And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 8, Rays 4: Aaron Judge homered for the third straight game. And it was a moon shot. He’s a strong young man. Brett Gardner and Rickie Weeks aren’t tiny dudes either, so when they collided during the sixth inning some damage was done as well. Gardner suffered a bruised jaw and a strained neck. Weeks has a bone bruise by the shoulder joint and has some neck soreness.

Tigers 5, Twins 3Andrew Romine hit what turned out to be a game-winning grand slam in the fourth-inning.  He’s hitting .545/.545/1.091 with three doubles and a homer in 12 plate appearances so far this season. With Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton all struggling in the early going, that’s been a nice pick-me-up for the Tigers’ offense. Detroit is 6-2.

Padres 6, Rockies 0: The Padres jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. Zach Lee tossed shutout ball into the sixth and four relievers took the shutout the rest of the way. Ryan Schimpf hit a two-run homer in that first inning and added a sac fly later. The Rockies were picked by many to be at least an interesting club. Not a playoff club, mind you, but interesting. Somehow, scoring only six runs in a three-game series in Coors Field against the San Diego Padres does not seem all that interesting to me.

Cardinals 6, Nationals 1Stephen Piscotty homered and had five RBI, helping the Cards avoid the sweep. Against Max Scherzer of all people. Mike Leake gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked none over seven shutout innings. At one point he retired 19 batters in a row.

White Sox 2, Indians 1: Derek Holland‘s job this year: pitch well until July and let the rebuilding Chisox flip him to a contender. So far so good. Here he allowed only one hit over six innings and pitched around four walks, not allowing a run to the defending AL champs. Holland has allowed only two earned runs in 12 innings in his two starts so far.

Mets 5, Phillies 4: Zack Wheeler cruised until the sixth, when the Phillies piled some runs on him, but the Mets piled more on Vince Velazquez and Wheeler came away with his first W since 2014. You remember 2014, don’t you? ISIS was running wild in Iraq, Ebola ravaged Africa, Russia annexed another country’s sovereign territory and, somehow, the world seemed less scary then than it does now. Anyway, congratulations Zack Wheeler.

Reds 9, Pirates 2: Amir Garrett took a shutout into the seventh inning — he’d eventually give up a two-run homer to David Freese — as the Reds sweep the Pirates. Garrett shut the Cardinals out for six innings in his first start. Not a bad start to the rookie lefty’s career. Especially considering that he got shelled in spring training. Not a bad start for the Reds, too, who are 7-2.

Athletics 8, Royals 3: Andrew Triggs got beat up in spring training but has had two nice starts to kick off the season. I hear Amir Garrett is gonna sue him for stealing his bit. Jedd Lowrie drove in three. The A’s have won eight in a row over the Royals, six of those in Kansas City. Bob Melvin is lobbying to have the Royals moved back to the AL West and for the league office to reinstitute the unbalanced schedule.

Brewers 2, Blue Jays 0: The Brewers’ Chase Anderson and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout as Toronto’s early season nightmare continues. The Jays fall to 1-7 with their fifth straight loss. No 1-7 team has ever made the playoffs. That’s because baseball seasons are 162 games long, not eight games long, making it preposterous to think that a team that has only played eight games could secure a playoff berth.

Orioles 12, Red Sox 5: The O’s hit five homers in the first three innings. Trey Mancini hit two of them. I refuse to believe that “Trey Mancini” is a real person, however, and not the name of a secondary character in a Ross MacDonald novel. Trey Mancini is not the bad guy, really, but he works for him. Maybe he plays the vibes at a club the bad guy owns. Archer braces him for information, after which he tells Mancini to go back home Fresno, to start going by his given name, Bob Henderson, and to go back to helping his parents out at their corner market rather than getting messed up with the dark element in Santa Teresa. Archer was like that, you know. He was hardboiled, but unlike Marlowe and the others, he was not, deep down, a cynic. He wanted to save those he could, and maybe Trey Mancini was one of them.

