Pineda Pine Tar

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 5, Yankees 1Michael Pineda: master criminal. I have a longer, more in-depth post about this here. Short version: the “Jeez, Pineda! How can you be so dumb?!!” angle everyone has jumped to in the hours since he got caught misses the important point of all of this. In the meantime, remember: some have claimed that about 90% of pitchers do what Pineda did. If that’s true, perhaps it’s worth looking at the signals baseball has sent about pitchers using foreign substances before we decide either how bad or how dumb a guy Pineda is. As for Pineda: thankfully no one in New York will turn this into a week-long drama and try to compete with one another for the hottest take on it all. Oh, wait. That’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Rangers 3, Athletics 0: Martin Perez has tossed two straight shutouts and has 26 consecutive scoreless innings overall, as he shut out the Astros for eight innings a couple of starts ago. After the game, Ron Washington said Perez “has weapons and he can throw them all for strikes.” I don’t know about pine tar, but I feel like having weapons is TOTALLY against the rules, so maybe someone should check Perez’s pockets next time out.

Braves 3, Marlins 1: Aaron Harang (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER 11K) is no Martin Perez, but he continues to be one of the better last-week-of-spring-training pickups in baseball history and is either (a) proof that the Indians made a big mistake cutting him in March; (b) proof that pitching in the National League is easier than pitching in beer league softball. or (c) proof that baseball is just a weird game you can’t predict sometimes.

Diamondbacks 7, Cubs 5: It’s probably fitting that the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field featured a pull-your-guts-out loss for Cubs fans. They had a three-run lead entering the ninth inning and, even though Pedro Strop and some bad defense allowed the Dbacks to load the bases and score two runs, they did get the Dbacks down to their final out. Then James Russell and Justin Grimm came in and threw matches on the kerosene Strop poured all over the place. Aaron Hill’s two-run triple gave the Snakes the lead and, ultimately, the win.

Mariners 5, Astros 3: Two homers for Kyle Seager helps the Mariners avoid the sweep.

Giants 12, Rockies 10: Hector Sanchez hit two homers to help his team avoid a sweep too, but his second one was a grand slam in extra innings that gave the Giants the game so he gets extra points over Seager.

Nationals 5, Angels 4: Let’s mix up the Dbacks’ come-from-behind victory with the sweep-avoiding big hits from the Mariners and Giants games: a come-from-behind, sweep-avoiding victory for Washington, this one thanks to a two-run double by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche’s game-winning RBI single.

White Sox 6, Tigers 4: Wait, here’s another twist: how about a come-from-behind grand slam? Eh? Like that? Marcus Semien and his teammates did. What I liked: watching Jose Abreu hit his second home run of the series into the bushes behind the center field wall at Comerica. That is seriously, seriously far and not a ton of folks can reach that place. Abreu has done it on two swings that looked pretty effortless. That dude is stronger than all get-out.

Indians 5, Royals 3: Michael Bourn had three hits and two RBI, while Bourn, Nick Swisher and Kipnis — Cleveland’s 1-2-3 hitters — combined for six hits and three RBIs. Kipnis’ RBI double in the seventh put the Tribe ahead.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: Alfredo Simon started out a bit shaky. He said it was cold and he had a hard time feeling the ball. Gee, if only there were something he could put on his fingers to help him out … Alas, he settled down and ended up pitching six and two-thirds of two-run ball. Simon is in the rotation filling in for the injured Mat Latos. He has a 1.30 ERA in that role.

Orioles 10, Blue Jays 8: Baltimore spotted Toronto a 6-1 lead but won anyway, thanks in part to Nelson Cruz’s two homers. Chris Tillman gave up seven runs on nine hits and after the game Buck Showalter said “in a lot of ways, it might be one of his best outings this year.” OK.

Mets 3, Cardinals 2: The Mets came close to blowing this in the ninth, but with one out shortstop Ruben Tejada fielded a throw from center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis to nail Matt Carpenter at the plate in a play so close they had to go to replay. In other news, Michael Wacha struck out ten and walked five in four innings. Nuke LaLoosh is going to sue him for stealing his bit.

Brewers 5, Padres 2: Yet another win for the Brew Crew, yet another save for K-Rod. Next year when someone asks me to write up my predictions I’m just gonna post a picture of the 2014 Brewers with the words “There is no God, the universe is chaos” scrawled across it.

Twins 6, Rays 4: All Chris Colabello does is drive in runs. Four more here for 26 on the year, which is a franchise record for the month of April. The best part though was Colabello’s quote about RBI after the game:

“RBIs are a product of opportunity, and I’m thankful to this coaching staff for believing in me enough to put me in the middle of this order, and to the guys in front of me for getting on base. My job is to knock them in, and it just so happens this month there’s quite a few of them.”

Would that anyone remember that at MVP voting time.

Dodgers 5, Phillies 2: Zach Greinke won his fourth, striking out 11. Cole Hamels made his season debut, allowing two runs in six innings and then getting yanked after 86 pitches. About which he wasn’t pleased. More on that later this morning.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.