Tag: Eduardo Escobar

Justin Verlander

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights


Tigers 5, Angels 0: How Justin Got His Groove Back. Verlander, that is, who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and ended up with a complete game, one-hit shutout. Back when I profiled Verlander here at HBT he was struggling mightily. In his last four starts he has given up one earned run in 29 innings. In six of his last seven starts he has given up either zero or one earned run. It’s too late to save the Tigers’ season, but there is no real path back to respectability and competitiveness for the Tigers without Justin Verlander pitching like an ace. To see him doing it once again has got to be encouraging.

Astros 6, Yankees 2: Two homers for Gattis as the Astros take the series. They now have one more win than they had all of last year. And, indeed, more wins with a month and change to play in 2015 than they had in any season dating back to 2010.

Mariners 8, Athletics 2: Felix Hernandez has had a pretty miserable August but he won his 15th here after allowing two runs in eight innings. Then again, he always seems to dominate the A’s. Nelson Cruz drove in three. He leads the league in homers is 39 and is only a few points behind Jason Kipnis for the batting title. The RBI title is probably a stretch for him — he can blame teammates for not being on base too much for that — but it’ll be hilarious if he wins 2/3 of the Triple Crown and finishes, like, fifth or sixth in the MVP voting.

Padres 6, Nationals 5: Justin Upton homered twice. He’s on pace for a 28 homer, 90 RBI season with a less-than-amazing average and a lowish OBP for a guy who is the biggest threat in lineup. In other words: the Platonic ideal of a Justin Upton season. The Nats are now 6.5 back of the Mets. It’s getting late boys.

Mets 9, Phillies 4: Seven scoreless innings from Bartolo Colon and a nice night from Michael Cuddyer, including a moon shot homer. The Mets have won eight straight over the Phillies, 11 of their last 12 against them this year and 23 of 28 against them over the past couple of seasons. Time to change the Wikipedia page from “Owner: Phillies limited partnership (John S. Middleton, Jim & Pete Buck,David Montgomery, Pat Gillick)” to “New York Mets.”

Indians 6, Brewers 2: Just glancing at “Indians Brewers” I got a shot of nostalgia for the old American League East. Oh well. Jason Kipnis homered and drove in three. Toby Harrah, Andre Thornton, Ben Oglivie and Don Money were unavailable for comment.

Rockies 6, Braves 3: Braves: you are only four games ahead of the Phillies, who are dead last in Major League Baseball. I would never advocate tanking for a draft pick, but I’m not gonna advocate NOT tanking for a draft pick either. Now, I’m gonna leave these suggested lineups and strategies on the table. Then I’m gonna leave the room. Whatever you do with them is your business and I don’t even want to know. Just know that they’re there and that whatever it is you decide to do, I will still love and respect you. Godspeed.

Dodgers 7, Reds 4: Scott Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig homered during a five-run fourth inning and the Dodgers’ bullpen slipped out of jams. From the game story:

Even though the Dodgers’ bullpen went into the game with the 13th-worst combined ERA in the National League, manager Don Mattingly doesn’t think it’s that bad.

“Things are never as bad as they seem or as good as they seem,” Mattingly said.

That’s pretty zen for a guy from Indiana.

Pirates 7, Marlins 2: Andrew McCutchen homered and drove in four. In April he hit .194 and his OPS was .636. OPS by month since then: .985, .933, .914, 1.088. Bryce Harper has had the better overall year and he has the age advantage, but at the moment McCutchen is the best all-around player in the National League and it ain’t even close, regardless of what he did in April.

Twins 5, Rays 3: Two homers for Eduardo Escobar as the Twins win again. If the season ended today they’d be the second wild card team, which is pretty wild. So much of this is attributable to young guys coming up and playing great right out of the gate, but you have to figure Paul Molitor wins Manager of the Year, right?

Blue Jays 12, Rangers 4: Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam. He has a 21-game hitting streak now. David Price allowed two runs over six innings for his 13th win. Price is 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA with a 41/7 K/BB ratio in 36 and a third innings since being traded to Toronto.

Red Sox 3, White Sox 0: Sox win. Rick Porcello returned and tossed seven shutout innings, outdueling Chris Sale. You’ve got serious problems to begin with if you bet on baseball, but if you did bet on baseball last night I imagine taking the White Sox over Boston given that matchup looked pretty enticing. Thoughts, prayers to my degenerate gambler friends.