Braves 5, Marlins 4: Ender Inciarte hit two homers and Tyler Flowers hit a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth as the Braves snap a losing skid. Giancarlo Stanton hit two homers too, but history is written by the winners, yo. The Braves now have a day off before opening their brand new ballpark Friday night. They probably need the whole day off just to fight through the traffic between the airport and the stadium.

Dodgers 2, Cubs 0: Brandon McCarthy tossed six shutout innings against the World Champs on the day they got their rings. That has to feel good. Three relievers helped them finish the job. It’s really hard to swing a bat while wearing a big chunky ring, you see.

Rangers 8, Angels 3: There would be no dramatic comeback for the Angels this time. Joey Gallo hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the fifth, Mike Napoli, Elvis Andrus and Carlos Gomez homered and the Texas bullpen didn’t give up a run for once.

Astros 10, Mariners 5: There would be a comeback in this one. Seattle had a 5-0 lead after three innings and then allowed the Astros to score 10 unanswered runs. Well, they were likely answered, but only with a lot of muttering and cussing by the Mariners. After starter Mike Fiers departed, the Houston pen tossed five shutout innings. The Astros’ ten runs were occasioned by zero home runs. Death by a thousand cuts over the course of three hours and twelve minutes.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2: Welcome back Matt Cain. After what has seemed like years in the wilderness, Cain notches a win by allowing one run over five innings. He also doubled and scored. Now, let’s get an APB out for Tim Lincecum. If we can’t find him, ask Archer. I hear he has a source by the name of Mancini who’s singin’ like a bird.

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel lead 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

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Hall of Fame ballots for the 2018 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. Among the top newcomers: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood and Jamie Moyer . There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Chris Carpenter
Johnny Damon
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Jason Isringhausen
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Hideki Matsui
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Scott Rolen
Johan Santana
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Chipper Jones, the 1999 MVP, one of the best switch-hitters of all time and the unparalleled offensive star of the great Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s seems like a shoe-in. His case is boosted above his fantastic offensive numbers in the eyes of many voters by virtue of playing for the same team for his entire career.

Jim Thome is probably going to get a very large vote total and possibly will be inducted, having hit over 600 homers in his career. A challenge to his first-year induction is presented by the very large backlog of deserving candidates, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and by the fact that Thome’s career corresponded with baseball’s home run boom of the 1990s. Unlike other passed-over candidates of his era, Thome was never implicated in performance enhancing drug use, but it is the case that homers became cheaper for everyone during his career, and some may consider him a one-dimensional candidate. I suspect he’ll be in Cooperstown soon, be it this year or next year.

Omar Vizquel will receive a lot of support but his candidacy will also draw a lot of controversy. His backers will cite his defense and his longevity. His detractors will note that his defense was nowhere near as good as other defense-first inductees in the past such as Ozzie Smith, and that it was in no way good enough to make up for his below average bat. Complicating all of this will be fact that two superior defensive candidates who happened to have outstanding offensive numbers to go with them — Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen — are unlikely to receive anything approaching the level of support Vizquel will get, leading to . . . a lot of arguing.

And now the holdovers from last year’s ballot and ballots past, with last year’s percentage of the vote in parenthesis. Candidates need 75% of the vote in order to be inducted:

Barry Bonds (53.8)
Roger Clemens (54.1)
Vladimir Guerrero (71.1)
Trevor Hoffman (74.0)
Jeff Kent (16.7)
Edgar Martinez (58.6)
Fred McGriff (21.7)
Mike Mussina (51.8)
Manny Ramirez (23.8)
Curt Schilling (45.0)
Gary Sheffield (13.3)
Sammy Sosa (8.6)
Billy Wagner (10.2)
Larry Walker (21.9)

We’ve talked about all of these guys before, of course. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero seem likely to be elected given how close they came to induction last year. Many quite worthy candidates such as Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling will likely continue to receive less support than they deserve. PED-associated candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a boost in their previously-flagging candidacies last year, getting over 50% of the vote for the first time, but it’s unlikely that they’ll jump 22 and 21 points, respectively. Lesser PED-associated candidates such as Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez will likely forever remain on the outside looking in.

The results of the election will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.