Taillon, 23, had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April last year and had been in the process of returning from that. He was supposed to pitch for the Pirates Gulf Coast League team on June 23, but complained of abdominal pain. Despite the surgery, Taillon entered the season rated as the 26th-best prospect in the game by Baseball Prospectus, as well as 29th by Baseball America and 31st by MLB.com. He was the Pirates’ first round pick (second overall) in the 2010 draft.
Taillon hasn’t pitched in professional baseball since October 2013, when he made one appearance in the Arizona Fall League. It is quite possible that Taillon won’t do so again until 2016.
The inguinal hernia is the same injury Pirates starter A.J. Burnett dealt with in 2014 while with the Phillies, which greatly limited his effectiveness. He chose to pitch through the injury rather than have surgery during the season.
Ah, it’s good to be back. If you’re curious about where I was, you can read what I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re not curious, well, let’s get right back into it, shall we?
Tigers 8, Indians 1: All Miguel Cabrera does is hit 450+ foot homers against the Indians. He did it on Friday and again here yesterday, this time tagging Corey Kluber. Also, if you ever visit Miguel Cabrera’s house, ask him to show you the bill of sale for when he acquired Kluber. For he certainly owns him: he’s 20-for-35 with five homers against him in his career.
Mets 10, Braves 8: The Braves were up five at one point, but the Mets just bashed the living hell out of them to come from behind. Four homers in all for New York, including Juan Lagares’ go ahead three-run homer in the sixth to cap the scoring in a game that looked like the American League circa 2000. Oh, and I should note that Dana Eveland pitched in this one for the Braves. He was acquired by them while I was gone, and I did not get to make mention of it. Long time readers will know of my fascination with Eveland and the fact that he has the EXACT name I would use if I was a pretty young starlet in 1940s Hollywood. And which I bet at some point some starlet did use, only she didn’t make it big because she wouldn’t sleep woth Howard Hughes or some such thing and got buried in RKO B-movies. Sure, she came back once in a “Murder, She Wrote” episode in the late 80s and John Waters stunt-casted her a couple of times, but it wasn’t much of a career, frankly.
Rockies 4, Marlins 1: I’ll always remember where I was when Jorge De La Rosa passed Aaron Cook for the all-time Rockies franchise win record. Specifically, I was . . . um. Wait. I did some laundry yesterday. And I met some friends for an early dinner. Hmm, not sure when this game ended so I can’t really be sure. OK, guess I won’t always remember where I was, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered in this one.
Dodgers 4, Padres 2: Adrian Gonzalez drove in three, including a two-run single in the top of the 12th to put the Dodgers over. I did not say “put them ahead,” because I wanted to use a wrestling term there in honor of the Late, Great Dusty Rhodes who died last week. I don’t follow wrestling now but I sure as hell followed it back in the mid-80s and Georgia/Mid-Atlantic was my circuit of choice. Rhodes owned that world, jack, telling us all about “Hard Times” and lamenting the time Baby Doll — that Jezebel! — spent $5,000 of his hard-earned dollars on assorted men and papaya juice. RIP, American Dream.
Rays 2, White Sox 1: Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Chris Sale in the seventh and that’s all the Rays would need. Which was unfortunate given how well Sale pitched otherwise, striking out 12 and allowing only two hits apart from that mistake to Cabrera. Sale was clearly tiring, however and finished that inning with 125 pitches on the day.
Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The Yankees kept pace and maintained their percentage points lead over Tampa Bay with a victory here. Free passes helped key the Yankees’ rally. Two Orioles pitchers managed four straight walks to force in a run and then John Ryan Murphy hit a two-run double.
Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 5: The last time I did an “And That Happened” was ages ago. June 3, to be exact. And that is the last time anyone around here was able to write about a Blue Jays’ loss, which last happened the evening before. Now it’s 11 straight for Toronto, and they stand only a game behind the Yankees and Rays. Some things are the same as before I went on my little trip: the Red Sox sucked then and they suck now. Ryan Goins homered, doubled and drove in five in this one.
