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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 4, Tigers 0: Not a ton of people outside of Seattle knew what a Roenis Elias was before this game, but now they have a positive ID. He’s the beast that tossed a three-hitter while striking out eight Tigers. The game story says he’s the first Mariners rookie to record a shutout since Freddy Garcia on Aug. 24, 1999. But I’m calling b.s. on that. Freddy Garcia could not have been a rookie in 1999. He’s at least 67-years-old and I’m pretty sure he pitched some middle relief for the Pilots in ’69.

Brewers 9, Cubs 0: Kyle Lohse pitched a Roenis Elias. Which is what I’m going to start calling three-hit shutouts. Think it’ll stick? For once Jeff Samardzija got no run support in a game he unequivocally deserved to lose. The Brewers touched this season’s premiere rent-a-starter-to-be for eight runs in three innings.

White Sox 4, Padres 1: Chris Sale pitched a Roenis Elias Lite. That’s a complete game in which you allow only two hits, but you just miss the shutout because you give up a 420 foot+ homer to a dude back in the fifth. Hmm, starting to think this system is going to break down.

Indians 6, Rockies 4: A three-game sweep of the Rockies capped off with Michael Bourn hitting a walkoff homer. After the game Bourn actually said “In that situation you just look for a pitch to hit.” As opposed to those other situations when you look for a pitch with which to discuss world affairs. Perhaps over a cup of coffee.

Braves 4, Marlins 2: At times this season it has seemed as if no team really feels all that invested in winning the NL East. For one weekend at least someone at least sorta acted like it. The Braves sweep the Marlins with help from Evan Gattis’ two-run bomb in the ninth. His homer actually hit the home run sculpture thingie. You’d think that even though he’s a visiting player that they’d crank the thing up for him, but no. How petty.

Twins 7, Yankees 2: Phil Hughes tossing eight solid innings and not allowing a single dinger in Yankee Stadium is about as good as it gets these days for those of you who like to partake in Yankeefreude.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 2, Nationals 0: Yu Darvish: eight shutout innings and 12 Ks. Nationals bats: nine shutout innings and 14 Ks. Darvish is pretty hard to beat on nine-days’ rest.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 0: Mark Buehrle won again. Edwin Encarnacion homered again. So far June is looking a lot like May for Toronto. The Royals got shut out, so I suppose the same can be said about them.

Mets 4, Phillies 3: Lucas Duda’s two-run homer in the 11th gives the Mets the game and series win. They’ve won 5 of 6, by the way. But because they’re the Mets I presume this morning’s papers are full of all kinds of stories about their dysfunction. That’s just how these things go down.

Red Sox 4, Rays 0: A week ago at this time we were all writing our “what’s wrong with the Red Sox?” posts as they skidded to ten straight losses. Since then they’ve won seven straight. Call me crazy, but I’m getting the feeling this team is streaky. Jon Lester is one of about a gabillion pitchers yesterday who pitched [pretty impressive number of] shutout innings. Brock Holt — BROCK HOLT! — had four doubles.

Giants 8, Cardinals 0: That’s five of six for the Giants in the win column, four of five for the Cardinals in the loss. Tim Hudson with seven shutout innings. I’m tellin’ ya: bald dudes born on July 14th are the new inefficiency.

Orioles 9, Astros 4: Manny Machado hit his first career grand slam as part of a six-run sixth. Nelson Cruz was hit on the hand and left the game but it’s just a bruise so he’s day-today.

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 3: Four runs on solo shots from Chris Heisey, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick. All off Wade Miley. After the game manager Kirk Gibson said this about Miley’s outing: “He pitched well except for the four pitches.” And apart from all of that, Mrs. Lincoln quite enjoyed the play,

Athletics 6, Angels 3: The Angels were charging and surging and stuff and then they got to Oakland and dropped three straight. Jed Lowrie homered and drove in two and Josh Donaldson drove in two more. Time for the Angels to roll that boulder back up the hill.

Pirates 5, Dodgers 3: Andrew McCutchen had a homer and a pair of doubles, Pedro Alvarez drove in three and the Pirates won a series at Dodger Stadium for the first time in seven years.

Marc Rzepczynski signs two-year, $11 million contract with Mariners

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 9: Marc Rzepczynski #23 of the Washington Nationals looks on before pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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After rumors of the deal surfaced on Thursday, the Mariners officially signed veteran reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year, $11 million deal on Friday night. Per a report by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the lefty is due $5.5 million in 2017 and 2018.

The signing marks the left-hander’s fourth trade since July 2015. He bounced from the Indians to the Padres at the 2015 trade deadline, then to the Athletics in the offseason, then to the Nationals in late August of 2016. Last season, he pitched to a career-best 2.64 ERA during 47 2/3 innings with the Athletics and Nationals, but hit an all-time low with 5.5 BB/9 that fed into a 1.59 K/BB rate. While the 31-year-old’s split against right-handed batters are underwhelming (a career .277/.377/.431 line with 123 walks and 24 home runs), he’s held lefties to a respectable .222/.291/.298 line with just 52 walks and eight homers.

Adding Rzepczynski to the bullpen should check off another to-do item for Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto, though FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman notes that the club is still likely to pursue an additional reliever and a No. 4 starter before the offseason comes to a close.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.