Orioles 8, Royals 5: Wow, the Orioles scored some runs. I had forgotten they could do that. After scoring 15 runs in their past six games, all losses, they broke out big here with two-run homers from Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop. Schoop’s may still be flying. It was beeping like Sputnik and entered orbit just slightly lower.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 1: John Lackey allowed a run on seven hits and struck out four. His defense turned three double plays behind him, continuing what they did against Arizona on Tuesday night.

Giants 4, Cubs 2: Jake Peavy and the Giants end the Cubs’ six-game winning streak. Nori Aoki hit a homer as the Giants arrest a slide and win for the second time in seven games. The Dodgers can be had. The Giants have blown their chances to get ’em so far. But they could do it.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.09.10 PM

Blue Jays 12, Angels 5: The Angels are skidding out of it, losing four in a row and falling into third place behind the Rangers. Here the Jays do what the Jays do best: bash the hell out of the opposition. They even spotted the Angels a four-run lead after an inning. I guess you need a handicap sometimes. Edwin Encarnacion went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI and the Blue Jays are now back in first place in the AL East. The Jays scored 36 runs in the three-game series.

Indians 4, Yankees 3: Francisco Lindor had three hits including the go-ahead homer in the eighth off of Dellin Betances of all people. He homered and had three hits on Saturday too. Bad news for the Yankees, apart from the fact that they lost this game, was that CC Sabathia was forced to exit in the third inning with right knee pain. That’s the knee he had surgery on last year, ending his 2014 season. He’s going to have an MRI, but he’s almost certain to hit the disabled list. That’ll leave the Yankees with a rotation of Tanaka, Eovaldi, Nova, Severino and Pineda. Which, um, not to be rude or anything, consists of five starters, all of whom have been better than Sabathia this year. Though the big man has had a couple of decent starts this year, maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Or, at the very least, a sink-or-swim moment for the Bombers’ rotation.

Rangers 4, Tigers 2: The Rangers take three of four from a Tigers team which, for half a second, thought it might be righting the ship. Nah. Cole Hamels allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings and Mike Napoli and Chris Gimenez homered. Funny sequence here as Adrian Beltre got ejected for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. Except Beltre claimed it wasn’t him barking, it was Prince Fielder. Who, quite conveniently, had the day off yesterday. Even Fielder, quite conveniently, claimed it was him barking. Beltre:

“My teammate over there (Fielder) was the one who said something — he even said, ‘It was me, 84,’ but I guess I was the ugly one and got thrown out,” Beltre said. “I don’t know if he confused 84 with 29, we’re always wrong, the players. Umpires are always right.”

Then manager Jeff Banister was ejected for arguing and for not sending Beltre out of the dugout following his ejection. All kinds of lulz here, made all the funnier when you’re winning the game.

Diamondbacks 4, Reds 0: The Reds get swept, losing their ninth straight game. Chase Anderson threw shutout ball into the seventh inning. Not bad for a guy who was optioned to the minors on Tuesday and only was in this one because Jeremy Hellickson got hurt. But then again, it may be harder to face a Triple-A team than the Reds right now. At least the Triple-A team hasn’t given up.

Phillies 2, Marlins 0: Trading away all the guys who made the Phillies great for a few years has really sucked, but Phillies fans have to be at least somewhat optimistic about the future when they see stuff like Aaron Nola pitch eight dominant innings. Three hits, no runs and only one opposing runner advancing beyond first base. That’s the thing about a last place year: there’s always something to latch on to. Something that let’s you say “you know, it’s gonna be better.” And even if it doesn’t get better for a while, I think some of the purest joy of being a major league baseball fan is seeing some young kid come up and figure it out in the bigs. Some days he’s lost, some days he’s not, but when he puts a nice outing together like this, you don’t think about the losses. You don’t think about contracts and possible trades. You just think “look at this kid!” There’s always another kid to give you hope like that.

Twins 4, Orioles 3: Manny Machado was a shortstop prospect, but found his home at third base thanks to a combination of injuries and J.J. Hardy being too good to move off the position. Yesterday, after some substitutions, he played short for the first time in the bigs, taking the position in the twelfth inning and it cost Baltimore when he misplayed an Eduardo Escobar grounder, allowing Escobar to reach second base. Then Jimmy Paredes, playing Machado’s usual position at third base, made an error which allowed the go-ahead and eventual winning run to score. Hardy is hitting the DL now thanks to a groin injury. Miss U already, J.J. The Twins sweep the O’s in the four-game series.

