Eduardo Rodriguez

Getty Images

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

13 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, Giants 3: The streak is over. Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs — one earned — and pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth to get the win and stop the bleeding. Kenley Jansen got a four-out save but it was shaky, with him giving up three straight singles with one out in the ninth to face a bases-loaded jam of his own, though he struck his way out of it. Chase Utley homered and Yasiel Puig doubled in two to give the Dodgers their winning margin. The win ensured the Dodgers of at least a playoff spot in the National League.

Indians 2, Tigers 0: Wrote this up here, but it was pretty simple: Corey Kluber was dominant, tossing a complete game shutout and Francisco Lindor continued his hot hitting with a solo homer. The win ties the AL record winning streak of 20, held by the 2002 Athletics. This afternoon the Tribe seeks to break that and tie the all-time record winning streak held by the 1935 Cubs.

Royals 4, White Sox 3: Brandon Moss hit a grand slam in the first inning and the Royals held on for the rest of the game. It was the third straight game with a homer for Moss. He has nine RBI in those three games.

Braves 8, Nationals 0: The Nationals ran out a fairly legit lineup for a team that popped champagne corks the day before, but they got creamed anyway. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Ozzie Albies hit a solo shot. Julio Teheran scattered seven hits over seven shutout innings. The only bright spot for the Nationals — aside from knowing that they have already won the division — was Gio Gonzalez clinching his 2018 option by notching his 180th inning pitched.

Phillies 9, Marlins 8: This was a wild one. The Phillies at first thought they had a walkoff win in the ninth — they made a mess on the field, throwing buckets of chewing gum, Gatorade and sunflower seeds and stuff all over Hyun-Soo Kim, who got the hit —  but a replay review showed that Cesar Hernandez was out at home, negating that run and forcing them to play on. In extras, Rhys Hoskins hit his second homer of the game to tie it back up after the Marlins had taken a lead in the top of the 10th. Then, in the bottom of the 15th Nick Williams walked if off — legitimately this time — with an RBI double. Williams had three hits and reached base five times in the game. The Marlins blew an five run lead they held as late as the sixth inning. Whew.

Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2: Baltimore took a 2-1 lead into the ninth but the Jays rallied off of O’s closer Zach Britton with a walk and a few singles, capped by Richard Urena’s walkoff single. That was the sixth straight loss for Baltimore, and while they all hurt, that one had to hurt more.

Red Sox 11, Athletics 1: Mookie Betts put on a show, smacking two homers on a 3-for-5, six-RBI night. That was more than enough for Eduardo Rodriguez and three Boston relievers. If Betts starts hitting like he did in 2016 and keeps it up in October, the Red Sox will be a completely different team than they’ve been of late.

Rays 2, Yankees 1: Sonny Gray allowed only two runs on five hits in eight innings but Blake Snell and his friends in the pen allowed only one run all game. The Rays runs came on solo shots from Kevin Kiermaier and Adeiny Hechavarria. The Rays and Yankees drew over 21,000 fans, which isn’t bat for a neutral site game with only a couple of days notice.

Brewers 5, Pirates 2Eric Thames hit his 29th home run, Domingo Santana went 3-for-4 with two RBI and the Brewers kept pace with the Cubs and Cards, each of which also won. Not bad considering starter Brent Suter lasted only three innings. The pen did the job, though, with  Jeremy JeffressOliver DrakeJared HughesAnthony Swarzak and Josh Hader each tossing a scoreless inning and Corey Knebel tossing one of his own to notch the save.

Mariners 10, Rangers 3: Kyle Seager and Ben Gamel both hit three-run homers. Marco Gonzales struck out six while allowing three runs over five innings. The Rangers dropped three games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second Wild Card. The Mariners remained three and a half back.

Cubs 8, Mets 3: Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer in the Cubs’ four-run fourth and Jose Quintana allowed two runs over seven, striking out seven. Quintana knocked in a run himself with a safety squeeze.

Twins 16, Padres 0: This one got out of hand early with the Twins taking a 9-0 lead after three innings and never looking back. Minnesota was homer happy too, hitting a dinger in each of the first seven innings. Jason Castro homered twice. Brian DozierJorge PolancoEddie RosarioEduardo Escobar and Kennys Vargas also went deep.

