Matthew Pouliot

Josh Harrison, Jackie Bradley

Red Sox pull off a true rarity: 16 runs, no extra-base hits

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In regular-season action since 1916, just one major league team had matched the feat the Red Sox accomplished today.

Aided by a whopping 15 bases on balls, the Red Sox routed the Pirates 16-6 on Thursday without ever collecting an extra-base hit. The amassed 14 hits, all of them singles. Top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-5. and Brock Holt and Juan Carlos Linares both delivered two hits. The walks were more plentiful; utilityman Drew Sutton drew four, while David Ross and Lule Overbay collected two apiece.

The only major league team known to have done the same was the Royals on Aug. 6, 1979. They beat the Blue Jays 16-12 on 17 singles and seven walks. Pete LaCock had four hits in that one, while George Brett had two hits and four RBI. Rookie Dave Stieb was the loser for the Jays, giving up six runs in six innings.

After the Royals, the last team to score at least 11 runs in a game with no extra-base hits was the 1993 Tigers. They beat the Blue Jays 12-1 on 15 singles and six walks on June 12. Four teams since 2000 have scored 10 runs without an extra-base hit, the last being the Phillies. They beat the Cardinals 10-2 on 11 singles, nine walks and two HBPs on June 21, 2011.

Mariners-Indians game halted by false alarm

Goodyear Ballpark
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Wednesday’s exhibition game between the Mariners and Indians was brought to a sudden stop in the eighth inning after an alarm went off at Goodyear Ballpark.

As the loud beeping continued, fans eventually started to evacuate, only to return to their seats after the scoreboard proclaimed that it was a “False Alarm.”

The players remained on the field throughout the incident, so play was able to resume about five minutes later. The Mariners were up 5-0 at the time and went on to win the game 5-1. Outfielder Carlos Peguero homered twice for Seattle. Top prospect Danny Hultzen started and struck out four in two scoreless innings.

Joba Chamberlain’s chance to start will come next year

Joba Chamberlain
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Chances are that Joba Chamberlain is entering his final season with the Yankees. While he’s spent the majority of the last two seasons on the disabled list, he’s continued to amass service time and he’ll be eligible for free agency next winter at the tender age of 28.

The news yesterday that Chamberlain still thinks of himself as a rotation candidate makes it even less likely that he’ll remain in pinstripes. The Yankees obviously don’t see him in that role and haven’t for years. For what it’s worth, Chamberlain was far from bad as a starter early in his career, going 12-7 with a 4.18 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 221 2/3 innings over 43 starts. He did struggle to work deep into games, but he was effective more often than not.

Of course, that was before Chamberlain hurt his shoulder. He’s no longer the talent that he was when he entered the league as a brash 21-year-old reliever in 2007. He has been effective while healthy, though, posting a 3.47 ERA and a 46/13 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings the last two years.

Chamberlain is set to be a sixth- or seventh-inning guy for the Yankees in front of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera this year. Perhaps the one thing that would keep him in New York is a stellar setup campaign that would establish him as the heir to Rivera’s job. That might cause the Yankees to ante up and keep him around. If, on the other hand, he matches my guardedly optimistic projection — a 3.30-3.50 ERA in about 60 innings — he figures to be too expensive to re-sign for a non-premium role. And if he ends up struggling, well, then he may be long gone before even hitting free agency.

Regardless, Chamberlain will, for the first time, control his own destiny next winter. If he decides he wants to start, it could well cost him some money, but he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a team willing to give him a shot. For all of his injuries, Chamberlain still throws in the mid-90s as a reliever. He possesses two breaking balls, and he expressed an interest in throwing his changeup more. His ability to hold up as a starter would be in question, but the stuff is there to make him a decent one.

Top prospect Zack Wheeler sidelined by oblique strain

Zack Wheeler
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The Mets scratched right-hander Zack Wheeler from his scheduled outing Wednesday because of a strained oblique suffered while hitting in the cage.

Wheeler didn’t believe the injury was serious, saying he hopes to make his next start. The Mets, though, figure to be extra cautious with the 22-year-old, who rates among the game’s top five pitching prospects. Wheeler is already locked in to starting the season in Triple-A, so there’s no reason to take any chances and have him risk a setback.

Wheeler was due to make his first spring start today after throwing two scoreless innings out of the pen Saturday against the Nationals. He was a bit wild in that one, but he topped out at 97 mph.  Had he pitched against the Cardinals today, Wheeler would have had a chance to face Carlos Beltran, the star the Mets gave up to acquire Wheeler from the Giants in 2011.

New York’s wannabe cannibal cop was Mike Baxter’s high school teammate

Mike Baxter
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Mike Baxter and Gilberto Valle combined to man the left side of New York City high school Archbishop Molloy’s infield in 2002. One went on to play outfield for the New York Mets. The other has been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping after online chats indicated his desire to cook and eat women.

The connection between the two was first revealed a few months back, but Baxter got asked about it today and issued a no comment.

NYMag.com points out that the 2002 squad featuring Baxter at shortstop and Valle at third won the NYC title and was ranked No. 3 in the East region by USA TODAY.

Valle, a six-year member of the NYPD, is on trial in New York. An FBI agent testified Tuesday on Valle’s reported plans, which included roasting a girl’s arm on a barbecue and “longing for the day i cram a chloroform soaked rag in her face.”