And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 4, Yankees 2: Rookie Roenis Elias struck out ten Yankees in seven innings. Not bad. Robinson Cano doubled and drove in two. The Mariners take both games of the abbreviated series and have won five of six overall.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 5: The Rays did NOT want to play a doubleheader yesterday to make up Wednesday’s rainout. Boston did. Be careful what you wish for Boston, because you done got swept. Replay controversy in the first game, where Dustin Pedroia was called out at home in the seventh. Replay made it appear as if he was safe, but it was ruled “inconclusive” and the call on the field stood. The Sox’ third base coach was ejected for arguing after the replay call. Pedroia and Jake Peavy each made comments after the game critical of replay. Expect fines and stuff. In game 2, Yunel Escobar homered off Koji Uehara leading off the ninth to put the Rays up for good.

Reds 8, Brewers 3: Brayan Pena hit a pinch-hit homer that sparked a five-run rally in the eighth. Big catches from both center fielders in this one: Billy Hamilton with a diving catch of a Carlos Gomez line drive and Gomez robbing Joey Votto of a home run. Hamilton sprained his hand on his and will miss some time.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: And the sweep. The first two games of the series were blowouts, the third a tight one. Either way the Braves are happy to be leaving Miami. It was the first time the Marlins have swept the Braves at home in almost eight years.

Dodgers 9, Twins 4; Dodgers 4, Twins 3: Four hits and two RBI in the first game for Yasiel Puig. Scott Van Slyke and Drew Butera came up big in the nightcap, each homering in the 12th. Not bad for a warm weather team who looked pretty uncomfortable in cold Minneapolis conditions.

Rockies 7, Mets 4: Juan Nicasio was a one-man gang: he pitched seven scoreless innings and drove in three runs. Also a One Man Gang?

Orioles 5, Pirates 1; Orioles 6, Pirates 5: A rare single-admission doubleheader. I’d be curious to see the actual number of people who stayed for all 19 innings and all seven hours and five minutes of baseball + the time between games. Steve Pearce had three hits and two RBI in the opener. Not bad for a guy who the Orioles released a couple of days ago. The nightcap featured the return of Manny Machado, and it also featured a walkoff homer by Matt Wieters in the 10th. 

Blue Jays 7, Royals 3: The Jays salvage one. Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus each homered and drove in two runs. Mark Buehrle worked in a lot of trouble, but notched is fifth win.

And with that I’m out of here for the weekend. Aaron and the fellas will be covering today. I lucked into some Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks tickets, so as you read this I am heading down to Louisville for a Decadent and Depraved weekend. Well, not that depraved. I’m going far more southern dandy than Hunter S. Thompson here. I mean, I even got a bow tie.

Have a nice weekend, y’all.

 

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.

 

There is a Tyler glut in baseball

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It’s a slow news morning — Miguel Montero is gone and everyone else is quiet — so you should go read Tyler Kepner’s latest column over at the New York Times. It’s, appropriately, about Tylers.

There are a lot of them in baseball now, Tyler notes. No Larrys and hardly any Eddies or Bobs. This obviously tracks the prevalence of the name Tyler in the population at large and the declines in Larrys, Eddies and Bobs. It’s the kind of thing I imagine we’ve all noticed from time to time, and it’s fun to do it in baseball. For his part, Kepner tries to make an all-Tyler All-Star team. The results are sort of sad.

There are always one or two Craigs floating around baseball from time to time, but not many more than that. We got a Hall of Famer recently, so that’s pretty nice. There will likely be fewer over time, as Craig — never even a top-30 name in popularity — is now near historic lows. I’m not complaining, though. I never once had to go by “Craig C.” in class to differentiate myself from other Craigs. Our biggest problem is being called Greg. We tend to let it pass. Craigs are used to it by now.