Freddie Freeman

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 1, Reds 0: There were five shutouts in Major League Baseball yesterday. Three of those games and four of the teams involved were in the National League East. It’s as if a rift was created in the space-time continuum allowing for 1968 to become localized over certain portions of the eastern seaboard. I’m assuming red matter was involved somehow, but I need to consult Memory Alpha to get the details down accurately. Here it was all zeroes until Freddie Freeman singled home the game’s only run in walkoff fashion in the bottom of the 10th.

Phillies 2, Diamondbacks 0: A.J. Burnett tossed eight shutout innings to outduel Brandon McCarthy, who struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings. The Diamondbacks are now 8-20 and have a staggering -59 run differential.

Mets 4, Marlins 0: Quote of the day goes to David Wright, talking about Dillon Gee: “I’m not sure if Dillon is all that sexy of a pitcher. He just goes out there and gets the job done.” (1) I’d say three hits over eight shutout innings is sexy; and (2) even if it isn’t, someone who just goes out and gets the job done is often way better to have than someone who is sexy. The more superficial aspects of sexy go away after a while. Having someone who simply has their crap together is highly underrated.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0: The starting pitcher was fantastic, shutting out the opposition until the bullpen carried the shutout the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the shortstop had two homers.

Cubs 4, Brewers 0: The starting pitcher was fantastic, shutting out the opposition until the bullpen carried the shutout the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the shortstop had two homers. No, this is not a copy-and-paste error. It was basically the same game as the Cards-Pirates thing. Only difference: Jason Hammel pitched seven shutout innings to Adam Wainwright’s eight and Starlin Castro’s two homers were solo shots while Jhonny Peralta drove in four. In other news, Hammel has four wins for a team that only has eight overall.

Astros 5, Athletics 1: Collin McHugh is Lou Gehrig to Scott Feldman’s Wally Pipp. Well, maybe not exactly — the Astros will find a place for Feldman when he comes back while someone like Lucas Harrell gets bumped — but there’s no question McHugh is parlaying his injury-necessitated callup into a full time gig. Here he allowed one run on two hits over eight and two-thirds while striking out seven. In his first start he shut out the Mariners into the seventh inning while striking out 12. Strong stuff.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:10pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 4, Nationals 2: Ian Kennedy gave up three hits, struck out nine and didn’t walk anyone over seven, retiring 16 straight batters at one point. Cameron Maybin made his first big league start of the season and had a couple of hits. The Nats couldn’t have had a worse couple of days. They put Bryce Harper on the DL and then their starter for this one, Taylor Jordan, showed up with the flu. He attempted to pitch but had nothing.

White Sox 9, Rays 2: Jose Abreu keeps doing it. He homered and drove in four, bringing his totals to ten bombs and 31 RBI, both of which are records for he first month of the season for a rookie. And true, Abreu is a much more seasoned rookie than most, but the guy whose records he broke in both of those categories is Albert Pujols, who was no typical rookie himself.

Rockies 6, Dodgers 1: The Rockies are quietly putting together a nice season so far. They’ve won four series in a row and are tied with the Dodgers for second place in the division at 14-12. Jorge De La Rosa allowed one run over seven and Josh Rutledge had a three-run homer.

Giants 4, Indians 1: Brandon Hicks hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth with the score tied 1-1. That gave the Giants a series sweep. Not bad for a dude who signed a minor league deal and wouldn’t even be here if Marco Scutaro wasn’t hurt.

Mariners 6, Rangers 5: Kyle Seager had two homers including a three-run shot in the eighth to complete the M’s come-from-behind victory. Seager is on fire: he has five home runs in four games, and he’s had at least two hits in all of those games as well.

Royals 9, Orioles 3:  Have yourself a day Omar Infante. The Royals second baseman drove in six, with an RBI groundout in the first, a sac fly in the third, a two-run double in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh. James Shields tossed seven innings of three-hit ball.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 1: The Blue Jays salvage one and end a four-game losing streak. The Jays’ lineup featured six players from the Dominican Republic, which is believed to be a record. I would like to think that this was John Gibbons’ direct rebuke to the unnamed Jays scout who was reported to have said “this team has too many Latinos on it to win” at some point last year.

