Tag: Drew Butera

Nelson Cruz

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Mariners 11, Rangers 10: Nelson Cruz hit two homers, drove in five and knocked in a walkoff single. On the year he’s hitting .354/.404/.854. Which is just a great, early-season small sample size line. Or a somewhat less valuable line than the one Barry Bonds put up over 573 games between 2001 and 2004 (.349/.559/.809).

Tigers 9, White Sox 1: Yoenis Cespedes hit a grand slam and a two-run home run. Not bad for a guy who I, and who everyone else I’ve been around when his name has come up in the past couple of months, always seem to say “oh yeah, he’s on the Tigers now. I forgot.”

Royals 4, Athletics 2: What a sh**show. A third straight day of sh**show, which started on Friday night when A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard/dirty into second base, hurting Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. Then, on Saturday, Yordano Ventura hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball. Even? Nah. Yesterday Athletics starter Scott Kazmir hit Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain in the leg with a pitch. Then Royal reliever Kelvim Herrera threw a 100 MPH fastball behind Lawrie, which he claimed — and, to be fair, acted like — was a mistake. Ultimately, like, 58 dudes were ejected and the game was finished by little leaguers bussed in from Overland Park, Kansas. True story.

Nationals 4, Phillies 1: Stephen Strasburg struck out seven, walked two and allowed five hits while pitching into the eighth. The Nats took three of four from a Phillies club that’s gonna help a lot of struggling teams get well this year. Philly has scored 32 runs in 13 games.

Pirates 5, Brewers 2: A three-game sweep. The Brewers are 2-10, which is their worst start in history. When is the first Packers minicamp?

Orioles 8, Red Sox 3: Adam Jones went 4-for-5 with a three-run double and two-run homer, driving in five. He’s hitting .457 on the young season. That puts him on pace to hit . . . um, .457. Hmm. I guess it’s dumb to do the “on pace” thing, eh?

Yankees 5, Rays 3: I guess the Yankees just needed to get back to the Tampa area to right the ship. The sweep here, aided by two-RBI games from Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira. A-Rod doubled, walked twice and scored twice. Hard to believe, but this is the first time the Yankees have swept the Rays in a three or more game series in Tampa in ten years.

Mets 7, Marlins 6: The Mets set a record for Team Its Fans Worry About Most Despite The Fact That It Has Won Eight Games In A Row. Which, given that they keep losing players to injury in these wins, is quite understandable. Travis d’Arnaud broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch and Jerry Blevins was lost to a broken forearm suffered on a comebacker. Still, they’re 10-3 and have won their first seven home games.

Braves 5, Blue Jays 2: Jonny Gomes drove in four — a bases-loaded double and a sacrifice fly — and Shelby Miller pitched six effective innings. Gomes’ double came thanks to a misplay by Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey, who got turned around and tried to leap for the ball, only to fall down. Afterward Pompey said he’d been “playing somewhat scared” all season for fear of making a mistake. That’s . . . not the sort of thing that players should likely be telling the media, even if it’s true, I feel.

Twins 7, Indians 2: Torii Hunter hit a homer and the Twins won their fourth in the last five games. Trevor May allowed one run on four hits in six innings. The Cleveland offense has been horrid lately.

Astros 4, Angels 3: Garrett Richards made his first start since having knee surgery last year and gave up four runs — three earned — on five hits and four walks in five innings. A couple of the runs came as the result of a strikeout which catcher Drew Butera couldn’t handle, followed by a throw to first which went offline. Luis Valbuena homered for the Astros as well and Jose Altuve had three hits.

Padres 5, Cubs 2: Will Middlebrooks and Yangervis Solarte each hit two-run homers and Andrew Cashner allowed two runs, neither earned, in six innings. Jon Lester is 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA after three starts. Good thing six-year deals aren’t judged after three starts. He wasn’t as bad as he’s been, though. He allowed three runs and six hits in five and a third here. He also pulled a Terry Mulholland when a ball he fielded got stuck in the webbing of his glove and he tossed the whole glove to Anthony Rizzo for the out.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 1: Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer and then blew everyone’s mind after the game when he said “any time you can get a win, it’s good.” Chris Owings had a two-run single. A.J. Pollock had three hits, scored twice and made a nice diving catch. Neither of them went all Confucius on us like Goldschmidt did, though.

Dodgers 7, Rockies 0: The Dodgers hit three homers in the sixth inning. Which coincided with the Calcaterra family dinner last night, which I unwisely allowed to take place with the TV on, leading to my kids running away from the table and yelling “Oh my God, ANOTHER one!” while their chicken got cold. Howie Kendrick, Scott Van Slyke and Joc Pederson did the damage here. Brandon McCarthy allowed three hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two.

