Blood on the Tracks

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 4 Padres 0: Most of what has been said about Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter has been said. I’ll add this though, which a Twitter correspondent told me and which I find kinda neat: Lincecum joins Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers to have two or more no-hitters two or more Cy Young Awards and two or more World Series championships. Also: Lincecum’s closest comp: Bob Dylan. Early dominance and greatness followed by a falloff, but still punctuated by occasional brilliance. Let’s call this no-hitter Lincecum’s “Blood on the Tracks,” as it’s a clear high point after a considerable time of confusion and lack of direction.

Braves 4, Astros 0: Justin Upton homered for the second day in a row and drove in three. Alex Wood and the pen combined for a three-hit shutout. It was Wood’s start since May 4, as he had been shifted to the pen then and then sent down to be stretched out again. I guess the stretching worked.

Athletics 8, Mets 5: Maybe it’s the uniforms? Because it sorta doesn’t matter who these guys are or where they come from, if the A’s run ’em out there, they do OK. Take Brad Mills. He was in Nashville and, given how easily he was obtained from the Brewers, was basically, by definition, a spare part. In his second start as an Athletic, though, he proved to be effective, pitching into the seventh inning and allowing three runs to pick up his first win in two years. He was helped along by a Yoenis Cespedes bases-clearing double.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: I linked a story the other day about how the Associated Press is going to reduce game stories to a couple of short paragraphs and then bullet points. For the reasons I stated I think that’s a good thing. That said, once in a while I stumble across something like this from the AP and I can’t help but smile:

Mark Teixeira made sure the New York Yankees had something to declare at customs on their way home from Canada: a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

That’s “so bad it’s good” stuff right there, and I will kinda miss it when it’s gone.

Marlins 3, Phillies 2: Henderson Alvarez only one earned run on seven hits in six and two-thirds to keep up his hot streak. He’s 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last seven starts. Remember that time about five days ago when people actually thought the Phillies had turned it around? Since then they’ve dropped four of five.

Rays 5 Pirates 1: In what could possibly be David Price’s last game as a Ray — I don’t think it is as it usually takes big trades longer to come together, but a lot of people suggested it yesterday — he did the Rays a solid by (a) winning the game; and (b) showing potential suitors that they should and probably will have to pay a big price to land him. He struck out 11 batters and allowed five hits in eight and a third. That’s five straight starts in which he has struck out ten or more.

Reds 4, Cubs 1: Mat Latos picks up his first win of the year, allowing one run on five hits. Jay Bruce drove in two on a pair of RBI doubles. Marty Brennaman did not die alone in his hotel room.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 6: Both Marco Gonzalez and Yohan Flande were making their major league debuts, for the Cardinals and Rockies, respectively. Neither of them had a game worth writing home about. The best part of this game was the second-to-last at bat in the bottom of the ninth. Trevor Rosenthal had walked two batters to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo battled for 11 pitches but then struck out on a 100-mph fastball. That’s some serious sh*t right there, friends.

Brewers 9, Nationals 2: Scooter Gennett drove in five with the help of a grand slam. Stephen Strasburg got beat up for seven runs in four and two-thirds. I wonder if it was someone else’s fault this time too.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Red Sox 5, Mariners 4: The Sox avoid a sweep thanks in part to Clay Buchholz, who was making his first start in a month. He wasn’t great, but he did pitch into the eighth inning and, given how badly the Mariners had battered Sox pitching the past two games, allowing only four runs was a moral victory.

Angels 6, Twins 2: Garrett Richards pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning to win his fourth straight win and the Angels won their fifth in a row. Richards has a 1.06 ERA in June and has allowed only four runs over his last five starts.

Indians 6, Diamondbacks 1: A day after playing a long extra innings game, the winner here was going to be the team that got the most innings out of its starter. Well, usually the winner of any game is the one which gets the most wins out of its starter, but you know what I mean. Here Corey Kluber pitched seven shutout innings for Cleveland, striking out eight.

Dodgers 5, Royals 4: The Dodgers scored the go-ahead run in the eighth when Wade Davis hit A.J. Ellis with a pitch with the bases loaded. Obviously not intentional. And I obviously did not need to say that, but given that the Diamondbacks set new precedent with that kind of crap last week I suppose I need to be 100% clear about these things. Anyway, that was the first run Davis had given up since April.

Tigers 8, Rangers 6: Six in a row for Detroit. Martinez homered. So did Martinez. On back to back pitches. That Martinez sure is good. So is the other one.

Orioles 5, White Sox 4: Nelson Cruz hit a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning and David Lough scored the winning run on a walkoff wild pitch in the 12th. The O’s take two of three from the Pale Hose, with both wins coming in their final at bat.

 

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.