And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 6, Mariners 5: Fernando Rodney was called on for the five-out save. He got the first two to close out the eighth and even did his little bow and arrow thing. Maybe a bit too early there, Fernando. In the ninth Albert Pujols doubled home Mike Trout to tie it, and mocked Rodney with his own bow-and-arrow move when he pulled into second. Trout shot one back at him from the dugout. Then, after a Josh Hamilton single, a couple of intentional walks and a double play, Grant Green singled home Hamilton for the winning run. It was the Angels’ 30th come-from-behind win this season. The A’s may be handing out whuppin’s, but a win is a win no matter what the margin of victory and there the Angels sit a game and a half back.

Athletics 10, Orioles 2: Here’s that whuppin’ I was taking about. The A’s have delivered a lot of whuppin’s this year. This was their 12th win by eight or more runs so far this season. No one else in baseball has more than five.

Rays 5, Twins 3: Five straight wins for the Rays and 14 of their last 18. Which is either just good enough to mess up the front office’s plans to trade David Price and Ben Zobrist by making the fans think the Rays have a chance or just good enough to enhance those plans by giving the front office some “well, we may not trade him after all . . .” leverage with potential trading partners. I have no idea how that all works. For all I know they make trades in the big leagues via some computerized system in which they get emails telling you “Congratulations: [Team] has accepted your offer.”

Astros 11, White Sox 7: A 17-hit attack by Houston. They had a 4-0 lead and then watched as the Sox tied it at seven but then they pulled away. This snaps a losing streak of four for Houston. Three games and that trainwreck of a draftee signing deadline on Friday afternoon.

Pirates 5, Rockies 3: Aggressive baserunning helped the Pirates as, on three occasions, a base runner took an extra base and then ended up scoring. Also helping: the fact that they were playing the Rockies. Following this sweep someone had better take Dick Monfort’s iPad away from him.

Nationals 5, Brewers 4: Milwaukee tied it in the top of the ninth but then Werth walks ’em off with an RBI double. After the game Werth talked about situations where runners are in scoring position and the game is on the line:

“That’s what it’s all about, right? It’s why we do this. If you find yourself in that situation and you don’t want to be there, I think you’re in the wrong line of work.”

Upon hearing that teammate Scott Hairston (.071/.118/.071 with runners in scoring position all year) turned in his bat and applied to grad school.

Red Sox 6, Royals 0: Jon Lester with eight shutout innings and eight strikeouts. That’s the third time in his last four starts he’s allowed no earned runs. He and the Red Sox may not be negotiating about his contract anymore, but he’s definitely making statements about it.

Braves 8, Phillies 2: Tommy La Stella drove in three runs and Chris Johnson hit a two-run homer. Dan Uggla watched the game with increasing anger from his couch, flexing his biceps and thinking about what could’ve been, probably. Of course he also spent some time thinking about how he’ll spend the $19 million he has coming from the Braves for the next year and a half, so it’s not too bad.

Yankees 3, Reds 2: Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce and Skip Schumaker were converging on a pop in shallow right. Two of them were playing positions they really probably shouldn’t be playing. The other one — Bruce — is a pretty nifty right fielder but had the farthest to go for the ball. Guess what happened? Yankees walk off and Brian McCann is credited with an RBI single off the nastiest lefty reliever going. Baseball is cool sometimes.

Tigers 5, Indians 1: Miguel Cabrera was 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBI. Drew Smyly allowed one run on four his over seven innings. Between this game, the Reds game and the birthday party I misguidedly held in my home for my nine-year-old son yesterday (eight additional nine-years-olds attending) it was just a horrible day for people from Ohio. I probably got the worst of it, though.

Marlins 3, Giants 2: Tim Lincecum threw great but he bounced one in the dirt in the seventh allowing the go-ahead run to score. Casey McGehee hit a homer. It was only his second of the year, but the two-run shot gives him 56 RBI on the year. That’s a pace of 94 RBI and only three homers. Which is pretty trippy. In 1957 Mickey Mantle drove in 94 homers with 34 homers. In 1960 he drove in 94 RBI with 40 homers. The takeaway: Casey McGehee just knows how to drive in runners better than Mickey Mantle ever did.

Blue Jays 9, Rangers 6: Melky Cabrera hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh and was 3 for 5 with three RBI overall. He was 3 for 4 the day before. The Rangers scored a run on a balk in the sixth in which Mark Buehrle slipped and fell down. I bet the time it took him to set for that pitch, fall, get back up and deliver the subsequent pitch was still less than it takes half the guys in baseball to throw a single pitch.

Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 2: Not gonna say the Cubs are historically unlucky, but in this one the go-ahead run scored when Anthony Rizzo made an awesome catch on a foul ball. Except the catch took him and the ball out of play. Problem: there was a runner on third and when the defender takes the ball out of play, the runners are awarded a base. In this case, home.

Padres 2, Mets 1: Odrisamer Despaigne didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the eighth. Not bad for a guy who throws more junk than Lamont Sanford. After five starts he has a 1.31 ERA, though, so it’s not like it ain’t workin’.

Dodgers 4, Cardinals 3: Peter Bourjos hit an unexpected homer to tie it in the sixth off of Clayton Kershaw of all people, but then the Dodgers plated the winning run in the ninth rallying against Trevor Rosenthal. Kershaw’s run of seven starts allowing one or fewer runs comes to an end but a win makes everything shiny.*

*note: I watched “Serenity” again last night so I’m going to be sprinkling that stuff in for a few days. Can’t help myself.

The Nationals sign Kevin Jepsen

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Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports the Nationals have agreed to terms with free agent reliever Kevin Jepsen.

Think of this as the latest in what will likely be a series of no-risk bullpen additions. The Nats, basically, collecting as many almost free arms they can find in an effort to fix their bullpen woes without having to give up anything valuable at the trade deadline. Just like the K-Rod signing earlier this week or the Edwin Jackson signing two weeks ago.

Jepsen pitched for Tampa Bay and Minnesota last year, posting a 5.68 ERA with the Rays and a 6.16 ERA with the Twins, appearing in 58 games in all. He went unsigned this past offseason.

Eh, it might work. It probably won’t, but it might.

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.