Pirates 1, Phillies 0: Josh Harrison drove in Neil Walker with two outs in the bottom of the 11th for the win, but it was really A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels who owned the day. Burnett pitched nine, shutting out the Phillies in regulation on five hits. Hamels only went seven but he too shut out the opposition, striking out 12. It’s a shame neither of them figured in the decision and one of their team’s had to come out on the losing end.
Nationals 4, Brewers 0: Max Scherzer must’ve been feeling right yesterday: 1 hit, 16 strikeouts and the complete game shutout. All he’s done this year is post a 1.93 ERA with a 113/14 K/BB ratio over 93 1/3 innings. Yet he’s only 7-5 and the Nationals aren’t in first place, meaning that he really has not done his job, right?
Astros 13, Mariners 0: The Astros take two of three from Seattle. In the two wins they outscored the M’s 23-0. Not too bad. Here Lance McCullers had a no-hitter going through five but was nonethless pulled. That’s what happens when you’re a well-regarded kid and you’ve already tossed 90 pitches in those five innings. Four relievers came in after him and helped to combine for a two-hitter. Evan Gattis had four hits. Colby Rasmus and Hank Conger each drove in three. Houston: still in first place after Flag Day. Who’da thunk it?
Twins 4, Rangers 3: Byron Buxton made his big league debut. No hits and he struck out twice, but he scored the go-ahead and winning run from first base in the top of the ninth after reaching on a botched sac bunt in which the lead runner was thrown out.
Athletics 8, Angels 1: The A’s are double-digits behind the division leaders but Sonny Gray has done his job at least. He allowed only one unearned run in seven and two-thirds to lower his ERA to 1.60. Ben Zobrist — likely coming to a contender near you in the next month or so — went 3-for-5 and scored three times.
Diamondbacks 4, Giants 0: Good day for De La Rosas. Jorge set a team record and Rubby took a shutout into the ninth. He couldn’t seal the deal but he did get his first win in ages. Chris Heston, alas, did not pull a Johnny Vander Meer, allowing a hit in the second and being chased after five after giving up three runs.
Cubs 2, Reds 1: For the second game in a row Starlin Castro got a walkoff hit. This one in the 11th. Chicago took three of four. They’re seven games over .500. Six and a half back and in third place, mind you, but they’d be leading three other divisions and, given how strong the NL Central is, it’s totally possible three playoff teams come out of that division anyway.
Royals vs. Cardinals: POSTPONED: Another rainy day, we’re trapped inside with a train set
Chocolate on the boil, steamy windows when we met
You’ve got the attic window looking out on the cathedral
And on a Sunday evening bells ring out in the dusk
(sorry; I saw Belle and Sebastian in concert last night, so everything is nice and twee today)
And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights
Indians 5, Mariners 3: My lord, when Corey Kluber is on, he’s on. Kluber struck out 13 in seven innings. Over his last four starts, he’s 3-0 with 50 strikeouts and two walks in 32 innings. Which, whoa.
Athletics 5, Yankees 4: The A’s were down 3-0 but battled back, with Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie homering off of CC Sabathia and Ben Zobrist drawing a bases-loaded walk from David Carpenter in the seventh. The A’s have won 10 of 11 from the Yankees in Oakland. Sort of makes Yankees fans wish that the A’s were still the Yankees’ defacto farm team. Sadly, it’s not the 1950s anymore. Or maybe not so sadly. Man, the 1950s were terrible. Just truly awful by most measures. That we think otherwise is because of rock music, Fonzie and your parents and grandparents hating and resenting the hippies and pining for a simpler time. But my god, we had awful racism, extreme social and emotional repression and that’s before you even get to the constant paranoia brought on by the threat of nuclear annihilation. Makes the Yankees stealing guys like Clete Boyer, Bobby Shantz, Ralph Terry, Art Ditmar, Ryne Duren and Roger Maris look like child’s play.
