Tag: Gio Gonzalez

Tigers celebrate

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Tigers 12, Yankees 4: J.D. Martinez hit three bombs. His fly ball in his last at bat fell short or else he would’ve had four, which we in the business call “pulling a Whitten.” Actually, that’s a lie. I’m the only one in the business who calls it a “pulling a Whitten,” but I am trying hard to make that happen. I figure if that dumb car commercial can call a control pitcher “a Rembrandt,” I can make “pulling a Whitten” happen.

Orioles 13, Blue Jays 9: Like Brunelleschi or Masolino da Panicale or whoever it was giving the world of art single-point perspective and dragging everyone into the Renaissance, the Orioles’ and Jays’ offenses are going to single-handedly pull us out of that mini-deadball era we’ve been experiencing. The O’s had 16 hits including Jimmy Paredes’ three-run homer and Chris Davis’ solo homer.

White Sox 3, Rangers 2: Gordon Beckham hit a walk-off solo home run on Father’s Day. He also had a walkoff hit on Mother’s Day. The White Sox play the Twins at home on September 13, which is Grandparents Day. Place your bets accordingly.

Indians 1, Rays 0: Compared to that walkoff balk in the Dodgers game on Thursday night, David Murphy’ walkoff sac fly was some pretty insane action. Cody Anderson pitched shutout ball into the eighth before that.

Reds 5, Marlins 2: Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce each hit two-run homers. Frazier has hit five homers in five days. Aroldis Chapman got out of a heck of a jam in the ninth, which he created himself, having loaded the bases while trying for an easy three-run lead save. But then he struck out Donovan SolanoDee Gordon and Derek Dietrich with 102, 101 and 103 MPH heat, respectively. It’s like he needed to give himself a difficulty to all of this.



Braves 1, Mets 0: The good Julio Teheran showed up, shutting out the Mets for seven and outdueling Matt Harvey. The Braves also bested the giant and went in with a Sicilian with death on the line to complete the three-game sweep. Next up: they get into a land war in Asia and win.

Nationals 9, Pirates 2: A day after you get no-hit you have the other guys put up a nine-spot on you in the first inning. It’s like two games in a row that you didn’t even need to bother playing, really. And that’s before you mention that Gio Gonzalez shut the Pirates out for seven innings. Just a bad couple of days at the office for the men in black.

Phillies 9, Cardinals 2: Adam Morgan made his big league debut and ended up out-pitching Michael Wacha by a good margin. This after being 0-6 at Triple-A. This was the first game won by a Philly starter since May 23. Andres Blanco homered while Ben Revere and Maikel Franco each got three hits.

Red Sox 13, Royals 2: David Ortiz hit a monster homer which put him past Stan Musial and Willie Stargell on the all-time list. Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts went yard as well. Betts doubled and tripled as well in an all-around hit parade.

Cubs 8, Twins 0: Jake Arrieta pitched a four-hit, seven strikeout shutout. Like a real one. Not a “shut the ___ out of ___ innings.” He went all nine, which is a thing one needs to specify in this age. The game was already out of hand when Dexter Fowler hit a grand slam in the eighth, but Dexter Fowler still hit a grand slam in the eighth.

Athletics 3, Angels 2: Scott Kazmir gave up one run in seven and a third. There was a 5:14 replay review here, and that’s kind of special.

Astros 6, Mariners 2: Colby Rasmus and George Springer each homered and six relievers managed to hold the Mariners to two runs in what was a bullpen game for Houston. In regards to that Arrieta comment, part of me fears that the future of baseball holds way more bullpen games. Like it will become a standard thing teams do, not just when they’re down a starter or something, possibly even being a rotation spot in and of itself. Which, even if it makes tactical sense, would be a bummer if, like me, you are really a starting pitching kind of guy.

Rockies 10, Brewers 4: Charlie Blackmon drove in four and Troy Tulowitzki knocked in three. Nick Hundley had four hits. Tulowitzki has reached in 21 straight games and is hitting .368/.419/.529 in the month of June.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 2: The Dbacks scored seven runs in the second but only three of them were earned. The came in part due to two San Diego errors, two walks and a hit batter, and A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt each singled home two.

