Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rangers 5, Orioles 3: The Rangers avoid the sweep thanks to their new additions. Jonathan Lucroy hit his first homer with Texas and Carlos Beltran had two hits and an RBI. When I first wrote that first sentence I accidentally typed “new editions.” That’s a totally different thing. A totally different and super cool thing.

Indians 9, Twins 2: The Twins have given the Indians a lot of trouble this year but Cleveland figured them out at least for one afternoon. The longball helped as Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Joe Ramirez all went deep. Hector Santiago made his first start with the Twins, giving up four runs on five hits in five innings and a couple of those bombs.

Rays 3, Royals 2: The Rays were down two in the bottom of the eighth when Brad Miller came up and smacked a three-run homer. The Rays only had four hits in the game. Three of them came in that eighth inning.

Reds 7, Cardinals 0: I talked up Joey Votto and his hitting streak yesterday so of course he comes out and drops an 0-for-4. He probably didn’t mind too much, though, as his teammates certainly came through. Particularly catcher Ramon Cabrera, who singled in three runs and starter Brandon Finnegan who tossed six scoreless. The Reds are 12-6 since the All-Star break.

Giants 3, Phillies 2: These two went to extras for the second day in a row. This time the Giants prevailed thanks to Denard Span‘s leadoff homer in the 10th inning. Matt Moore made his Giants debut after coming over from Tampa Bay. He allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, which ain’t bad! He also walked six , which ain’t good!

White Sox 6, Tigers 3: Jordan Zimmermann came back and got shelled for six runs in less than two innings then got sent for an MRI. No word if he stepped on a rake in the front yard and dropped his cell phone in the toilet, but that would’ve been in keeping with his day. The Tigers’ eight-game winning streak came to an end. Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia homered for Chicago.

Athletics 8, Angels 6: Yonder Alonso hit an RBI double in the 10th inning to but Oakland over and help them end their five-game losing streak. It also made up for the fact that Alonso’s error in the eighth inning is what allowed the Angels to tie it in the first place.

Mets 4, Yankees 1: The Bruce is loose! Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer while Bartolo Colon allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. That homer broke an 0-for-10 start in New York for Bruce. If that had kept up I’m sure the press coverage would’ve been super understandable and compassionate.

Braves 5, Pirates 2: Ryan Vogelsong allowed only one run in six innings and left with the game tied 1-1, likely feeling pretty good about how his first start in two months went. Then the Pirates fell apart, allowing two runs in each the seventh and eighth innings. The Pirates have lost five of six. They’re three back in the Wild Card but five teams are ahead of them. What a disappointing season it’s been for them.

Blue Jays 4, Astros 1: This is one of those dog days series that seem like it has gone on for 10 games. Really, can’t remember the last time I didn’t do a recap with these two facing each other. Maybe they only play one another, 162 games a year, and we’ve all been tricked into thinking it’s normal. I don’t know. The Jays took three of four from the Astros according to the official version Major League Baseball wants you to believe, but it feels more like 30 of 40 or something.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 2: Kenta Maeda allowed two runs over five and two-thirds innings and Corey Seager hit his 19th homer. That ties a record for homers by a Dodgers shortstop. It’s not like it’s some venerable record by an all-time great or anything, though. It was Hanley Ramirez in 2013. Imagine him playing shortstop now. Dodgers salvage the series.

Red Sox 3, Mariners 2: Brock Holt with an 11th inning RBI single. Travis Shaw hit a solo homer. The Sox’ bullpen pitched five scoreless innings

Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gets shelled and is now set to have an MRI


The Tigers just got Jordan Zimmermann back after a more than month-long absence due to a neck strain. Today he made his first start since June 30. He lasted an inning and two-thirds and have up six runs on six hits — two homers — and didn’t strike anyone out while walking two. Not good.

But it wasn’t just rust. Manager Brad Ausmus just said that Zimmermann had an issue with his right lat muscle and couldn’t extend, leading to lower velocity and utter hittability. He’s having an MRI and the Tigers will soon know if they have to say goodbye to their pitcher once again.

The Tigers lost today, 6-3, ending their eight-game winning streak. But being without Zimmermann for an extended period once again may be the bigger loss.

Brian Cashman says there are no plans to release A-Rod

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Brian Cashman said yesterday that there are “no plans” to release Alex Rodriguez. In a somewhat tortured but also oddly honest set of comments to ESPN Radio he talked about how you simply don’t let a guy go who is owed that much money, especially given that he was still useful a year ago:

“First and foremost, you just have to flat-out admit, it is not easy to eat — meaning release — that kind of money . . . It’s not something you come to a quick decision on. You see players — and I don’t want to name them because they are still playing — but there are players around the game who are on big contracts that have been well-below-average players now for many years, not just a year. Alex hit 33 home runs, I believe, last year. This is a bigger media market and more attention, and there is certainly a tempest about what should be done. All I can tell you is, slow down a little bit and here is the counterarguments: There is a very large financial commitment through next year on a player of Alex’s caliber that was productive as early last year.”

There’s a lot to unpack in that, particularly the “flat-out admit” line that he corrected on the fly and the stuff about the media market which suggests that the front office doesn’t much feel like dealing with the stream of stories and questions that would accompany a release of A-Rod, at least in-season.

As for the “he was effective last year” stuff? Eh, yes, he was. He’s not now, though, and it seems more likely that his good 2015 — which was really just a good one half to two-thirds of a season — was a function of him being fresh and in better shape than he had been in in a long time, thanks in part to so much time off. I suppose it’s possible that Rodriguez puts together a couple of hot weeks because he still knows what he’s doing out there, but I wouldn’t really bet much on it either.

Ultimately, how the Yankees use or don’t use him is the most telling thing. To that end, the Yankees are facing Bartlo Colon and the Mets tonight. Alex Rodriguez has absolutely owned Colon in his career, batting .411/.429/1.000 with eight homers off of him. It’s only 63 plate appearances, most long ago, and using individual batter/pitcher matchups to make strategic decisions is dicey business anyway. But, in practice, managers still use such matchups to fill out their lineups all the time, Joe Girardi included.

Rodriguez is sitting against Colon tonight. If he doesn’t play in this game, what game does he play in?