Royals 8, Red Sox 6: The Royals mounted a four-run rally when they were down two in the ninth to win 8-6. Could’ve been more but leadoff hitter Omar Infante was thrown out at home trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park homer. Junichi Tazawa probably think he dodged a bullet with that, but three of the next four batters singled and then Eric Hosmer knocked in two of them in with yet another single. Following a walk, Mike Moustakas doubled in two more. Moustakas had four RBI on the day with an earlier RBI double and a homer as well.

Nationals 9, Brewers 5: On Friday Yunel Escobar collided with a fan while tracking down a foul ball and hurt his neck. That caused him to be out of this game, allowing Danny Espinosa to hit a three-run, go-ahead double in the third inning. Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos homered. The Nats are still five games back, though, because the Mets . . .

Mets 5, Rockies 1: . . . won their third in a row, sweeping the Rockies. Logan Verrett, making a spot start for Matt Harvey, looked a lot like Matt Harvey, at least in the box score, allowing one run over eight innings, striking out eight. Only five runs for the Mets after scoring 28 in the previous two games, though. Must be slippin’.

Astros 3, Dodgers 2: Jason Castro smacked a walk-off homer in the bottom of the tenth. This was the Astros’ fourth walkoff win in eight games. More importantly, it was the series sweep over the Dodgers, keeping their lead in the West at four over the surging rangers and five and a half over the other Los Angeles team.

Cubs 9, Braves 3: Five homers for the Cubs, two of which came off of Kris Bryant’s bat. Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero and Kyle Schwarber went yard as well. A scary moment here, however, as a fan was sent to the hospital after being hit by a foul ball. The second such incident in as many days.

Athletics 8, Rays 2: It was a close game until the bottom of the seventh when the A’s put up a seven-spot. Makes me think of a 7 and 7, which I remember my parents making for people at weird parties they held in the 70s but which I’m pretty sure no one drinks anymore. Hell, you can hardly find 7-Up anyplace anymore. What the hell happened to 7-Up? It was the un-cola.

Mariners 8, White Sox 6: Robinson Cano had a two-run homer and Nelson Cruz drove in two with a double. The M’s avoid a three-game sweep. Cano on why it’s nice to avoid a three-game sweep with a Sunday win:

“Like I told the guys in the dugout, it’s good to end it up with a happy Sunday,” Cano said. “You can have a nice evening. You don’t have to go to bed and, `What do we have to do win a game?”

Better yet, you can avoid a case of the Mondays.

Cardinals 10, Padres 3: Four runs in the first inning are all the Cards would need but they added six more anyway. Stephen Piscotty homered twice and drove in five. The Cards avoid a sweep and a case of the Mondays too.

Pirates 5, Giants 3: The Pirates scored three first-run innings off of Ryan Vogelsong and never trailed. Homers from Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez gave them a greater margin for error later. Not that they needed it. The Giants scored two unearned runs and the Pittsburgh bullpen allowed jack squat from the sixth inning on. The Pirates are only three and a half games back of the Cardinals now.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Madison Bumgarner Buster Posey


Giants 3, Astros 1: Madison Bumgarner doing Madison Bumgarner things. Allowing one run in a complete game in which he struck out 12. He only threw 105 pitches too, which is hard to do when you strike out that many guys. In support, Belt belted two homers. I’m sure no one has ever used the “Belt/belt” combination with him before. My use of it there was totally novel, I guarantee it.

Blue Jays 4, Athletics 2: Blue Jays fans, for good reason, are getting excited:

Toronto is just a half game back of the Yankees. They were seven back of the Yankees on July 28. I finally submitted that passport application on Monday, so go ahead and make the World Series, Toronto. I’m totally prepared for it.

Indians 5, Yankees 4: Michael Brantley hits a walkoff single in the sixteenth inning. That’s four straight losses for New York. The four runs, though, is something of an offensive outburst for them lately so, um, progress?

Marlins 5, Red Sox 4: The Sox had a 4-0 lead in the sixth and blew it. Which seems to have happened to them a number of times recently. In the tenth Dee Gordon tripled to lead off and then scored on a walk-off single by Justin Bour. After the game Marlins starter Justin Nicolino said this:

“Guys like David Ortiz and (Pablo) Sandoval and growing up watching them was really cool, but actually getting to facing them and seeing them in the batter’s box was pretty cool, too.”