Dodgers 10, Giants 2 : Tim Lincecum and Yusmeiro Petit each got beat up for five runs. Yasmani Grandal hit two homer. Jacob Justin Turner drove in three. Also: this was the ninth out of 15 games yesterday in which the losing team scored two runs. This is important. This means something.


No, the Nationals didn’t throw at Jose Tabata for breaking up Max Scherzer’s perfect game

Jose Tabata

On Saturday, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata controversially broke up Max Scherzer’s perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning when he was hit by a two-strike slider. Some argued that Tabata intentionally leaned into the pitch. Others argued he should have at least made more of an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. Members of both groups suggested the Nationals should throw at Tabata in his first at-bat on Sunday.

Tabata took his place in the batter’s box in the second inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Washington, D.C. against Gio Gonzalez, treated to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Gonzalez’s first pitch to Tabata was a 91 MPH fastball over the middle of the plate.

Gonzalez would have been in the wrong for throwing at Tabata. For one, that would simply make him a bad human being, as a batter’s career can end in an instant if he’s hit by a pitch in the wrong area. Moreover, Tabata did nothing wrong in getting hit on Saturday when he faced Scherzer. The logic that getting hit by a pitch to break up Scherzer’s perfect game is “bush league” — as many argued yesterday — is as silly as thinking that Yankees reliever Jose De Paula was bush league for not throwing a meatball to J.D. Martinez this afternoon when he came to the plate in the seventh inning with an opportunity to have a four-homer game. He flew out to right field instead. Should the Tigers have thrown at one of the Yankees? Or maybe Bryan Holaday — who hit directly behind Martinez — should have kicked a clump of dirt around home plate into Yankees catcher Brian McCann’s face?

Unwritten rules are dumb, you guys.

Max Scherzer is “good to go” and could start Friday

Max Scherzer
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Max Scherzer missed his scheduled Tuesday start because of a sprained thumb, but the Nationals insisted it was a minor injury and sure enough the former Cy Young winner may be been cleared to start Friday against the Mets.

Scherzer threw a problem-free bullpen session Tuesday while call-up A.J. Cole was taking his turn in the rotation, telling Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that he’s “good to go.”

Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to start Friday, but the Nationals may decide to push Gonzalez and Doug Fister back one day apiece in order to get the $210 million free agent pickup on the mound again.

Nationals prospect A.J. Cole will make his MLB debut in place of injured Max Scherzer

A.J. Cole Nationals

Nationals right-hander and top-100 prospect A.J. Cole will be called up today to make his MLB debut starting in place of the injured Max Scherzer.

Cole was originally the Nationals’ fourth-round draft pick in 2010, but Washington traded him to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal only to reacquire him in the three-team swap that sent Michael Morse to Seattle.

In calling up Cole for his debut the Nationals bypassed Tanner Roark, who started 32 games with a 2.85 ERA last season before being bumped to the bullpen by Scherzer’s arrival. For now the team is hoping that Scherzer will only miss one start with a thumb injury and Roark likely would have been limited to fewer than 75 pitches, so manager Matt Williams opted for the hard-throwing 23-year-old Cole versus Atlanta.

Cole has a 3.23 ERA and 60/18 K/BB ratio in 78 innings at Triple-A, including 11 starts there last season and three starts there this year.

2015 Preview: Oakland Athletics

Bob Melvin

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Oakland Athletics.

The Big Question: Can the A’s reshuffled roster put them in the playoffs for the fourth straight year?

When I was assigned the A’s preview by that jerkwad who assigns the team previews around here, I gotta tell ya, I was a bit concerned. As a team that cruised for months and then collapsed, the A’s were already the sort of team that is the hardest to predict. Then they went and reshuffled the roster this past winter and who in the heck knows what to think? If I had any hair I’d be tearing it out by now.

But then I remembered: the A’s do this kind of crap all the time. Really, they do.

