And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Cardinals 8, Rockies 0: Matt Adams had two homers and drove in six. After the game he was asked why he’s been so dialed-in lately and he said “I’m laying off the sliders and the curveballs from the lefties.” One of his homers was off a righty last night, but let him go he’s on a roll.  In other news Lance Lynn allowed only three hits in eight shutout innings. It was the first time the Rockies were shutout at Coors Field since July of last year.

Mariners 12, Red Sox 3: Logan Morrison joined Adams in the two-homer club last night. If they take their ticket stubs to Dairy Queen they are entitled to a free Dilly Bar. Or was it a Mr. Misty? I forget. Probably not important. Anyway, this was the fourth straight win for Seattle and the first winning decision for Felix Hernandez since the beginning of the month, despite the fact that he’s pitched fantastically in his two no-decisions and one loss since then. Amazing what a little run support will do.

Marlins 4, Phillies 0: Nate Eovaldi with six shutout innings and four relievers to finish it off. Eovaldi had been shelled the last few times out and 12 of his 19 outs here were fly balls, so he was kind of dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight (in other news happy birthday Tim Burton’s Batman). But results matter most, so let’s not imagine what might have happened if Eovaldi were facing a team that squared him up a bit more last night.

Orioles 6, White Sox 4: Someone on a radio show asked me yesterday who I thought had an extra gear in the AL East. I said Baltimore, because Chris Davis hasn’t been Chris Davis so far this year and if he turns it around it’s like adding a big time slugger during the season. Yesterday, despite starting the game on the bench because of his general suckitude of late and because Chris Sale was pitching, Davis came in for a pinch-hit, three-run walkoff homer.

Nationals 4, Brewers 0: That “add a big piece by merely fixing one of your previously-existing broken ones” thing works for the Nationals and Gio Gonzalez too. After ineffectiveness and a stint on the DL, Gonzalez was sometimes shaky — he waled four guys in six innings — but otherwise shut the Brewers out while he was in the game. His mates shut them out while they were in the game. Adam LaRoche hit a three-run homer for all the O the curly W’s would need.

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

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 3: The Yankees have given a name to their pain, and it is Adam Lind. A three-run homer and four RBI, to hand the Yankees their third straight loss.

Reds 6, Cubs 1: Tied 1-1 into the ninth and then — bam! — a five-run inning, capped by a Devin Mesoraco grand slam. It was his fourth game in a row in which he hit a homer.

Pirates 8, Rays 1: Pedro Alvarez had a three-run homer in the fourth and Edinson Volquez rebounded from a nightmare start last Wednesday to allow one run over eight. The Rays hit into three double plays behind him.

Padres 6, Giants 0: Odrisamer Despaigne made his big league debut, taking the place of Andrew Cashner, and he did not disappoint. All he did was throw seven scoreless innings. He was signed just a couple months ago by Josh Byrnes, who just got canned. I wonder if he watched the game and if he did, I wonder how he felt.

Royals 5, Dodgers 3: The Royals beat up their old friend Zack Greinke and snapped their four game losing streak. Well, maybe he’s not their old friend. A lot of them didn’t even play with him. Of those who did,, maybe he was a jerk to them. Maybe he was really close friends with, like, Billy Butler but he and Alex Gordon had a falling out over a poker game? You never can know these things.

The Marlins are using Jose Fernandez’s death to head off criticism of their teardown

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There are certain facts about the Miami Marlins that are basic and clear. Among them:

  • Jose Fernandez died in September of 2016;
  • Marlins owner Jeffery Loria, who was by all accounts very close to Jose Fernandez, took it hard;
  • Despite losing the ace who was supposed to anchor the staff for years to come, Loria decided against a teardown that offseason because there was a lot of talent on the roster and trying to patch holes and compete made sense to him;
  • During the ensuing offseason, the Marlins signed a number of players;
  • Those players failed or got hurt and now the Marlins are engaged in a total rebuild and have traded away players in an effort to slash payroll.

Those things cannot be disputed. Nevertheless, I do not think it’s unfair to say that this framing off all of those facts, via anonymous sources speaking to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, is totally bogus:

The death of pitching ace Jose Fernandez in 2016 triggered a series of costly roster decisions that the Marlins’ new owners are having to contend with now.

There is no shortage of ‘what ifs’ with how it all played out.

But this much is clear: according to sources with knowledge of internal discussions at the time, a number of players with prohibitive salaries wouldn’t be on the Marlins now if previous owner Jeffrey Loria had listened to the advice of his top baseball people back then.

These “top baseball people” are mostly still with the Marlins, including president of baseball operations Michael Hill, so it’s impossible to separate the historical account of this from present day spin. Which is to say that this article is, without question, fueled by Marlins officials looking to deflect fan anger at their decisions this offseason by holding up the tragic death of Jose Fernandez as a shield against criticism.

“Hey, we know you don’t like that we traded away our best players and continue to look to slash talent,” they are basically saying, “but, please, blame God and fate and Jose Fernandez’s poor decisions and Jeff Loria’s emotions and anything else! Do not blame the baseball operations department of the Miami Marlins!”

It’s emotionally manipulative crap, and whoever supplied this line to Spencer ought to be ashamed of himself.

The emotional components aside, whatever the advice these sources gave to Loria at the time about the need to rebuild then and to not sign players heading into 2017, it was rejected. Once that occurred, like all subordinates, they were required to go out and make good decisions with their overarching marching orders. To the extent they are claiming that extending Martin Prado, signing Edinson Volquez, Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa and trading for Dan Straily were bad moves, they hold responsibility for that too. Loria was a lot of things, but he was not out there handling the day-to-day transactions. If the Marlins signed bad players to bad contracts, the people now looking to be excused of that hold a great deal of responsibility.

Even if we put THAT aside this is a crap line of reasoning. Spencer clearly notes that the idea to give Martin Prado his three-year, $40 million extension was agreed to in principle before Fernandez’s death, even if it was officially signed after. For another, Volquez only cost the Marlins $9 million last year, which should not be bank-breaking for an average pitcher, which Volquez basically was before his injury. He’s on the hook for $13 million this year, much of it presumably covered by insurance. Ziegler and Tazawa are owed a combined $16 million. Given the injuries and ineffectiveness of these guys, no, they are not good contracts, but they also amount to less than $30 million in commitments, again, offset by insurance. They should not break the back of a competently-run organization, even if it’s a low revenue one like the Marlins.

I get it, Marlins executives: you’ve got new bosses who have mandated that you slash payroll. You’ve caught all kinds of hell for it and no one likes catching hell. But (a) the mandate has way, way, way more to do with the new owners’ debt service obligations from their highly-leveraged acquisition of the team than it does the death of Jose Fernandez; and (b) the decisions you made in the wake of Fernandez’s death are your responsibility and you don’t get off the hook for them by making an emotionally manipulative appeal.

Do better, guys. This is pathetic even by the historically pathetic standards of the Miami Marlins.