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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


source: AP

Brewers 4, Reds 3: I usually don’t put up a feature photo like that but that’s such a cool one I can’t not. Occasioned by Jonathan Lucroy’s walkoff homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth. He hit one in the sixth inning too. It wasn’t a walkoff, though. If it was, whichever team was left on the field would have won due to a forfeit. Might not’ve been the worst thing for the Reds, though. They’re 0-5 since the break. A forfeit would look pretty sweet at the moment.

Giants 9, Phillies 6: A save in this one for proven closer Tim Lincecum. He was needed in relief as this one went 14 innings. Brandon Crawford gave the Giants the lead that frame with a bases-clearing double. This whole thing went as long as it did thanks to Buster Posey hitting a homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. It was the first homer anyone had hit off him all season. Posey had four hits, including two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Crawford drove in four.

Yankees 2, Rangers 1: Another marathon. Sort of a marathon of ineptitude, as each of these teams made the other’s starters look like Koufax and Drysdale as opposed to Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez. But the new guy came through: Chase Headley, just acquired earlier in the day and only having landed in New York at 6:30pm for a 7pm start, hit the game-winning single in the 14th. I suppose that’s the record for becoming a True Yankee.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3: The Sox’ winning streak ends at five as Dioner Navarro and Jose Reyes homered and J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings. After the game John Farrell was asked about the poor night at the plate for Sox’ hitters a day after rattling off 18 hits:

“There’s no bank that we can take runs and put them in and take a loan out the next day, unfortunately,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It would have been nice to be able to do that today.”

Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, why not? If you’ll excuse me, I have a business to start.

Royals 7, White Sox 1: It was Greek Heritage Night at U.S. Cellular Field. Mike Moustakas is of Greek Heritage. Mike Moustakas also hit two homers. Opa!

Cubs 6, Padres 0: It was a big night for guys hitting two homers. Here Anthony Rizzo did it against his old organization. I’d say that would really steam the Padres GM, but at the moment the Padres GM is, like, a temp from Adecco or a team of monkeys at typewriters or something.

Marlins 6, Braves 5: Mike Minor was smacked around, giving up six runs on 10 hits and walking two. The Braves are looking sluggish just as the Nats are embarking on a pretty favorable part of their schedule. Washington now has a two-game lead in the division. My prediction that the Nats would pull away in the second half is looking pretty good, unfortunately.

Pirates 12, Dodgers 7: Gregory Polanco hit a solo home run and a two-run single in the sixth that broke a 4-4 tie. Neil Walker and Ike Davis also came up big. Josh Beckett looked rusty coming back from a hip injury and ended up lasting only three and two-thirds and giving up three homers.

Indians 8, Twins 2: Carlos Sanata homered and collected four hits and Danny Salazar, who had been exiled to Columbus of all places, made his first start in the bigs since May 15. It was a good one too, as he allowed one earned run and struck out six while pitching into the sixth. Columbus is a great place to get your head together, allowing you to go on and do better things elsewhere. Just ask James Thurber or George Bellows if you happen to run into them.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Orioles 4, Angels 2: Miguel Gonzalez took a two-hit shutout into the eighth against one of the best offenses in baseball. Jonathan Schoop homered and J.J. Hardy hit two RBI doubles. The loss means that the Angels’ streak of ten consecutive home series wins is over.

Rays 7, Cardinals 2: Six in a row for the Rays whose hot streak is going on two months now. That’s pretty great, and they’re better off now than they were in early June when they were 15 games back. But they still have only gained a game and a half on the division leader in the month of July and still sit eight back. Such is the difficulty of digging out of holes several months into the season. Five and a half out of the wild card but, again, a lot of teams to climb over.

Astros 3, Athletics 2: L.J. Hoes with a homer in the 12th. It was a requested home run. Hoes after the game:

“It’s a really good feeling considering it was my mom’s birthday, and that was the last thing she told me to do, to get a homer for her,” Hoes said. “To be able to do that for her was a special thing.”