They have been to the playoffs three years in a row, but they’ve done it a bit differently each time. Last year we were asking whether they could survive without Jarrod Parker and Grant Balfour. Heading into 2012 they were the odds-on favorite to be the worst team in the AL West and all they did was win 94 games after shipping out Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey, Gio Gonzalez, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham and David DeJesus and bringing in Yoenis Cespedes, Bartolo Colon, Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes, Parker, Josh Reddick and Brad Peacock. Nothing is as constant as change in the Oakland A’s clubhouse. And, at least in recent years, the change hasn’t mattered because the same GM is running the show who has seemingly always run the show. And while no one would ever choose to deal with the particular constraints Billy Beane has to deal with, he has literally been written into a history as a guy who mixes and matches whatever is on hand and somehow always makes it work. Or usually makes it work. He certainly makes it work a lot better with Bob Melvin than he did before. The both of them are just good at putting seemingly disparate pieces together.

So you look at the 2015 A’s, who have lost Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Derek Norris, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, John Jaso and a ton of other guys and who have brought in Ike Davis Ben Zobrist, Jesse Hahn, Billy Butler, Brett Lawrie, Marcus Semien and a ton of other guys and you could totally, reasonably say “damn, this is a mess.” Or, you could realize that the A’s have shuffled the deck like this almost every offseason, that absolutely no one has had a great handle on what the A’s would do from year-to-year the past several seasons and that, lo and behold, they are usually in the playoffs come October and that, maybe, they’ll be just dandy.

I don’t know if they’ll suck or be dandy. I have to answer that Big Question above with “I have no idea.” But neither do most of you. In some ways this makes them among the most interesting teams in baseball this and every year. But what I won’t do, and what no one else should do, is to lazily say “the A’s blew the team up” this past winter and conclude that they’re rebuilding or that they’re toast or something. Because it’s not been the case in recent years, and you sort of have to trust what Beane and company are doing until it stops working, don’t you?

What else is going on?

  • As for the brass tacks of the various parts of this team, it’s fair to say that the rotation will be pretty good. Certainly at the top, as Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir return. Beyond that there are a lot of question marks, but a LOT of arms who could potentially answer them. Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez and Jesse Hahn will likely be the first three up behind Gray and Kazmir, and all three were above-average starters last year. Waiting in the wings is Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Chris Bassitt. Or maybe Graveman makes it. He’s started four games this spring and has allowed only one earned run. And hell, Barry frickin’ Zito is still banging around. The point is that there is a good bit of quality and depth here, even if the younger dudes are unproven.
  • Lineups? Who needs a set lineup? The A’s haven’t had one in a long time. Sure, they’ve had regulars, but in the past couple of years I’d guess that Bob Melvin has ran out a good one hundred different lineup combinations each season. You do things like that when you have, like, three catchers who can hit. Or, like this year, you have Ben Zobrist who is the player most likely to pull a Bugs Bunny and play all nine positions in a single game. Coco Crisp starts in left, but he could see time in center if things don’t go right. Craig Gentry can likewise play anywhere. The infield is far more unsettled — almost a complete turnover from 2014 — but Zobrist gives them flexibility. Ike Davis and Brett Lawrie are most famous for their status as disappointments, but you don’t become a disappointment without first having promise. If either of these guys even play up to close to their level of potential, the offense could be a huge strength here.
  • Billy Butler is probably the most “famous” import on this year’s club. And his best years — particularly in the power department — seem to be behind him. But he’s actually an improvement over what the A’s trotted out at DH last season. They probably overpaid for him, but the A’s don’t overpay too often. When they do, it’s because they had a big need. And at DH they had a big need.
  • In the pen, Sean Doolittle will get a late start to the year, but he’s expected to be healthy soon and around for most of the season. Tyler Clippard cost Yunel Escobar and will make a lot of money for a setup guy this season, but see above about overpaying for a need. There is a lot of depth here too as many of those guys mentioned above in the rotation section could see time in the bullpen too. As could the aforementioned Barry frickin’ Zito. Flexibility is the key with this club. In every single aspect. One might even say that flexibility is . . . the new inefficiency?

Prediction: With great uncertainty comes great excitement. And fear. And with great flexibility comes potentially great comprises. This A’s team could break in any number of ways. They have the potential to suck or be great. And as recent history in the pre-season prediction business has shown us, teams who are hard to figure in March tend to be way better than the ones who have a set narrative.

But I’m still gonna hedge and say Third Place, American League West. And fully expect to be wrong in one direction or the other.