Author: Craig Calcaterra

Washington Nationals Celebrate

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Latest Standings

Latest Wild Card Standings

Nationals 3, Braves 0: The Nats clinch their second NL East title in three years and do so in convincing fashion. Tanner Roark tossed seven scoreless innings. Washington got to celebrate on the field and in the visitor’s clubhouse of the team that, theoretically, stood as their biggest challenge this year. It was fun for a bit in the first half, but the  Braves proved to be little if any challenge to the Nationals. Now they set their sights on maintaining the best overall record in the National League and enjoying some home cooking for the playoffs.

Orioles 8, Blue Jays 2: Meanwhile, up the road, the Orioles were clinching as well. It was a bit longer of a time coming for Baltimore, who nabbed their first AL East crown since 1997. As for the game: it was their ninth win in their last 10. Steve Pearce set the tone with a three-run homer in the first. Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run triple. If you live out west or never watch a team other than your team, and if your idea of the Orioles is based on what you read about them in the season previews last March, well, you have a lot of studying to do before they playoffs start.

White Sox 7, Royals 5Twins 4, Tigers 3: Nothing is changed in the Central as both contenders lose. For the Royals, it was an uncharacteristically awful night for bullpen aces Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis, who have been damn nigh unhittable all year but were beat around by the Sox. For the Tigers, it was an all-too-characteristic bad night for Joe Nathan, who allowed two runs to lose a game that the Tigers had come back to lead in the ninth. Starters Ricky Nolasco and Rick Porcello probably went out for a beer afterwards and complained about bullpens until the bartender told them to move it along because they don’t serve their kind. Meaning, of course, Ricks.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: Oakland couldn’t create any separation between their wild card pursuers, remaining one up on Kansas City and two up on Seattle. Scott Kazmir’s second half swoon continued, allowing six runs — four earned — and not escaping the fifth inning. Bad Oakland D was on display here. This team will probably make it into the playoffs, and if they do they’ll probably be dangerous, but man this has been a long, limping second half.

Mariners 13, Angels 2: Seattle takes advantage, pulling to within one game. The offense woke up with a six-run sixth inning. In the M’s previous eight games they scored 14 runs. Here, 13. It was an instance where Mike Scioscia’s “give Cory Rasmus a couple of innings and then turn it over to a bullpen committee” approach didn’t work. It’s been a good approach and has helped lessen the sting of losing Garret Richards, but doing that enough times will, occasionally, lead to a game like this. Too many moving parts or whatever.

Pirates 4, Red Sox 0: Charlie Morton returned after coming off the disabled list and he pitched well: five scoreless innings with six strikeouts. The Pirates have won 9 of 11 and maintain their one and a half game lead over the Brewers for the second wild card.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: Milwaukee stays alive, as Gomez, Hector knocks in Gomez, Carlos with an RBI single in the 12th. The single was preceded by Carlos Gomez stealing both second base and third base off of Yadier Molina following a walk. Actually, Gomez said afterward that he wasn’t running on Molina, he was running on pitcher Kevin Siegrist, as one times everything off the pitcher. Which is a good point. Still: that’s some pretty major base running. The Brewers stay a game and a half behind the Pirates.

Rockies 10, Dodgers 4: The Rockies ended a seven-game losing streak. Corey Dickerson homered, tripled and drove in four runs. The Dodgers got 16 hits but left way, way too many on.

Giants 2, Diamondbacks 1: Peavy and Posey come through again, as they have so many times in the second half. Peavy allowed one run in seven and two-thirds. Posey had two hits, including a fourth inning solo shot. San Francisco pulls to three back of L.A.

Rays 6, Yankees 1: Derek Jeter got gifts. He also got plunked. Joe Girardi got ejected after that and then Yankees pitcher David Phelps was ejected for throwing inside later. Dugouts emptied but no one here had the ill-will nor the motivation to make this into an actual donnybrook. It’s late in a lost season for everyone. Jake Odorizzi allowed one run and five hits over six innings.

Mets 9, Marlins 1: Two homers and six driven in for Wilmer Flores. Bartolo Colon somehow only allowed one run despite giving up 12 hits in seven and two thirds. That stretches the applicability of the word “scattered.” The judges have said they’d allow it, though. But that we shouldn’t push it.