I got my mom a set of those wireless headphones old ladies who are going deaf can use so they can hear the T.V. I suppose a homer is nice too, but my mom can now watch “Jeopardy!” cranked to 11 in the living room while my dad watches documentaries about trains in the bedroom without being disturbed. Who got the better gift L.J.? Hmmm?

Nationals 7, Rockies 4: Adam LaRoche with a tiebreaking homer in the seventh. It was the Nats’ fourth straight win. Some bad news though: Ryan Zimmerman left the game with a strained hamstring. He’ll have an MRI this morning.

Mets 3, Mariners 1: Jacob DeGrom continues his nice run of late, allowing one run in seven innings while striking out seven. Over his last six starts he’s 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA. He’s 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA over his past three, walking three and striking out 26.

Diamondbacks 5, Tigers 4: Three RBI and a game-ending gem of a play at second base for Aaron Hill. David Peralta had two triples and continued the streak of “Every Player in Major League Baseball Named Peralta Reminding Me of the Giant Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade Poster I Had on my Wall in High School:


No, I wasn’t a big skater. But a lot of my friends were and I hung out with them at the skate store with the half-pipe in the back. While they were skating I found out the store was going out of business and was able to buy the poster off the owner super cheap. Then I flipped it to a kid I knew who was a real skater when I left home for college. Since then I just wait for a baseball team to pair up a player named Powell and a player named Peralta in a double play combo so I can call them the “Bones Brigade” which will amuse around five readers. At most.


Mark McGwire to become the Padres bench coach

Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire roams the field during practice for the National League baseball championship series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in St. Louis. The Dodgers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The other day Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job. Today Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done and will soon be announced.

McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. When his contract was not renewed following the end of 2015 he was rumored to be up for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job. He likely view staying in Southern California to be a plus, as he makes his home in Irvine, which is around 90 miles from Petco Park. That’s a long commute, but Mac can afford the gas, I guess.

How to talk to your family about the designated hitter at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner

While political topics are normally the subject of awkward conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, hardcore baseball fans know that it can be just as awkward to talk about the game with relatives.

They don’t know baseball as well as you do — not by a long shot — but for some reason everyone thinks they have the God-given right not only to offer their baseball opinions but to demand acknowledgement that those opinions are correct. Baseball may be dying, you guys, but it’s vestigial status as our National Pastime makes everyone think they’re an expert by simple virtue of being an American. It’s maddening.

I can’t tell you how to keep your family away from sensitive topics, but here are brief answers to some frequently asked questions about the state of the game, and how you can defuse combustible conversations:

Will the National League adopt the designated hitter?

Despite the fact that the DH has been around four 43 seasons, your relatives — even those far younger than 43 — will loudly proclaim it to be a new-fangled abomination as they pass the sweet potatoes. While the best way to avoid conflict here is to say something like “I think the differences between the leagues are special and should be preserved” and try to quickly move on to something else, we don’t progress as a civilization by indulging foolishness in the name of peace. Tell your relatives that pitchers batting is dumb and that the DH should be universal. And then tell them to get their own sweet potatoes. You’re trying to eat here for cryin’ out loud.

Where will the big free agents go? Don’t the Yankees spend all of their big money and buy championships anyway?

My god, your uncle/cousin/sister’s boyfriend who probably shouldn’t be piping up about ANYTHING right now given that none of you really like him and it’s not going to last anyway is out of touch when it comes to such things. Tell them that the Yankees haven’t won jack since the first year of Obama’s first term and that even when they were winning the World Series all the time they did so on the back of homegrown talent, savvily-developed. Indeed, they STOPPED winning championships once they went huge on free agency and jacked up payroll and, despite the fact that they still owe a lot of old guys money, they are back to developing talent again and are way less likely to spend stupid money in free agency than they used to be. Careful here, though: people have strong feelings about the Yankees regardless of their ignorance and will likely fight back on this point. Maybe it’s safer just to discuss Obama. Here’s an idea to that end: how — as your drunk uncle claims — can Obama simultaneously be the least effective president ever AND a total dictator? Maybe Obama is one of those two things, but my drunk uncle has never given me a satisfactory answer to how he can be both.

Why doesn’t baseball have a salary cap? The players make too much money.