White Sox 3, Orioles 2; Orioles 6, White Sox 3: Chris Sale dominated in the first game, as we discussed yesterday. The O’s win the second. With most split doubleheaders, there is a sense of whether it was worth it. After the second game Buck Showalter reminded everyone why the Sox and O’s were there yesterday. Specifically, the Baltimore riots a few weeks back:
“Let’s keep in mind why we’re playing these two games. It was self-inflicted,” Showalter said. “I think sometimes we lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing today.”
Anything equally deep to add, Robin Ventura?
“Supposed to be an off day for us. We played two games,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Now we’re all tired.”
Really makes you think.
Red Sox 5, Rangers 1: Welcome to the big leagues Eduardo Rodriguez. The just-called-up-yesterday Rodriguez tossed seven and two-thirds shutout innings allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out seven. He looked close to untouchable. Josh Hamilton made his return to Texas and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single.
Angels 12, Tigers 2: Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols and Matt Joyce all homered. Iannetta’s was a grand slam. Most of the damage came against Tigers starter Buck Farmer. Which is one hell of a name if nothing else. A guy could go places with a name like Buck Farmer.
Pirates 11, Padres 5: Seven in a row for Pittsburgh, as their offense continues to click. Jung Ho Kang, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco all went deep and Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Francisco Cervelli had three hits a piece. A.J. Burnett won his fifth in a row. The Pirates dug a hole for themselves early, but the Cardinals’ injuries and inevitable regression — is it inevitable? I dunno, but go with me here — could have the Buccos back in this thing soon.
Giants 7, Braves 0: A nice duel between Chris Heston and Shelby Miller, with Heston making no mistakes and Miller’s only mistake being a homer to Brandon Belt. Then the Braves’ bullpen came in and barfed up six runs with a quickness, giving everyone license to turn the TV off early. Brandon Cunniff and Donnie Veal were the arsonists here.
Pirates starters had a weekend of double-digit strikeout performances
With a fifth-inning strikeout of Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, Pirates starter Francisco Liriano became the third Pirates starter to reach double-digit strikeouts in their weekend series. As the club’s Twitter pointed out, it’s the first time since September 1969 that three consecutive Pirates starters struck out 10-plus. The Pirates won 9-1 on Sunday to finish off a series sweep.
Here’s how the starters fared over the weekend:
Gerrit Cole, Friday: 8.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 10 K
A.J. Burnett, Saturday: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
Francisco Liriano, Sunday: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
Total: 21.1 IP, 3 R (2 ER; 0.84 ERA), 3 BB, 32 K
With the sweep, the Pirates move to 21-22 and remain relevant in the NL Central. They’ll host the floundering Marlins for a three-game set starting Monday before heading out West on a road trip.
Braves 6, Marlins 0: Shelby Miller has a no-hitter broken up with one out to go. Sorry kid. Still, a 94-pitch shutout is nothin’ to sneeze at. It’s something that even has a cool name. And let the record reflect that Miller is 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA in seven starts while Jason Heyward is hitting .252/.310/.382. I’d rather have the Cardinals’ record than the Braves, but so far the Braves are winnin’ that trade.
Orioles 3, Angels 0: Mike Wright’s major league debut: seven and a third innings pitched, four hits no runs and his first big league strikeout came on a swing-and-miss by Mike freakin’ Trout. Not bad!
And since we mentioned a debut, let’s mention a finale. I won’t give anything too major away here in case people haven’t seen it, but I’m OK with how “Mad Men” ended. The big thing to remember: you don’t spend eight years pounding the twin ideas of cynicism and people’s powerlessness to change and then suddenly give your main character enlightenment or transcendence or something. If Don Draper had done anything other than what he did here it would’ve been a nice payoff for fans, yes, but it also wouldn’t have served the show’s central ethos very well. So, I liked it. If you require crazy twists, stunning personal journeys and catharsis, “Mad Men” really wasn’t your kind of show to begin with.
Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 0: Sean O’Sullivan was hit way harder by his own catcher than he was by any Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dbacks managed only five hits off of him. Catcher Cameron Rupp hit O’Sullivan in the throat when he tossed the ball back to him. He was shaken for a second but stayed in the game, delivering one more pitch to complete his six innings of work. The Phillies have won five in a row, you guys.
Royals 6, Yankees 0: The Royals were powered by a battery: Edinson Volquez tossed three-hit ball for seven innings and Salvador Perez homered and drove in two. The third 6-0 game of the day. The seventh shutout in fifteen games overall. Everyone was gettin’ away for getaway day, I guess.
Giants 9, Reds 8: The first half of the line score here is sort of messy, as the Giants had a five-run lead early and squandered all but one run of it in the third. Crooked numbers and disorganization. The last half of the line score is very satisfying for the sort of person who likes symmetry and order, as each team scored one run a piece in the fifth, seventh and eighth, leaving that one-run margin for San Francisco. Brandon Belt homered Nori Aoki drove in three.
Rays 11, Twins 3: The Rays rattled 19 hits off of Twins pitching to avoid the sweep. James Loney had four of those hits and three RBI. Chris Archer allowed only one run in six innings. Also: the way “Mad Men” ended TOTALLY keeps the idea of “Don invents ‘New Coke’ in 1985, ruining his career” speculation in play! McCann-Erickson did that campaign! Don pitched the Max Headroom “Catch the Wave!” commercial, everyone loved it and then it totally fizzled. Or, perhaps, Peggy did that while Don was off on some bender or another journey around the country. Don watches it fail, comes back and pitches “Coca-Cola Classic.” If I were AMC It’d throw a truckload of money at Matt Weiner to do that as a six-episode mini-series 10-15 years from now.
Astros 4, Blue Jays 2: Luis Valbuena and Colby Rasmus homered and Collin McHugh allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings and struck out nine. Mark Buehrle went the distance for Toronto and, though he lost, he served his second-best purpose and kept this game to a crisp two-hour, twenty-two minutes.
Rangers 5, Indians 1: Mitch Moreland had a two-run homer and hit another ball off the top of the wall. Carlos Carrasco pitched all eight innings the Rangers batted, making him the second dude on the day to do that after Buehrle. Going the distance in a loss is the new inefficiency.
White Sox 7, Athletics 3: The sweep. The first White Sox sweep in Oakland since 1997. Avisail Garcia hit a two-run homer. Jeff Samardzija allowed three runs over eight.
Mariners 5, Red Sox 0: James Paxton tossed eight shutout innings. Kyle Seager homered, drove in two and scored twice. Everyone has talked about how the Red Sox’ starting pitching stinks, and it has, but the offense is no great shakes either, ranking 11th in the American League in runs per game and 14th in slugging percentage. And yet they’re only three and a half back because the American League East is kind of a hot mess. But some hot messes are fun, so who cares?
Dodgers 1, Rockies 0: Mike Bolsinger and three relievers combined to three-hit the Rockies. Kyle Kendrick limited Colorado to a run and three hits over seven innings, but he walked five and one of those walks put a man in scoring position prior to the RBI single which proved to be the only run in the game.
Nationals 10, Padres 5: Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer, tripled and drove in four on his 3-for-4 day. On the year he leads the National League in games, plate appearances, runs, home runs, walks, slugging percentage and OPS. Clearly overrated.
Cardinals 2, Tigers 1: Ausmus. Matheny. The battle of the Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers concluded with King Handsome Ausmus’ squad taking two of three from Prince Handsome Matheny’s squad. Matheny prevailed here, however, as Kolten Wong hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth and Lance Lynn allowed only one run while pitching into the eighth and hit an RBI to [altogether now] help his own cause. This will not, however, alter the handsomeness standings as it was a non-title match. All bets are off if the Tigers and Cardinals meet in the World Series.