Tag: Brandon Moss

jon jay getty

Cardinals activate outfielder Jon Jay from the disabled list


St. Louis’ injury wrecked outfield is now a little healthier, as the Cardinals activated center fielder Jon Jay from the disabled list after he missed the past two months with a wrist injury.

Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk remain on the disabled list, but the Cardinals can now use Jay in center field flanked by Jason Heyward and Stephen Piscotty in the corners. Brandon Moss figures to see more of his time at first base.

Jay hit just .223 with one homer and a .576 OPS in 57 games before the injury, but from 2010-2014 he had a combined .295 batting average and .755 OPS in 678 games.

Matt Williams puts up another strong performance in his quest to get himself fired

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

It’s like watching a car crash. Wait, that’s not quite right. A car crash happens quickly and, in the moment, there’s a sense that you can’t do anything to stop it, so that’s not it.

This is more like watching someone slowly pedal a tricycle over a cliff. Only you notice them heading toward the edge 200 feet before they get there, you keep yelling at them to stop, at first panicked and then almost amused at just how determined they are to roll over the edge. But they don’t stop so instead of trying to stop them you just sit back and marvel at their suicidal determination. Hey, if they have no sense of urgency or regard for their own well-being, why in the hell should you?

I’m talking about Matt Williams and his performance behind the handlebars of the Radio Flyer that is the 2015 Washington Nationals. Last night he wheeled them and himself ever closer to the edge, wheels squeaking, horn honking and bell ringing. At this rate, we’ll soon see the little orange flag attached to the back flutter and then watch them disappear entirely.

The Nats carried a 5-3 lead into the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals last night. As Williams said after Monday’s late innings loss, the eighth inning belongs to Drew Storen. Except Storen didn’t have anything. He allowed the first two batters to reach, one via a plunking, and then allowed a run to score on his own throwing error. After an intentional walk he induced a double play which scored a run — fair enough tradeoff I suppose — and then got out of the inning. The game was tied 5-5.

In the ninth inning, Matt Williams had a choice. He could go to Jonathan Papelbon, one of the best closers in baseball history and the big piece for which Mike Rizzo traded at the deadline, or he could go with Casey Janssen, who imploded to give up four runs in Monday night’s debacle, throwing 26 pitches. Williams went with Janssen. Who, after getting two outs, gave up a double and a walk, likely due to the fatigue of throwing 45 high-leverage pitches in two nights to that point.

Why not go with Papelbon, either to start the inning or after it was clear that Janssen was tiring? Here’s Williams:

“We want him closing games out, yeah. So we’re down to two guys. We need a one inning guy there because we’re going to have to hit for the pitcher anyway and we’re going to have to go long with Sammy [Solis] in that regard.”

Which is to say that Jonathan Papelbon, as a closer, needs to pitch only with a lead and can never come in a game in the middle of an inning. Never mind that he’s your best relief pitcher and has hardly been used in the second half. Never mind that Janssen authored the previous night’s loss. Never mind that Williams already knew the Mets lost and that this game gave him a GOLDEN opportunity to make up some ground. And never mind that the Cardinals have scored 10 runs in the seventh through ninth innings over the past two nights, with Jonathan Papelbon not once getting into the game.

The book says you don’t use your closer in a tie game on the road, dammit. And that holds even if the alternative is letting a known arsonist into the fireworks shop and asking him to make sure the place is locked up before he leaves.

The result:


Credit to Brandon Moss and the Cardinals, of course. They’re the best team in the game this year and they’re gonna get theirs more often than they don’t. But they didn’t need to get this one. Or the one the night before. Those are games that even the good teams in the Cards’ position lose and even the bad teams in the Nats’ position win more often than not.

The Nats are not a bad team as we tend to think of bad teams. They just have a bad manager. A bad manager who will be looking for a job soon. As soon as early this afternoon if I or anyone with anything approaching a sense of urgency was running the Washington Nationals.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jake Arrieta

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0: The second no-hitter against the Dodgers in 10 days, this one courtesy of Jake Arrieta. The best part of this is that the final inning required him to strike out two past-their-prime former Phillies stars. No, wait, the best part of this was not having to listen to Curt Schilling weigh in on it as it was happening. Arrieta, for what it is worth, is now 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA on the year. The only two guys in the NL who have as good or better a shot at him for the Cy Young Award this year were watching this from the opposing team’s dugout. Our coverage of the no-no can be read here and here.

And yes, he’s wearing pajamas in this pic. Joe Maddon had one of his crazy-Joe Maddon getaway dressup days he’s famous for, which is why Arrieta had to give interviews about the biggest moment of his professional life while wearing longjohns with mustaches on them.

Blue Jays 9, Tigers 2: Four more homers for the Blue Jays including another one from the on-fire Edwin Encarnacion. That gives the Jays 184 homers on the year. That’s seven more than they had as a team all last year and it ain’t even September yet. Russell Martin after the game:

“If this isn’t the feel of a championship team, I don’t know what is. I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defense, we’re pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now.”