Cubs 7, Reds 0: Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the eighth, allowed only the one hit to Brandon Phillips and struck out 13. The Cubs rocked Johnny Cueto.

Indians 4, Astros 2: Corey Kluber allowed more hits, but he struck out 14 in seven innings of work as the Indians stop their losing streak at four. Yan Gomes hit a two-run homer.

Padres 5, Phillies 4: Alexi Amarista had three hits, including a two-run homer. A.J. Burnett suffered his league-leading 17th loss.

Masahiro Tanaka to pitch on Sunday

Masahiro Tanaka

Joe Girardi told reporters that Masahiro Tanaka is tentatively scheduled to pitch on Sunday in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. If he does so, it will be his first start since July 8.

It’s a “let’s see what ya got” start, presumably. If he’s effective and feels good afterward, the Yankees can shut him down and feel at least reasonably confident that they can count on him for 2015. If not, well, there’s a good chance he goes under the knife and misses all of 2015. Which, if they had just done that back in July, he still would’ve missed almost all of the season anyway. So there was some value in waiting here.

Bud Selig likes what he sees when he sees the Mets

Selig 4

Bud Selig is continuing his farewell tour through Major League Baseball today and he finds himself at Citi Field. He just gave a press conference. Some of his comments were interesting. From Adam Rubin, Eric Fisher and a number of reporters who live-tweeted the presser:

Regarding the Mets financial woes, which continue to have a team in the league’s largest market spending as if it were in Des Moines, he said “I don’t have any problem with the Mets’ financing,” and “Do I have any problem with the Mets’ finances? None.” When asked about the NFL’s problems he was wise to back off and not comment on other leagues, saying only that Major League Baseball is a “social institution.” A socially responsible one? Well, don’t get crazy. When he was asked about the Leigh Castergine lawsuit, he called it mere “employment litigation” and that he’d let it play itself out.

That last one was interesting. He was asked why he could so quickly suspend Jonathan Papelbon, for example, but not do anything regarding the Wilpon lawsuit. He cited the Collective Bargaining Agreement, as if that makes it easier to investigate and punish the acts of players than it is to do so with executives. Which is strange given that executives in Major League Baseball have NO union protection and are totally under the authority of the league. In other words, if they wanted to do something regarding the conduct alleged in the Wilpon lawsuit — like, say, investigate it independently — they could.  They just don’t wanna.

I understand that Bud Selig is like a kid in seventh period study hall right now. He’s done in January and it’s not like he’s going to start any new project, especially a hard one. But I do wish he’d be less transparent about that and maybe allow the people who work for him to do the hard work that can and should be done.


The Blue Jays will make a qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera

Jon Heyman reports that the Blue Jays plan to make a qualifying offer to impending free agent Melky Cabrera.

This year a qualifying offer is expected to be between $15 and $16 million. Cabrera is probably worth that, having hit .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI before his season-ending surgery.

Of course, there will be some people who will argue that anything he gets above minimum wage — like actual, federally-mandated minimum wage, not the veteran minimum — will represent the triumph of fraudulence or what have you. Indeed, I imagine Buster Olney’s column on the matter will be quite epic in this regard.

Marcus Stroman not expected to be disciplined for throwing at Caleb Joseph’s head

Marcus Stroman

This morning we pointed out Marcus Stroman throwing at Caleb Joseph’s head for no good reason at all. It seemed pretty egregious. Apparently Major League Baseball didn’t agree:

To sum up this week so far: grab your crotch: seven games. Risk seriously injuring an opposing player by whipping a ball at his head at 90 miles per hour: we’re all good.

For crying out loud, the guy who unintentionally hit Giancarlo Stanton the other day was fined for some of his subsequent actions, none of which amounted to throwing a ball at a guy’s head like this.

This is really, really weak MLB. Between this and the zero discipline for Randall Delgado and Kirk Gibson for throwing at Andrew McCutchen last month, you’re basically telling pitchers that it’s cool to declare open season on whoever momentarily irks them, no matter how unreasonable the irking happens to be.

Throwing at a guy’s head on purpose should result in an automatic suspension. Full stop. But, apparently, Major League Baseball feels differently.