90s

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 12, Rangers 11: This game should be on an episode of “I love the 90s” with play-by-play being done by Hal Sparks and Michael Ian Black. Homers galore, seven RBI from J.P. Arencibia, a seventh inning in which the teams combined for 84 pitches, some bad defense, 22 runs, 27 hits and a running time of nearly four hours. God, I’m surprised any of us survived that era.

Athletics 7, Astros 4:  Houston had a 4-1 lead in the ninth which, statistically speaking, is pretty safe. But as my luddite-leaning friends tell me, statististics don’t play baseball. Three RBI singles and an RBI double in the visitors half of the ninth gave Oakland the win, with Chad Qualls being the recipient of most of the beating. And to top it all off, a foul ball nearly killed the Astros’ social media director.

Dodgers 8, Braves 4: I watched four innings of this. Good: I got some Scully time, watched as the announcement of him coming back for 2015 was made and heard him throw some shade on Dan Uggla (really). Bad: It was a Beckett-Harang matchup, which meant lumbering, deliberate pitching that did not allow me to stay up late enough to catch most of it. Maybe for the best, though, as I didn’t have to witness Matt Kemp’s second homer and the Dodgers score four unanswered runs. Puig had four hits and the Dodgers have won four straight.

Twins 2, Royals 1: Kyle Gibson only allowed a couple of singles in seven shutout innings. The Royals offense has been frustrating all year, but this was one of their lesser performances. Or, as the Hall of Fame might say, one of their fewer performances.

Cubs 4, Rockies 3: People usually refer to the proceedings which outlawed various war crimes as “The Geneva Convention,” but really it was a series of conventions, agreements and protocols which we refer to collectively. You’ve got your protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, your protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, your protocol relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem, your Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, your Protocol for the prevention of 16 inning games between two teams you really don’t want to watch in the first place, etc. In any event, the people behind this game should be on trial in The Hague sometime soon. Their only defense is that this atrocity did allow for something positive to occur, and that’s a position player — Cubs catcher John Baker — pitching and getting the win. Six hours and 27 minutes.

Pirates 3, Giants 1: Francisco Liriano struck out 11 and allowed only one run over seven and the Pirates victimized Tim Hudson for two early homers to hand the Giants yet another loss. This combined with the Dodgers win puts the Giants three games back in the West. Somehow, however, the actual deficit seems to understand the difference between where the Giants are and where the Dodgers are.

Padres 3, Cardinals 1: Tyson Ross wasn’t his sharpest, but he won his third straight start, holding St. Louis to one run and four hits in six innings. It helped that the Cardinals defense wasn’t sharp either, committing three errors. Newcomer Yangervis Solarte homered and scored another run.

Rays 5, Brewers 1: Can’t stop the Rays. They won their 11th game in 12 chances with Alex Cobb strikes out 12 and Ben Zobrist homered and doubled. Since their June 11th nadir, the Rays are 29-12. Someone give me more facts with 11s and 12s in them, stat.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2: Marcus Stroman faced the Sox last week and tied ’em up. He did it again last night. What’s your secret, Marcus? Did you do something special to come to dominate Boston?

“To be honest, no, just execute pitches.”

Such a great command of cliche for such a young man.

White Sox 11, Tigers 4: Jose Abreu homered and drove in four. His homer was his 31st of the year. He also has an 18-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 36 of 37. Detroit played awful defense and newcomer Joakim Soria was pretty terrible. I’m going up to Detroit to see their game on Saturday, so at least they got this stinker out of their system.

Marlins 3, Nationals 0: Henderson Alvarez allowed only three hits but he walked four. Nats never made him pay for it, though. The Marlins did make Jerry Blevins and the Nationals bullpen pay for not pitching well, though. And while I’ll admit I haven’t watched their games closely the past couple of days, based on the names appearing in the box score, it seems like the Nats’ choice of relievers at various points is . . . odd. What say you Nats fans?

Mariners 5, Indians 2: Hisashi Iwakuma was yet another pitcher who tossed seven strong innings last night. But then again, strong innings on the road are what he’s all about lately. Iwakuma is 9-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his last 14 road starts. Asked about it after the game he said he wasn’t aware of that and that he had no secret for his success on the road. Someday he’ll learn to say that he simply “executes pitches.”

Phillies 6, Mets 0: A grand slam for Chase Utley and Cole Hamels cruising for eight innings. It’s the kind of thing which makes Phillies fans pine for ’09, I suspect.

Orioles 7, Angels 6: A walkoff homer for Manny Machado in the 12th. The AP gamer starts out with “The Baltimore Orioles have a knack for winning in extra innings, and it has nothing to do with luck.” Huh. Remember back in 2012 when they won all of those one-run and extra inning games? And everyone said they had a skill for that? And then they didn’t do it in 2013 and everyone realized, hmm, maybe there’s some chance at play there? Nah, me neither. I have no idea what you’re talking about. In any event, if you have a skill at winning games in extra innings, perhaps you should apply that skill earlier in games to save your bullpen? Just a thought!

Reds 3, Diamondbacks 0: Mike Leake pitched shutout ball into the eighth and singled in a run himself. It was Cincy’s second win in 11 games.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.