Cardinals 13, Reds 4: The Cardinals have won four straight and six of their last seven as they keep pace with the Cubs, two back in the Central. Paul DeJong homered. It was his 22nd on the year, setting a new mark for Cardinals shortstops. Yadier Molina drove in three. St. Louis farting around all year and then, in the last month, putting together a run that could put them in the playoffs is about the most Cardinals thing ever.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2: Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers and drove in all four of the Rockies’ runs and Jon Gray was solid, striking out ten and not waking a batter in seven innings. Colorado wins its sixth straight. They’re three back of the Dbacks for the top Wild Card and home field advantage for their presumed one game playoff.

Astros 1, Angels 0: This is why the Astros got Justin Verlander. Their newest addition allowed only one hit and struck out nine over eight shutout innings and that made it possible for a Yuli Gurriel RBI single in the second inning to hold up.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
4 Comments

Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Nationals 4, Cubs 2: The Nationals have to be pretty pleased with their trade deadline acquisitions after Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle helped secure a win over the Cubs on Friday. The club’s new relievers combined for 2 2/3 scoreless frames, quashing the Cubs’ seventh-inning rally and preserving a narrow lead to give the Nats a 13-game advantage in the NL East.

Reds 3, Cardinals 2: Down 1-0 in the third inning, Greg Garcia skied a 3-2 heater from Asher Wojciechowski to deep right field that ricocheted off the top of the wall and back into the outfield. Garcia hustled to third base, prompting a crew chief review to determine whether a) the ball had been affected by a fan beyond the perimeter of the field for a home run, or b) the ball only touched the top of the fence, upholding Garcia’s triple.

In the end, the details didn’t matter too much. Mike Leake plated Garcia on an RBI single for the Cardinals’ first run of the day, and Joey Votto‘s fifth-inning RBI single gave the Reds the one-run lead they needed to clinch their 45th win of the year.

Tigers 5, Orioles 2: Justin Verlander cleared revocable waivers on Friday, and while it might take a while to find a suitor for the remaining $60 million owed on his seven-year contract, his decisive win against the Orioles only boosted his trade value. The righty shut down the Orioles on seven innings of 10-strikeout, two-run ball, setting down his seventh win of the year while the Tigers exploded in the eighth inning to give their ace a three-run cushion.

Pirates 10, Padres 6: A two-hour, five-minute rain delay did little to dampen the Pirates’ spirits — or their bats. In the seventh inning, down 6-4, Andrew McCutchen laced a single off of Kirby Yates, followed by a David Freese double and Gregory Polanco‘s pinch-hit, three-RBI home run:

The go-ahead homer was supplemented by another three runs, putting the Bucs ahead 10-6 by the end of the seventh and giving their bullpen enough of a cushion to coast to a win in the wee hours of the morning. Following the game, Polanco dedicated his first career pinch-hit blast to his nephew Ismael:

Dodgers 6, Mets 0: It’s been just five days since Yu Darvish donned a Dodgers jersey, and he’s already breaking records and dazzling National League competition. He posted seven shutout innings in his Dodgers’ debut on Friday, becoming the first L.A. pitcher to debut with 10 strikeouts since Kazuhisa Ishii whiffed 10 batters back in 2002. The win, Darvish’s seventh of the season, snapped a worrying streak of eight winless starts for the right-hander, including a messy 10-run affair against the Marlins last week.

Brewers 2, Rays 0: Nothing was going to spoil Brandon Woodruff’s pristine Major League debut: not a bases-loaded threat in the first inning, not a bases-loaded threat in the second inning, not Travis Shaw‘s defensive miscues, not even Jose Alvarado’s immaculate inning. The rookie right-hander worked in and out of trouble during Friday’s series opener, scattering seven hits, two walks and six strikeouts over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

Indians 7, Yankees 2: Two pivotal plays at the plate helped determine the outcome of Friday’s game: one, a second-inning snafu that cost the Yankees a run on Gary Sanchez‘s 12th passed ball of the season, the other, a run-saving gem from Giovanny Urshela that caught Ronald Torreyes at the plate.

Sanchez wasn’t the only culprit in the Yankees’ fourth straight loss — a wild pitch from Chad Green also handed the Indians a run, and the Yankees’ offense couldn’t find a toehold against Trevor Bauer — but he incurred some strong words from manager Joe Girardi following the game.