The other day I felt old when someone mentioned their dad liking Bartolo Colon. But for cryin’ out loud, Ortiz didn’t even play 100 games in a season until 2000. Sandoval debuted in 2008. Kids are ruining this game for the rest of us, quite frankly.

White Sox 3, Angels 0: Carlos Rodon struck out 11 Angels in seven shutout innings and Melky Cabrera doubled in a couple of runs. Trayce Thompson hit his first career home run. If you had asked me who “Trayce Thompson” was before this game I probably would’ve said “Um, the woman who replaced Vicki Lawrence as Carol Burnett’s second banana when Lawrence left for her own variety show?” Which is just wrong, as she stayed with Carol until the end, God bless her. Fun Fact: Vicki Lawrence also appeared on “The Love Boat” in five different episodes as five different characters. TV was way different back then, you guys. You know, way before Justin Nicolino was born.

Mets 4, Rockies 0: There were a few starts in there a little while back when people were worrying about Matt Harvey. They need not have worried. Here he shut out Colorado for eight innings on four hits and didn’t walk anyone. In fact, it’s the third straight start in which he hasn’t walked anyone.


Rays 2, Braves 0: Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Erasmo Ramirez pitched seven innings of shutout ball and that was basically that. Braves starter Williams Perez tossed a complete game loss. You don’t see a ton of those these days.

Cubs 6, Brewers 3: Chicago has won 11 of 12. With this win and the Pirates’ loss they’re only two and a half behind Pittsburgh for the first Wild Card. Not that that matters a ton, but jeez, a home playoff game for the Cubs in 2015? Could you even imagine that a year ago?

Royals 6, Tigers 1: I had my brother visiting from last Saturday until this morning. He is nominally a Tigers fans and has been since he was a kid, but he has sort of let baseball go in the past decade or so and is really just a hardcore hockey fan now. Yesterday we were in the car for two hours coming back from a trip to an amusement park with the kids and he decided to quiz me about how the Tigers are doing. He is generally aware that they aren’t doing good this year, but wasn’t sure why. When I got to the part about the bullpen he said “is Phil Coke still there?” My first impulse was to laugh. My second impulse was to think “heck, maybe he’d help these guys? Maybe he could even start!” At any rate, they lost again, with Lorenzo Cain going 4-for-4 and homering and Mike Moustakas homering and driving in three. K.C.’s lead in the division is a silly 12 games.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: The Twins may be sliding out of the playoff picture, but they’re not packing it in like some teams we could mention. Here they showed some late fight, scoring all three of their runs in the eighth and ninth inning, capped by Eduardo Escobar’s two-out double in the ninth. Making the playoffs this year was never expected and that they contended as long as they did was a nice surprise, but certainly give them credit for showing some fight and being generally entertaining.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: Another of many comeback wins last night as the Cards rallied when down 3-1 in the fifth behind a Jason Heyward RBI single and an RBI double from Yadier Molina. Stephen Piscotty singled in the go-ahead run. Meanwhile Carlos Martinez got stronger as the game went on, pitching eight solid innings. The Cards maintain a six-game lead in the Central.

Diamondbacks 13, Phillies 1: There are some things you just don’t come back from and an 11-run second inning is one of those things. The Dbacks rocked David Buchanan like a hurricane for all 11 of those runs. Not that they needed them all as Jeremy Hellickson allowed only one run in eight. David Peralta hit a grand slam. Hellickson himself went 2-for-3 and drove in three. The 7-8-9 hitters in Arizona’s lineup went 7-for-13 with seven driven in.

Mariners 6, Orioles 5: Austin Jackson singled in the winning run in the tenth. Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo homered. Cruz’s homer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 21 games, which is tied for the longest in baseball this season.

Dodgers 5, Nationals 0: The Yasiel Puig show: he tripled with the bases loaded and hit a two-run homer, driving in all five of the Dodgers’ runs. Zack Greinke, meanwhile, recovered from his last rocky start to shut out the Nats for six innings. Puig’s triple should’ve probably been a fly out or, at the very least, should’ve scored one run, as it was a shallow fly down the right field line that Clint Robinson misplayed badly. But that’s how the Nats are rolling these days.

Padres 11, Reds 6: Colin Rea made his MLB debut, pitched well and got a hit. Hard to beat that. And staked to an 8-0 lead after two innings, he could relax some too. Jedd Gyorko drove in two for him, singling home two runs in the first and hitting a two-run homer in the second.