The idea of a salary cap in baseball is dead. Deader than vaudeville. It blew up the game in 1994-95, and the owners blinked rather than try it again in 2002.  Since then the money has been flowing, competitive balance has been better than most people will admit, and the owners seem to have very little desire to fight that fight again.  It’s not going to happen. Yet, for some reason — likely the Football Industrial Complex’s propaganda machine — every sports dilettante thinks that baseball not only needs a salary cap but that it’s actually something that could happen, even though it isn’t.

Here some ju-jitsu is in order. Rather than bog things down with facts which show that there is no need for a salary cap, turn the question around on them and ask them when the billionaires who own baseball teams will accept a cap on how much they should earn for their “labor.” When they spout off about how owners built the business themselves and are entitled to whatever they can get, ask them which of the current owners, who form a veritable Who’s-Who of Paper Movers, Genetic Lottery Winners and Men Who Were Born on Third Base Yet Think They Hit a Triple, built a dang thing. Peter Angelos, maybe. Just don’t tell them that he’s a rich plaintiff’s lawyer who had the union’s back during the 1994-95 strike.

What’s wrong with young players today? Why don’t they act professionally and respect the game? 

By this time your uncle may be so drunk on the Beaujolais Nouveau that he may actually slip and say “Latin players” instead of “young players,” and that’s assuming he’s polite enough to use words like “Latin” to refer to people from the Caribbean, Central and South America. If so, skip the lecture about how arguments regarding baseball decorum and “playing the game the right way” are really just proxies for cultural anxiety and creeping xenophobia and go directly to the inevitable conversation about immigration, refugees and Donald Trump. It’ll save you time and make everyone angrier way, way faster. And this is a wonderful thing.

Or, at least it is for me. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and the quicker people get to open warfare the quicker I can kick everyone out, bringing some peace and quiet back to my house. Plus: more pie for me.


(with both thanks and apologies to Brendan Nyhan of the New York Times)

Jerry Dipoto refutes the notion that Robinson Cano is unhappy

Robinson Cano

Yesterday John Harper of the Daily News reported that, according to a friend of Robinson Cano‘s, Cano is unhappy in Seattle and would like to go back to New York. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto responded to that report, saying that it’s totally false based on his conversations with Cano and his agent:

“[Cano’s agent] reached out to let me know that did not come from Robbie and that’s not at all reflective of how he felt,” said Dipoto, who replaced former GM Jack Zduriencik two months ago. “Shortly after the season ended, I sat down with Robinson in my office for two hours and we had a great talk and I think we left with a very clear understanding of who one another might be.

There are official lines and things one says to one’s friends. Then again, there are also friends who know things and “friends” who assume things thought by others and then talk to newspapers about it too. Where all of this falls on the truth/knowledge spectrum is something none of us can ever know.

What can be known for sure is that (a) Cano had a rough season from both a health and baseball perspective; (b) Cano is a professional who knows that there is zero upside to communicating displeasure with one’s current team to the press, either directly or through surrogates; and (c) when one is productive and one’s team is winning, one feels very differently about life than if one is not productive and not winning.

In short: there could very well be truth from both sides of this little happening.

Mariners looking to trade Mark Trumbo

Mark Trumbo

Seattle acquired Mark Trumbo from Arizona in June, but that was the Mariners’ old front office regime and new general manager Jerry Dipoto is remaking the roster. And he already traded away Trumbo once, back when he was the Angels’ general manager.

Jerry Crasnick of reports that “several rival executives said they expect” the Mariners to trade Trumbo, who is due to make around $9 million in 2016 via arbitration before becoming a free agent next offseason.

Trumbo has huge power, but he swings at everything and is a negative defensively as a corner outfielder/first baseman. He’s a career .250 hitter with a lowly .299 on-base percentage and modest .758 OPS thanks to averaging 160 strikeouts and 40 walks per 160 games.

It’s hard to imagine any team giving up a quality prospect for the right to pay $9 million for one season of Trumbo, but if Dipoto simply wants to be rid of the low-OBP slugger it might not take much to make a deal happen.