“He needs to improve. Bottom line. He needs to improve,” the skipper told reporters. “He’s late getting down. That’s what I see sometimes. It’s something we’ve been working on. We need to continue to work on it.”

Red Sox 3, White Sox 2 (11 innings): The Red Sox delivered John Farrell’s 400th career win in epic fashion on Friday night:

It was the team’s 10th win in extras this season and their third straight win of any variety this month. Eduardo Rodriguez was matched pace-for-pace by Carlos Rodon, who fired 11 strikeouts in a losing effort, but found the edge he needed with Mitch Moreland‘s timely blast in the 11th.

Braves 5, Marlins 3: Are you tired of home runs? League-leading, record-breaking blasts? Giancarlo Stanton bombs? No?

Stanton’s mammoth 477-footer stands as the longest home run in SunTrust Park history — a history that only dates back through Opening Day 2017, but still a fun record for competitors to clear in the months to come.

Twins 8, Rangers 4: Bartolo Colon set a number of cool records with his first complete game win for the Twins, becoming the oldest pitcher since 2010 to record the feat. After allowing a ninth-inning solo shot to Carlos Gomez, however, he also set one not-quite-so-cool record:

Astros 16, Blue Jays 7: It’s been a minute since the Astros showed their American League competitors what they’re really capable of. On Friday, they executed their fifth win of the season with 16+ runs, clubbing five home runs and chasing Cesar Valdez out of the game with a nine-run spread in the fourth inning. While the win was the very definition of a group effort, first baseman Tyler White stood out, going 4-for-5 with his first two homers of the year and single-handedly driving in five runs.

Mariners 5, Royals 2: James Paxton is the real deal. The Mariners’ lefty dealt his seventh straight win, tying both Scott Bankhead (1989) and Jamie Moyer (2003) for a franchise-best streak as Seattle topped Kansas City. He issued two runs and seven strikeouts in his 12th win of the year, improving to a 2.70 ERA and positioning himself for a legitimate run at the ERA title.

Things weren’t so sweet for the Royals, whose loss was punctuated with a troublesome injury to Salvador Perez after the catcher appeared to hurt his right side on a strikeout in the sixth.

Rockies 4, Phillies 3: Kyle Freeland lobbed just 11 pitches before something felt off. The rookie southpaw made an early exit after sustaining a left groin strain as he crouched to avoid Jonathan Lucroy‘s pickoff throw to second base. It’s an untimely departure for Freeland, whose standout performance has bolstered the Rockies through their campaign for a wild card berth. While the club doesn’t know how long they’ll be without their rookie ERA leader, they were able to rebound against the Phillies on Friday, taking the one-run nail-biter with DJ LeMahieu‘s clutch RBI single in the eighth inning.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1: Now this is the kind of impression Anthony Banda wanted to make in the majors. The rookie left-hander got off to a rough start in his debut against the Nationals last month, but recovered to stun the Giants in his second start with six innings of one-run ball for his first big league win. The Giants, meanwhile, not only dropped their 69th game of the year, but lost first baseman Brandon Belt to the concussion DL after he was felled by Banda’s curveball in the sixth.

Angels 8, Athletics 6: There may be no hope of overtaking the Astros this late in the season, but the Angels kept their wild card hopes alive with another decisive win this weekend. The A’s did their part to support their rivals, supplementing the Angels’ eight-run drive with five walks and a pair of errors in the second inning. Their seventh run, an infield single off the bat of Yunel Escobar, also marked the third baseman’s 1,500th career hit:

Winners and losers of the trade deadline

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
45 Comments

Winners

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers gave up what seems like a lot for Yu Darvish – top prospects Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, and Brendon Davis – but the club is clearly primed for a run at the World Series and adding Darvish only helps those chances. You may fight for a World Series in 2022, but a lot can happen between now and then.

Additionally, Calhoun doesn’t have the glove to stick at second, making him a future corner outfielder or DH. The Dodgers’ outfield is spoken for and moving to the American League as a DH may be the best thing for Calhoun’s future. Alexy and Davis are still many years away from the majors such that the Dodgers shouldn’t be banking on them in any significant way.