If the baseball was a 19th century melodrama, now would be the time someone would contract a case of dreaded consumption. Or maybe a dark figure would emerge from the Blue Jays’ collective past to bring shame upon them in the community, forcing them to retire to a dark room in their mansion as recluses.

Mets 5, Red Sox 4: The Mets avert a sweep. Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-3 with a walk and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh. Juan Uribe had a big hit too. If you knew nothing else about the Mets season and I told you a year ago that Uribe and Cuddyer would be big Mets offensive weapons in the second half of 2015 you’d probably assume they were 23 games out of first place or something, yet here they are.

Indians 9, Angels 2: Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam and Josh Tomlin was solid, leading the Indians to their fifth straight win. The Angels, meanwhile, have dropped three in a row, are at .500 and stand three and a half out of the second wild card position. On any other team people would be talking about Mike Scioscia being fired after the season, but I’d sooner expect Arte Moreno to force a Mike Trout trade than to see that happen.

Rays 3, Royals 2: The Rays salvage one against K.C. thanks in part to Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier homers. That was the first win by Tampa Bay over the Royals in the seven games they’ve played them this season.

Yankees 20, Braves 6: Well that was an ugly slaughter. You may think that this bothers me, but nah. I’m all-in on the Braves tanking the rest of year. They’re only two and a half games “behind” in the race for the number one pick next year. Yes, there are four teams “ahead” of them and it’s always hard to “climb” over that many teams in the season’s final month, but I have “confidence” in this “baseball team.”

Nationals 7, Marlins 4: Jayson Werth homered and drove in three and the Nats came back after being down by three to in by three. Three three three three.

Padres 9, Phillies 4: James Shields got the win. It was his first road win since May. Hey, I wouldn’t want to leave San Diego if I lived there either, so it’s hard to blame him. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yangervis Solarte all hit homers as the Padres avoid a season sweep by the Phillies. Which would’ve been a somewhat more dubious proposition than the Rays being swept for the season by the Royals.

Rockies 5, Pirates 0: Jorge De La Rosa tossed six shutout innings and struck out seven. The Rockies scored their runs on a double, a triple and a two-run throwing error by Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton. That’s a homer, a single and a bases-loaded walk short of the dubious outing cycle.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: The White Sox tied it in the ninth thanks in part to to a Brad Miller throwing error and than walked it off in the eleventh inning with a Tyler Saladino RBI single. David Robertson tossed two scoreless innings in relief and got the win. That’ll be the upper right hand story in the Closer Newsletter this week. Subscribers will be thrilled with that tale of transgression, adventure and the limits of human endurance.

Brewers 4, Reds 1: Wily Peralta pitched seven strong innings. Of course these days your aunt Tilly could pitch seven strong innings against the Reds. Do people have aunt Tillys anymore? Did they ever?

Twins 7, Astros 5: Ervin Santana struck out ten Astros in seven shutout innings and got the win even though his bullpen tried to sabotage him in the ninth, allowing a five-run Astros rally. Eduardo Nunez and Miguel Sano homered. Sano is hitting .287/.398/.591 on the year with 13 homers in only 49 games. That’s something like a 42 homer pace for a full season. Sano is 22-years-old.

Rangers 6, Orioles 0:Derek Holland is giving the Rangers exactly what they need as they push for the wild card. Here he struck out 11 in a three-hit complete game shutout. Baltimore is now closer to Boston and Detroit in the AL standings than they are to the second wild card.

Cardinals 7, Giants 5: Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter and Mark Reynolds all hit homers as the Giants drop two of three to the Cardinals. A lot of people are talking about how the Dodgers are a struggling mess, and they sort of are, but the Giants aren’t exactly taking advantage of it.

Athletics 7, Diamondbacks 4: Marcus Semien hit a two-run bases loaded single with two outs in the top of the 11th. Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher, got his first ever major league win.

Matt Adams could rejoin the Cardinals around September 1

St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Adams, center, walks off the field after being checked on by Cardinals trainer Chris Conroy, left, and manager Mike Matheny after an injury during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in St. Louis. Adams left the game after injuring his right leg while running out a double. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Good news here for the Cardinals, who began Monday’s action with a 3 1/2 game lead over the Pirates in the National League Central.

Adams has been out since May 26 with a full tear of his right quad. The injury required surgery and was originally expected to end his season, but he began ramping up baseball activities earlier this month. He could begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Tuesday.

With the injuries to Adams and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals acquired Brandon Moss from the Indians before the trade deadline. The 31-year-old has batted just .170 with zero homers and a .491 OPS over 54 plate appearances while splitting time between first base and left field. Adams disappointed to the tune of a .243/.281/.375 batting line over 43 games prior to the injury, but his return could give Matheny an appealing alternative.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 5, Nationals 2: Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy went back-to-back in the third inning and then Lucas Duda added one more. That was more than enough for Noah Syndergaard, who went eight innings allowing only two runs and putting the ball more or less wherever he wanted to. The Mets win the biggest game in the history of Citi Field and move into a first place tie with the Nats after the sweep.

