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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 3, Pirates 2: FISTICUFFSMANSHIP! No one distinguishes themselves here, but this much is true: if Gerrit Cole simply takes the ball and goes back to the mound without jawing at Gomez, (a) Gomez looks like a guy who misjudged his hit and almost got thrown out foolishly; and (b) no brawl happens. But in baseball it’s not enough to let someone look a bit silly and take the high road. No, you must tell the other guy that his looking silly somehow offended your honor or some crazy crap and you must escalate things because, well, that’s how it’s done. “How dare you think that ball you just hit 399 feet was about to go 400 feet?!” you must exclaim. “You are a bad person for doing that!” I wish Gomez didn’t respond to Cole’s provocation with dumbass hostility of his own (and he’s gonna get righteously suspended or fined for throwing his helmet).But how awesome would it have been if he had simply smiled and said “yeah, I shouldn’t have assumed that triple I just smoked off of your crappy pitch was a home run. How WRONG of me,” and then blown Cole a kiss? He didn’t do that, of course, but the fact remains that no fight happens if Cole doesn’t decide to start hurling F-bombs at Gomez because Honor and Rules and bullcrap like that which doesn’t belong in 21st century sports.

Reds 8, Cubs 2: Hope you all had a happy Easter. Or, as we refer to it at our house, Spring Thanksgiving. That’s not an attempt to secularize it for anyone else. I get how important Easter is to Christians and don’t mean to denigrate their faith. It’s just an acknowledgment that my family isn’t religious so we basically just treat Easter as a family meal and coming together thing. Oh, it’s also the one time every year my mom tells the “Peter . . . I can see your house from up here . . .” joke, which is her absolute favorite joke ever. Kinda odd because, really, my mom is the only one of us who still considers herself a Catholic and goes to mass and stuff. I guess you have more of a right to be sacrilegious if it’s actually your religion than someone else does. Anyway, in a major shocker, my mom did not tell the “Peter . . . I can see your house from up here . . .” joke this year. Guess she forgot. Kind of a surprise. Not a surprise? The Reds taking two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley, where they’ve won 17 of the last 19.

Giants 4, Padres 3: San Francisco only had three hits — and none after the second inning — but that’s all they needed because one was a two-run homer and the other a two-run single. Tim Lincecum got his first win of the year.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 1: Puig hit a three-run homer and threw Miguel Montero the heck OUT at second base when he tried to stretch for a double. Which, to be fair, would be a double against most right fielders, but like I said, he got thrown the heck OUT. Note: Puig did not hit the cutoff man in throwing Montero. He threw it right over him. Because, in this case, hitting the cutoff man would’ve slowed things down. But if anyone wants to lecture Puig about it, go ahead. I’ll be over here rolling my eyes and doing that wanking motion thing.

Athletics 4, Astros 1: The sweep. Josh Donaldson homered and doubled twice. The A’s have won 11 of 13. The Astros have lost seven in a row. None of this is particularly surprising.

White Sox 16, Rangers 2: Jose Abreu and Jordan Danks each hit two homers and the Sox win in a laugher. That ends the Rangers’ five-game winning streak.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Nationals 3, Cardinals 2Mets 4, Braves 3: The Nationals won on a walkoff sac fly, the Braves lost on a walkoff sac fly. This is important. This means something. [Craig sculpts things out of his mashed potatoes]. In the Nats-Cards game, Denard Span hit the sac fly against the Cardinals’ five-man infield. Span:

“I counted: one, two, three, four, five,” Span said. “Right there I told myself a groundball probably not going to do it. Try to get the ball in the air somehow.”

That he counted so quickly is proof positive that activating him from the seven-day concussion DL was the right call. If he saw ten infielders they would’ve put him back on there.

Twins 8, Royals 3: Phil Hughes got a win. It’s the first time that’s happened since last July. Which means Phil Hughes’ wins have the same frequency as, like, Christmas.

Marlins 3, Mariners 2: The Marlins sweep Seattle. Christian Yelich hit a double and scored the tying run in the eighth, which was official only replay overturned the initial out call. That brings Yelich’s hitting streak to 14 games. The double, I mean. He’d still have the hitting streak even if he was out at home. That’s a baseball rule. 

Yankees 5, Rays 1: Two five inning starts and some solid bullpen work from each team had this one tied at one in the 12th. Then Dean Anna walked with the bases loaded to put the Yankees ahead. The Rays are “The Extra 2%” team. In that instance the had a 25% surplus of walks and/or base runners. Subsequent RBI singles from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann took the math out of the equation. Wait, if you take math out of the equation, is it still an equation? I think I just blew my mind thinking about this. Probably shouldn’t write game recaps on 4/20.

Tigers 2, Angels 1: Clown shoes defense by the Angels and heads-up base running by Ian Kinsler gave the Tigers their first run. A second error by Hank Conger led to the Tigers’ second run. Remember back when Mike Scioscia teams used to be lauded for being fundamentally sound and all that? That was cool. Feels like a million years ago, but it was cool.

Indians 6, Blues Jays 4: The Indians avoid a sweep. The AP gamer credits a pep talk by Terry Francona for the win. If there was anything to that I’d totally give pep talks before every game, dude.

Phillies 10, Rockies 9: Jimmy Rollins hit a homer and then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth. This was a pretty significant offensive outburst for a team which had gone four games without an extra base hit.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: On a day when dumb defense impacted a couple of games dumb defense decided this one. Here, Dustin Pedroia scored the winning run on a David Lough throwing error. Lough caught a liner, Pedoria tagged from third but then headed back realizing Lough would likely nail him at the plate. Then Lough sailed one home. The O’s gave this game away in a lot of ways, and not just by virtue of blowing a five-run lead. Pedoria was able to advance to third in the first place thanks to a wild pitch.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.