And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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source: AP

Dodgers 8, Rockies 0: Clayton Kershaw tossed a no-hitter and came one Hanley Ramirez throwing error away from a perfect game. He struck out 15 Rockies and needed only 107 pitches to get all 27 outs. Kershaw’s outing notched the second highest game score of all time, falling just behind Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout game back in 1998.

Mets 3, Cardinals 2: Bartolo Colon does it all. Doubles, scores a run, lays down a couple of perfect sacrifices and, oh yeah, allows one run over eight innings. This is your periodic reminder that, while it can be fun to make fun of a guy who looks like Bartolo Colon, he’s 100 times the athlete you are.

Orioles 2, Rays 0: Kevin Gausman, Tommy Hunter and Zach Britton combine on the shutout. Nelson Cruz hit his 22nd homer. Steve Pearce had an RBI double. Pearce, you may recall, was released by the Orioles earlier this season and then re-signed. I know being released isn’t technically dying, but I feel like there’s some sort of zombie/undead analogy here. Or maybe it’s a Doctor Manhattan thing in which one’s seeming death actually bestowed great powers upon him.

Royals 2, Tigers 1: Ten in a row for the Royals and the reeling continues for the Tigers. Neither I nor my Tigers-fan girlfriend watched this one, but yesterday evening we went to the gym together and worked out on machines next to one another. I had SportsCenter on and as they showed the highlights to this game, she gave the TV in front of me the finger, so it was basically worth it. Note: laughing your ass off on a treadmill can, if you’re not careful, cause you to lose your balance.

Diamondbacks 4, Brewers 3: Tony Campana hit a game-winning RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning and Brad Ziegler atoned for the grand slam he gave up on Tuesday by striking out all four batters he faced to get the win. There was no beanball drama this time. I wonder if the Brewers’ failure to retaliate for the Dbacks’ aggressiveness the other night has offended Kirk Gibson’s sense of honor and decorum so that he will now have his pitchers throw at Brewers’ hitters again. I mean, this is not ‘Nam. There are rules here.

Cubs 6, Marlins 1: Jake Arrieta had a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings. He has 55 strikeouts in 50 innings and a 1.98 ERA. You’d think that with three pretty awesome starters that the Cubs would be better than they are this year. It’s almost as if those things people say about pitching being everything aren’t correct.

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 3: Brian McCann’s season has been pretty nightmarish so far, but last night was a dream: he had a bases-loaded triple, a homer and five RBI.

Phillies 10, Braves 5: The sweep. The Braves could probably look worse right now, but I’m not exactly sure how. The Phillis rapped out 18 hits. Ryan Howard, who hit homers in each of the first two games of the series, had two hits and drove in three.

Athletics 4, Rangers 2: Sonny Gray needed this and he got it: two runs allowed and seven strikeouts over seven innings and the win. The A’s now have the best record in baseball.

White Sox 7, Giants 6: Five losses in a row for the Giants, this one thanks to homers from Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn. It was Abreu’s 20th and it came in only his 58th game.

Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Nine shutout innings for John Lackey and a no decision. That’s a shame, but I bet he still enjoyed watching David Ortiz and Mike Napoli go back-to-back in the 10th to walk the Twins off.

Padres 2, Mariners 1: The Padres won, but the game was almost secondary. The pre-game tribute to Tony Gwynn will be remembered far longer:

source: AP

 

Reds 11, Pirates 4: Alfredo Simon has ten wins. Not bad for a dude who really wasn’t a starter before this year. Billy Hamilton had three hits and three RBI.

Nationals 6, Astros 5: Unlike the Braves, who were swept by the Phillies, the Nationals swept the last place team they faced this week. Winning the games you’re supposed to win often makes the difference between winning the division and coming in second.

Angels vs. Indians: POSTPONED: Someone send a runner, through the weather that I’m under, for the feeling that I lost today. Someone send a runner, for the feeling that I lost today. You must be somewhere in London. You must be loving your life in the rain. You must be somewhere in London. Walking Abbey Lane.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.