Astros 4, Diamondbacks 1: New Astro Carlos Gomez hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the fourth and Colin McHugh allowed one run on eight hits in seven innings. More hits than innings = “scattered” hits. If there are mushrooms on the hits, they’re “capped.” It’s all on the Astros’ secret menu.

Cardinals 3, Rockies 2: I said this after the Cardinals picked up Brandon Moss on Thursday:

[Moss is] hitting just .217/.208/.487 this season and perversely, is hitting lefties better than righties — but he has a line of .254/.340/.504 over the previous three years. And of course, the Cardinals and their devil magic tend to turn everyone into a near-superstar as soon as they’re acquired. If they didn’t get Moss they could’ve probably signed Will Clark out of retirement again and have him hit .280/.340/.500. That’s just how they roll.

So of course Moss hits a pinch hit walkoff RBI single in this one. Hail Satan.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2: Things got chippy here, with Royals starter Edinson Volquez pitching inside to Josh Donaldson,  eventually hitting him with a pitch in the third inning. Then came retaliation later in the game, and benches-clearing incident. Which wasn’t a brawl because guys just don’t brawl these days. Of course the silliest thing here is that after all of the Royals throwing at Jays, — including Ryan Madson pitching inside to  Troy Tulowitzki and Donaldson in the seventh inning — umps eject Aaron Sanchez and DeMarlo Hale for hitting Alcides Escobar in the bottom half of the seventh. So, if you’re the aggressor in a plunking war, you get three or four chances but the first time you plunk back, you’re outta here. I’m sure that’s not written someplace in the unwritten rule book.

Pirates 3, Reds 0: Benches cleared here too as a plunking of Marlon Byrd on Saturday carried over to Sunday with Pedro Villarreal hitting Andrew McCutchen with a pitch followed by Tony Watson hitting Brandon Phillips. Finally, for good measure I guess, Mark Melancon hit Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart. Wheee! Oh, both here and in the Jays-Royals game there was actual baseball played too. Click the box scores for that. We’re just here for the fighing.

Dodgers 5, Angels 3: The Dodgers got something of a mixed bag from their recent acquisitions, with Mat Latos giving up only one run on four hits over six innings and leaving with a 2-1 lead. But Jim Johnson, who came over in the same trade, gave up a tying homer by Kole Calhoun with one out in the eighth. Onto extra innings where Andre Ethier ended it with a two-run homer. It was his second one of the day, and both times he put the Dodgers in the lead. That’s some serious takin’ care of business.

Marlins 5, Padres 2: Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off three-run home run off Padres reliever Brandon Maurer. That helped the Fish avoid a sweep. Which really is bad for them because they’re totally in the race with the Phillies for the top pick in the 2016 draft. So, yes, quite the setback.

Tigers 6, Orioles 1: Welcome to Detroit Daniel Norris. The Tigers’ acquisition in the David Price deal went seven and a third innings allowing one run on four hits. J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the first and the Tigers would never trail.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: The Rays avoid a sweep thanks to a late rally keyed by an Asdrubal Cabrera double followed by a James Loney single in the eighth. Which reminds that James Loney played 30 games for the Red Sox back in 2012 which seems like a dream.

Braves 6, Phillies 2: Atlanta avoids the sweep at the hands of the Phillies. I got all sad that the Braves traded away prospect Jose Peraza, but that sadness is tempered by things like Jace Peterson having three hits, including a three-run home run. I mean, he’s nothin’ special, but the Braves have a long and rich history of winning with kind of crap second baseman so they can do it again a year or two from now, right? Think of it as a tribute to Keith Lockhart. Julio Teheran pitched well on the road. That does not happen very often.

Yankees 12, White Sox 3: Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira homered and Stephen Drew had three hits and four RBI. This against Jeff Samardzija of all people, so not bad at all. The bottom three in the Yankees order, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Drew, combined for seven hits, six RBI and eight runs scored.

Cubs 4, Brewers 3: The Cubs win their fifth straight, but it was costly as Kris Bryant leaving the game following a headfirst slide into second in which Jean Segura’s glove hand came down kind of hard on Bryant’s head. He sort of slid into Segura’s leg too, as he was really moving. He was woozy after the game and went through concussion testing. Joe Maddon thinks he’ll be fine, though.

Mariners 4, Twins 1: Logan Morrison hit an RBI double in the M’s three-run 11th inning. Nelson Cruz hit a 440+ foot homer earlier in the game.


Rangers 2, Giants 1: Mike Leake allowed two runs in six and a third in his Giants debut but that’s not good enough when your boys only score one. Martin Perez — who got destroyed by the Yankees his last start out — allowed only one run while pitching into the ninth. I think we all have days we just pretend never happened. Perez’s was last Tuesday. “What happened last Tuesday?” Perez asks. “I don’t think anything happened. Was there even a last Tuesday?” He continues.

Athletics 2, Indians 1: Another walkoff. Sure has been a lot of them lately, it seems. This one courtesy of Mark Canha’s two-out double in the 10th. He wasn’t even supposed to be there yesterday, but he took over for Josh Reddick, who suffered lower back tightness after chasing a foul ball in the Indians bullpen earlier in the game.