Yankees 3, Angels 2: Tanaka struck out 11, Teixeira hit a homer from the left side of the plate and the Yankees scored what proved to be the winning run via a passed ball and a wild pitch.

Tigers vs. Twins: POSTPONED:

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.” 

 

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.

Brewers sign reliever Blaine Boyer

Blaine Boyer
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Right-hander Blaine Boyer, who spent last season with the Twins, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to spring training.

Boyer was also on a minor-league deal last spring when he snagged a spot in the Twins’ season-opening bullpen and he stayed there all year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. His secondary numbers weren’t quite so impressive, particularly his managing just 33 strikeouts compared to 19 walks, but the 34-year-old journeyman is a decent middle relief option.

Boyer has a 4.22 career ERA, including a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings since returning from injuries in 2014.

The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp
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Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com reports that the Padres have tried to trade Matt Kemp.

Shocker given that he’s 31 and is owed $21.75 million over each of the next four seasons. Still, if the Padres eat some cash someone may bite. Kemp started slowly in 2015 but was solid in the second half. He finished with a line of .265/.312/.443, 23 home runs, and 100 RBI in 648 plate appearances. That last number is key because the once-fraglie Kemp has been healthy for two years now. Someone could use that level of production.

Just not at those prices.

The Braves and Fulton County are fighting over a Hank Aaron statue

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, a statue of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron stands outside Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves pulled perhaps the most surprising move of the year. They announced after months of secret talks with Cobb County leaders plans to move to a suburban stadium and leave downtown where they’ve played since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. The impending Braves’ departure aside, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed managed to keep the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons happy. He agreed for the city to cover part of the construction costs for a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. Both new stadiums are projected to open in 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Associated Press
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Divorce is hard. It’s hard on the kids and hard on your own emotions. Then, of course, there’s the fighting over money. Eventually you sort that stuff out too, but at some point you’ll come across something that cannot be divided between you and for which visitation schedules simply aren’t suitable.

Maybe it’s the family photo album. Maybe it’s that 60-year-old cast iron skillet which you got at that estate sale and which is perfectly seasoned and, oh God, you can’t imagine making fried chicken in anything else YOU GOT THE HOUSE, JENNY, MY GOD I GET TO KEEP THE SKILLET!!!

Um. Sorry. Got carried away there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes. Maybe it’s that statue you and your ex both love. You know, that one of the guy who hit 755 home runs and who has served as the face of your franchise for over 60 years:

For about three hours Wednesday, it looked like the statue of baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be staying in Atlanta.

The agency that owns Turner Field proudly announced it holds documents showing “the people of Atlanta and Fulton County” own the bronze, and that a deal had been struck with the Braves to keep the statue at Turner Field.

Then came a statement from the Braves saying, in effect: nuh huh. The statue, the team said, should go wherever the Hammer wants it.

And with those dueling press statements, the fate over one of Atlanta’s treasured sports landmarks remained in limbo, just as it has been since the day the Braves announced plans in late 2013 to move from downtown to Cobb County after the 2016 season.

The latest: Hank Aaron says he wants no part of the dispute and that the club and the city should solve it themselves. Which is absolutely the right move. And, frankly, kind of crappy of the Braves to throw it in Aaron’s lap in the first place. They’re the ones who, figuratively speaking, broke up the marriage by messing around with that younger, richer suitor after all. Now they’re trying to make Aaron either be a bad guy to Braves fans who attend games after 2016 and don’t get to see the statue or the city of Atlanta who would have yet another piece of their baseball history transplanted to the burbs? Forget that.

If I were Aaron I’d propose that we saw the thing in half. Then we’d see who values it more. I heard that approach has worked before.