The marginalization of Oswaldo Arcia

Oswaldo Arcia

There are currently seven major leaguers 24 and under with a career OPS+ over 100 in at least 500 at-bats.

167 – Mike Trout
135 – Bryce Harper
108 – Manny Machado
105 – Christian Yelich
104 – Oswaldo Arcia
103 – Avisail Garcia
101 – Nolan Arenado

Six of those guys are considered building blocks by their teams. The other, Arcia, seems to be at a career crossroads already, even though he’s hardly tasted failure at any point in his career.

Arcia arrived in the majors before his 22nd birthday, debuting in April 2013. He was demoted a few times that season, even though his numbers were decent, if unspectacular, throughout. He finished up at .251/.304/.430 with 14 homers in 351 at-bats.

The next spring, Arcia was penciled right in as the Twins’ right fielder, only to develop wrist troubles very early on. He was placed on the DL on April 9. He went on to excel in his rehab assignment, hitting .308/.349/.487 in 12 games, yet the Twins optioned him to Triple-A for a spell anyway. He came back in late May and played regularly the rest of the way, finishing up at .231/.300/.452. Despite the low average, he had a 108 OPS+, largely because of his 20 homers (second on the Twins).

After last season, the Twins took away Arcia’s position by signing Torii Hunter, but he was still seemingly assured the left field job. However, weird things happened right off the bat. The left-handed-hitting Arcia started Opening Day against lefty David Price, only to find himself on the bench against a righty three days later. Arcia went on to sit three times in the first nine games. He slumped. He only started to pull out of it at the end of April, going 7-for-13 with a homer in four starts. That’s what a hip injury put him on the disabled list.

Despite that promising surge, it was apparent right away that Arcia might not immediately reemerge in Minnesota’s plans following his return. For one thing, the team needed a break from playing three liabilities in the outfield, as it often was with Arcia in left, Jordan Schafer in center and Hunter in right. Arcia’s struggles against lefties and his strikeout rate were also problems, even though he didn’t fan overly much during April (15 K’s in 65 PA).

Sure enough, Arcia was sent down after going hitless in the first four games of his rehab assignment. It’s the third time in three years he’s been optioned out. Whether it’s the hip, his frustrations over being buried or something else, he’s continued to slump since the demotion, hitting .214/.227/.310 in 12 games.

Arcia is a flawed player. The troubles against lefties aren’t going away, and he’s a poor outfielder perhaps best suited to DH duties. That seemed like a big problem at the start of the year, following Kennys Vargas’s emergence. But with Vargas also struggling to find his way with these 2015 Twins, there’s plenty of room for Arcia at DH should the team decide to go that route. Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet.

Still, it’s not at all reasonable that the Twins are so down on him. Beat writers have speculated that he’ll be traded. One writers suggested this spring that he should begin the season in the minors. Of late, there’s been more talk about prospect Miguel Sano becoming the Twins’ DH than Arcia. Oddly enough, Arcia is playing regularly in right field in Triple-A, even though the team surely won’t ask Hunter to change positions this year. It makes little sense. Right-handed power is difficult to come by these days, and young hitters as productive as Arcia rarely prove to be flops.

Maybe all of this turns around if Arcia turns it on in Triple-A over these next few weeks. After all, the Twins have given Shane Robinson two starts and Eduardo Escobar one start in left field over these last five games. Vargas has slumped since his return from Triple-A and has no sort of handle on the DH job. It’s not hard to imagine Arcia spending the final three months of the season as one of the Twins’ best hitters. Unfortunately, it’s also not hard to imagine him getting traded for a veteran security blanket as the Twins try to gear up for a playoff run.

Video: Byron Buxton scores Twins’ winning run in his major league debut

byron buxton getty

Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton didn’t get a hit in his major league debut on Sunday, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but still managed to make an impact. He scored the Twins’ go-ahead and eventual game-winning run from first base in the top of the ninth inning against the Rangers.

Eduardo Escobar had led off the top of the inning with a double, but was caught between second and third base when Buxton tapped a grounder back to reliever Shawn Tolleson. Brian Dozier popped up in the infield for the second out, leaving Buxton on first base. Eddie Rosario then ripped a 2-0 off-speed pitch from Tolleson into the gap in right-center. Buxton read it perfectly and scored easily from first base to put the Twins up 4-3, the score by which they would go on to win.