realized that watching a 1994 episode of “Frasier” now is like me watching old “Hogan’s Heroes” or “Andy Griffith” episodes when I was in junior high school. The lesson: I’m old. Oh, and Rick Porcello tossed a complete game so it was totally unnecessary to watch “Frasier” anyway. Even though, dudes, it holds up.

Rockies 9, Giants 8: Two homers for Michael Cuddyer, including the tie-breaker in the ninth off Sergio Romo. Cuddyer is now hitting .330 and has a great shot at a batting title. Hunter Pence, meanwhile, drove in six. Given that the Giants scored four runs off Jorge De La Rosa in the first two innings you figured they’d cruise. But a true fact: they play nine innings in baseball.

Twins 4, Athletics 3: Two homers was quite the trend last night. Josh Willingham did it here. The A’s fail to put some distance between them and Texas.

Astros 13, Mariners 2: Houston scored six times in the first three innings then seven times in the final three. Nice bookends.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.