Masahiro Tanaka

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 4, Mets 0: Remember how when the season started Masahiro Tanaka was the Yankees’ fourth starter? Haha, yeah, he’s so totally the ace right now that it’s not even funny. Like, he’s the ace by leaps, bounds, mile and parsecs. The man who simply won’t lose tossed a shutout, allowing four hits, walking none and striking out eight.

Rays 2, Mariners 0: Tampa Bay wins but they lose Ben Zobrist to a dislocated thumb, so that sucks. Both Rays scored in anti-climatic fashion: a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch.

White Sox 4, Athletics 2: A three-run homer by Jose Abreu n the eighth was the big blow. That gives him 15 on the year. “On pace” stuff is usually lame, but if you’re into that sort of thing Abreu is on pace for 58 homers and 158 RBI. The fact that he’s also only on pace for 39 walks is good evidence that those previous on pace numbers aren’t likely to hold. But it’s fun for now.

Giants 10, Braves 4: It’s pretty crazy what some changes in the weather will do to a park. I mean, the Giants win this game regardless because they simply hit better and pitched better than the Braves, but AT&T Park is a rather different place when it’s an uncharacteristic 90 degrees and there’s no wind. The ball flies all over that joint when it’s like it was yesterday afternoon. Just one to put in the back of one’s mind when that ice shelf in the Antarctic melts and we’re all living in some shorefront Otisburg in Ohio or Nevada or whatever.

Royals 3, Rockies 2: It’s amazing what a few days of saying a guy is a bum and we should send him to Omaha does to someone. Mike Moustakas went 2 for 3 and drove in all three of the Royals’ runs.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 1: Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore each hit two-run singles off Brad Ziegler in the ninth inning. The Nats take two of three from Arizona.

Tigers 7, Orioles 5: Justin Verlander didn’t have his best day but the offense picked him up and the Tigers notched the sweep. Detroit is just cruising through 2014. They’re on pace for, like, a 108-win season.

Angels 3, Phillies 0: Garrett Richards shut out Philly for seven innings with eight strikeouts and five hits. The Angels have won five of six. The Phillies fall to four games below .500. They have the same record through 38 games in 2014 as they had in 2013 so, like, progress.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:07pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Indians 15, Blue Jays 4: Well, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. Especially toward the end. David Murphy drove in five. Neil Wagner ended up wearing this one for the Jays, which is pretty noble. Really, if someone said “you can play one major league game only” and then disappear into oblivion, I would be tempted for that one game to be me wearing a blowout for the benefit of my team and my bullpen. To go out there and give up a bunch of runs and accept it with equanimity. Granted, in this masochistic fantasy I’m doing it for, like, four innings. But you see what I’m getting at. 

Astros 5, Rangers 4: Texas had a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth but then Houston chipped away and won it on a Matt Dominguez RBI single in the ninth. The Astros took two of three from the Rangers, winning their first series against their cross-state rival after dropping the last 15 against them. Fifteen series, that is. Not games.

Red Sox 9, Twins 4: David Ortiz homered twice for the second straight night. He’s 28 for 53 in 13 career games at Target Field. In 56 career games against the Twins he’s 75 for 214 with 19 homers and 49 RBI.

Pirates 4, Brewers 1: Chris Stewart and Starlin Marte combined to drive in three in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez who, after getting the first out in a tie game gave up four consecutive hits. Not the sort of thing he’s done much of this year.

Marlins 13, Dodgers 3: Anthony DeSclafani was making his big league debut for the Marlins. He’ll not get run support like this one very often, especially considering he drove in two of Miami’s 13 runs himself. Reed Johnson had a two run homer and Jeff Mathis smacked a three run bomb. Randy Wolf, just signed by Miami, got a three-inning save. Saves are totally important when you come into the game with an 11-run lead.

Padres vs. Reds; Cubs vs. Cardinals: POSTPONEDI know we can walk through rain, But I don’t want to end up drowned again. Too much dancing in bad weather. Makes it hard to stay together 

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.