Darvish, meanwhile, is a time-tested starter and although he’s just a year and a half separated from recovering from Tommy John surgery, he’s shown he is still a fearsome right-hander. He has a 4.01 ERA this year, which seems mediocre, but ERA retrodictor like FanGraphs’ FIP and xFIP and Baseball Prospectus’ DRA all see him as having pitched better than his results indicate. Furthermore, the Dodgers’ rotation is currently missing ace Clayton Kershaw, Brandon McCarthy, and Scott Kazmir. Rich Hill dealt with blisters all of last year and Hyun-Jin Ryu is not a picture of perfect health. Adding a No 1.5, so to speak, in Darvish not only adds production, but stability.

But that’s not all the Dodgers did. The Dodgers also snagged lefties Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani from the Pirates and Reds, respectively. While the Dodgers’ bullpen was already strong – its 2.83 aggregate ERA is second-best in baseball – adding two lefties to the roster never hurts. Watson has held left-handed batters to a .569 OPS over his career, Cingrani .712. Teams have clearly seen the success other teams had had, like last year’s Indians and Cubs, playing match-ups with the bullpen. The Dodgers are looking to emulate that strategy in the post-season this October.

New York Yankees

The Yankees acquired third baseman Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox two weeks ago. They added Jaime Garcia from the Twins on Sunday. And ahead of Monday’s deadline, they acquired Sonny Gray from the Athletics. In the White Sox trade, the Yankees gave up No. 3 prospect Blake Rutherford and No. 19 prospect Ian Clarkin along with Tyler Clippard. The Yankees sent Zack Littell (now the Twins’ No. 16 prospect) and Dietrich Enns. For Gray, the Yankees surrendered Dustin Fowler (now the Athletics’ No. 3 prospect), Jorge Mateo (No. 5), and James Kaprelian (No. 11).

Like the Dodgers, it seems like a lot. Due to all of the relatively recent baseball media covering prospects, teams and fans alike had begun to covet potential stars a little too highly. Now, we’ve seemed to reach an equilibrium. Teams aren’t hoarding prospects as much as they used to just a few years ago and are now willing to make a sacrifice in an attempt to win now. It’s a healthymidpoint between mortgaging the future and steadfastly refusing to compete. The Yankees stand at 56-47, just a half-game ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. They’re only 3.5 up on the Rays. If the Yankees were to slip in the AL East, they’d have to compete with the Royals, Rays, Mariners, Orioles, Twins, Angels, and Rangers who are all within five games of the AL Wild Card.

Frazier provided an immediate upgrade at third base, bringing his above-average bat to the hot corner, replacing Chase Headley’s .715 OPS and the meager .448 Ronald Torreyes put up in 51 plate appearances. Robertson, of course, is familiar to the Yankees, having pitched there from 2008-14. He put up solid but unimpressive numbers over two and a half seasons with the White Sox, but is still a quality right-handed reliever who can handle high-leverage situations and record a couple of strikeouts when necessary. Kahnle has been one of baseball’s hidden gems, carrying a 2.18 ERA with a nice 69/7 K/BB ratio in 41 1/3 innings. The only qualified reliever with a higher strikeout rate than Kahnle is Craig Kimbrel. Add Kahnle and Robertson to a bullpen that already has Aroldis Chapman, Adam Warren, and Dellin Betances. The Yankees’ bullpen is not going to be fun to face in a post-season game.

Colorado Rockies

Dark horse winner here. Could’ve gone with the division rival Diamondbacks just as easily for adding J.D. Martinez. The Rockies are 60-46 but 14.5 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the NL West. They are clearly focused on the Wild Card, where they hold a 5.5-game lead over the Brewers for the second slot and are only a half-game back of the D’Backs for the first. The Rockies added Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers, upgrading their weakest position. While Lucroy was having the worst season of his career, hitting .242/.297/.338 in Texas, Rockies catchers weren’t any better as Tony Wolters musterd a .642 OPS in 67 games, Ryan Hanigan .673 in 24, Dustin Garneau .613 in 22, and Tom Murphy .236 in eight. At least Lucroy has a long track record of hitting and it’s reasonable to expect him to get out of his funk before the season is over.

