Matt Moore

Youthful Rays appear rattled in Game 1 rout


Technically, the Rays went errorless in Friday’s 12-2 loss to the Red Sox. Which just further demonstrates how silly judging things based on errors can be.

After three innings without allowing a hit, Matt Moore gave up a Dustin Pedroia single to start the fourth with the Rays up 2-0. David Ortiz followed with a long drive to the warning track in right. Wil Myers had the ball lined up, only to let it drop at the last minute. He thought someone called him off, though center fielder Desmond Jennings did no such thing. The incident happened in front of the Red Sox bullpen, but if a reliever was trying to throw Myers off, it wasn’t captured on camera. Maybe a fan called for the ball, though with all the noise, it’s hard to see how that would have gotten through. Myers, himself, didn’t seem to have any idea who called him off. Perhaps we’ll find out after the game (And we did, Myers said he wasn’t called off, just that he saw Jennings out of the corner of his eye and gave up on the ball).

The ball ended up bouncing over the fence for a double. And the floodgates were opened. With the score tied 2-2, Stephen Drew hit a little grounder to James Loney’s right that the first baseman handled. Moore was just a smidgen late getting over to cover, then compounded his mistake by realizing too late that Jonny Gomes was trying to score from second. That made it 3-2. Jacoby Ellsbury later reached on a strikeout/passed ball. The inning ended at 5-2.

The follies kept coming in the fifth. Mike Napoli should have been thrown out easily trying for second on his shot off the Green Monster, but Sean Rodriguez’s throw was poor and he was called safe (though he appeared to be out anyway). An intentional walk followed, then came another double, again poorly played by Rodriguez. That resulted in Moore’s exit. After the second out of the inning, Will Middlebrooks was intentionally walked. Ellsbury then hit a shot back up the middle that ricocheted off Wesley Wright’s glove and past Yunel Escobar at shortstop. 8-2.

Four more runs followed in the eighth.

Myers, the AL Rookie of the Year favorite, heard it all game after his miscue and finished 0-for-4.

Moore, a 17-game winner in the regular season, ended up allowing eight runs — seven earned — in 4 1/3 innings. Maybe only three of those runs were truly earned, but the fourth-inning mental error loomed large.

The Rays will probably put Moore in the pen for the rest of the series now, though he likely won’t be available until Game 4. Because of the two off days, Game 2 starter David Price can come back and pitch if there’s a Game 5.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.

White Sox sign catcher Alex Avila to a one-year deal

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila, right, is congratulated by third base coach Dave Clark after his solo home run in the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

There have been a lot of articles published in the past few days about how to navigate awkward Thanksgiving conversations with your relatives. Heck, we even wrote one.

But there’s always room for more! Such as “How to talk to your father at Thanksgiving dinner about the fact that he let you walk away from the only team you’ve ever known to sign with a division rival.” Which is what Alex Avila will likely be talking about with his father, Tigers GM Al Avila:

The older Avila can’t even say he did it because he’s opposed to nepotism. After all, he just hired his other son — who has had his law degree for just over a year — as the Tigers assistant legal counsel for baseball operations. Though I’m sure that wasn’t nepotism. He probably just aced the interview and impressed everyone more than the other candidates did.

OK, those are jokes. In all seriousness, this is a good move for Alex and Al and, probably, the White Sox. With the emergence of James McCann, there really is not space for Alex Avila in Detroit in anything other than a backup capacity. In Chicago, he’ll get more playing time. At least if he can (a) stay healthy; and (b) not hit .191/.339/.287 again like he did in 2015.