Cardinals 2, Reds 1: A three game sweep for the Cards, thanks to Adam Wainwright (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4K) outdueling Mike Leake. The game took only two hours and two minutes, which has to be a record for an ESPN Sunday night game. Hats off to these clubs for (a) letting us all switch to “Mad Men” earlier than we thought we’d have to; and (b) limiting the amount of things John Kruk and Curt Schilling could say.

On this date 20 years ago: Michael Jordan quit baseball

Image (2) michael-jordan-baseball-cover-si.jpg for post 6436

Baseball historian Chris Jaffe points out that today is the 20th anniversary of Michael Jordan quitting baseball, noting that “he went back to his previous line of work.”

People always mock Jordan’s one-year baseball career and I suppose that’s to be expected when the best basketball player of all time leaves the sport he’s dominating to spend a year struggling at Double-A, but it always seemed to me that Jordan’s baseball performance was actually kind of impressive.

He played 127 games as a Double-A outfielder in the White Sox’s farm system–with Terry Francona as his manager–hitting .202 with three homers, 51 walks, 30 steals, and a .556 OPS. Make no mistake, that’s awful. FOR A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER. Jordan was a 31-year-old non-baseball player who hadn’t played the sport regularly in more than a decade and had never played the sport regularly above the high school level.

So yes, you could say “he quit basketball to hit .202 at Double-A?” or you could say “he took up professional baseball at age 31 without any experience above high school and somehow managed to hit above .200 with multiple home runs, an above-average walk rate, and lots of stolen bases!” Or you could just say “Jordan has a higher career on-base percentage at Double-A than Drew Butera!”

Baseball is super hard and what Michael Jordan did during his one year playing the sport professionally is more impressive than he gets credit for.

The Dodgers are going to flip Andrew Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick

Howie Kendrick

This is getting wilder and wilder. After the six-player trade between the Dodgers and Marlins which, in turn, raised questions about whether one of the players involved would retire or not, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers have decided to take the most well-known of the players they received — starting pitching prospect Andrew Heaney — and flip him to the Angels.

The return: Howie Kendrick. Which answers the question of “who’s going to play second base for the Dodgers now that Dee Gordon is gone.”

Kendrick has had an above-average bat at second base for several years now, most recently posting a line of .293/.347/.397, which amounts to an OPS+ of 115. He has averaged 142 games a year and an OPS+ of 116 over the past four years. He’s not as flashy as Dee Gordon, I suppose, but he’s a better baseball player by just about every other measure.

Which means that, in effect, the Dodgers traded Dee Gordon and spare and/or retiring parts for a way better second baseman and way better spare parts. Nice trick, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi!

Also fun here: before yesterday’s trade of Drew Butera, the Dodgers and Angels hadn’t traded in literally decades, now they’ve done two in two days.

For the Angels, they get a nice pitching prospect in Heaney. As for who plays second base for them? Well, I have no freakin’ idea.

Angels acquire Drew Butera from Dodgers

Drew Butera

After designating Drew Butera for assignment the Dodgers have traded the veteran catcher to the Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Butera is a good catch-and-throw guy with a nice reputation in the clubhouse, but he’s one of the worst hitters in modern baseball history. For his career he’s hit .183 in 251 games, posting a .508 OPS that ranks as the lowest of anyone in the past 30 years:

.508 - Drew Butera
.513 - Brandon Wood
.526 - Kevin Cash
.530 - Rafael Belliard

Earlier this offseason the Angels traded backup catcher Hank Conger to the Astros, so Butera will presumably take over for him as starter Chris Iannetta’s caddy.

Dodgers claim Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from Red Sox, drop Drew Butera

Ryan Lavarnway

Catcher/first baseman Ryan Lavarnway, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last week, has been claimed off waivers by the Dodgers. To make room for him on the 40-man roster Los Angeles designated for assignment catcher Drew Butera.

Lavarnway never hit much in some brief stints with the Red Sox and isn’t considered a reliable enough defender to see regular action behind the plate, but his minor-league track record suggests he could be useful as a part-time catcher/first baseman/bench bat. He’s a career .277 hitter with an .824 OPS at Triple-A.

Butera was acquired from Minnesota in mid-2013 and predictably hit .186 for the Dodgers after batting .182 for the Twins. He’s a good-glove, no-hit catcher whose bat may be too weak for even a backup role.