The Rockies also acquired Pat Neshek from the Phillies. Neshek was the Phillies’ lone All-Star, compiling a 1.12 ERA with a 45/5 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings, emerging as one of few bright spots on the roster of baseball’s worst team. Moving to Coors Field from Citizens Bank Park is not nearly as bad as it would be moving from most other ballparks. Plus, Neshek is striking hitters out at a 30.5 percent clip while walking them 3.3 percent. His average of 9.4 strikeouts per walk is baseball’s fifth-best rate among qualified relievers. Missing bats and rarely putting base runners on for free are two great traits to have if you’re going to pitch at Coors Field.

Losers

San Diego Padres

The lowly Padres, 47-58, were expected to be among the more active sellers leading up to the deadline, but only managed one trade. They sent pitchers Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill to the Royals for Travis Wood, Matt Strahm, and Esteury Ruiz. Ruiz barely snuck onto the Padres’ top 30 prospects list. Strahm is out for the rest of the year with an injury, and Wood is a veteran swingman.

Most prominently, lefty reliever Brad Hand remained untraded. Hand was the Padres’ lone representative at the All-Star Game and took over the closer’s role when Maurer was traded. He compiled six saves with a 2.00 ERA and a 70/14 K/BB ratio in 54 innings. Not trading him by today’s 4 PM ET deadline means the club will either have to move him through waivers between now and August 31 or trade him in the offseason. While there were a handful of solid relievers that changed addresses within the last week, few threw from the left side with Hand’s rate of success.  He could’ve been this year’s Andrew Miller. Instead, he’ll close out meaningless games for the final two months of the season most likely.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox didn’t stand pat going into the deadline. The club acquired third baseman Eduardo Nunez from the Giants and reliever Addison Reed from the Mets. The addition of Nunez is solid insurance in case prospect Rafael Devers doesn’t live up to the hype. Nunez had a .752 OPS in San Francisco before the trade, helping upgrade Boston’s most problematic position. Reed put up a 2.57 ERA in 49 innings of relief with the Mets.

It would have really helped if the Red Sox were able to add a starting pitcher, though. Right now, the rotation is still fearsome as it features Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz. Sale has a 2.37 ERA and could be the AL Cy Young Award winner when all is said and done. Rick Porcello is still the defending Cy Young winner despite an unimpressive 4.55 ERA. Pomeranz has stayed healthy through 21 starts with a 3.46 ERA and Rodriguez has been solid with a 4.16 ERA. David Price will help when he’s healthy.

Pomeranz, though, is no perfect picture of health as he battled a forearm injury after the club acquired him from the Padres last summer. Price may not be reliable coming back from his elbow injury. Rodriguez has been solid but unspectacular through parts of three seasons. Adding a Darvish or Gray would’ve gone a long way towards helping the Red Sox keep pace with the Yankees in the AL East, but after the moves the Yankees made, they’re the clear favorites in the division for the final two months.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins are in a tough spot right now. Ownership is in flux as Jeffrey Loria is still in the process of selling the team. Trade rumors have swirled around most of its standout players, including Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler, and Dan Straily. The club only made two trades, however, sending David Phelps to the Mariners for a handful of minor leaguers, as well as A.J. Ramos to the Mets for two prospects. They got their No. 6 (Merandy Gonzalez), No. 8 (Bryan Hernandez), No. 20 (Brandon Miller), No. 23 (Pablo Lopez), and No. 24 (Ricardo Cespedes) prospects in the deals.

If the Marlins got those players from Phelps and Ramos, imagine what they could’ve gotten for the others. The Marlins already have $95 million committed to the roster for next season, $84 million in 2019 and $74 million in 2020. That means that new ownership will have significant financial obligations to account for when taking over from Loria. Trading those expensive veterans is not only best for them, taking them out of a confusing situation, but helps with the transition. Everyone is tired of the Marlins holding a fire sale, but in this case, it would have made a lot of sense.

Trading Stanton would’ve been the most difficult thing to do as he is signed through 2027 to a $325 million contract. But trading the others was very realistic, even if it meant taking less than perfect value in trades. Prado, Gordon, Straily, and Ziegler almost certainly won’t be part of the next great Marlins team, so keeping them around is a loss, but at least the club still has the next month to work out deals via waivers.