Tag: Justin Grimm

Matt Williams

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Cardinals 8, Nationals 5: The Cards mounted a five-run rally in the seventh that had the Nationals fans in my Twitter timeline saying unspeakable things about Matt Williams, the Nationals and, in some cases, the very dilemma of human existence. Really, they started to get kinda deep about the philosophic abyss that confronts us all. I almost felt bad for them but then I remembered that they’re Nationals fans, so who gives a rip? OK, that’s not fair. Even Nats fans don’t deserve Matt Williams. Which perhaps might hurt Matt Williams’ feelings to hear, but given that he’s peacefully dozing in the dugout, he’s really not hearing it at all. Shhh! Don’t tell him to bring in Drew Storen during the rally! It’s only the seventh inning! Williams’ little analog alarm clock with Goofy’s arms as the hands doesn’t start ringing for Storen until the eighth!

Dodgers 5, Giants 4: Adrian Gonzalez hit a bases loaded single in the 14th inning to walk it off. It was a long game. How long? It started in August and ended in September! Wow! In other news, the Giants really can’t be losing head-to-head games with the Dodgers if they wanna make the playoffs. It’s now a four and a half game lead for L.A.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Old: David Ortiz hits career homer 495. Young: Mookie Betts homered and Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits and scored twice. He’s been up and down and people have been expecting a lot from him for more than a couple of years now, but in 43 big league games this year Bradley is hitting .277/.358/.555 with outstanding outfield defense.

Rays 6, Orioles 3: Six shutout innings aided by an amazing grab by Kevin Kiermaier to rob Manny Machado of a homer.

Baltimore has lost 11 of 12. Asdrubal Cabrera, Evan Longoria and Tim Beckham homered for Tampa Bay.

Indians 4, Blue Jays 2: Danny Salazar struck out ten and Jerry Sands singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh. Sands’ failure to pan out as a prospect over the past couple of years has obscured the fact that he is the best 1950s-60s-era Vegas comedian to ever play Major League Baseball. And it’s all the more impressive given that he wears a sequined tuxedo jacket and a ruffled shirt when he plays in the outfield.

Marlins 4, Braves 0: It was obvious that the Braves were going to lose here given that they traded away their clubhouse leader Jonny Gomes last night. You laugh, but when the Royals win the World Series and some baseball writer credits Gomes’, like, 11 ineffective plate appearances but his excellent top-step-of-the-dugout fist-pumping for “providing the leadership they lacked in 2014,” try not to injure yourself as you violently roll your eyes into your head. In other news, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Shelby Miller pitched well, allowing one run on six hits and no walks over seven innings yet failed to win for the 19th straight outing because the Braves provided him zero in the form of run support. He has a 2.56 ERA on the year and a 5-12 record.

Mets 3, Phillies 1: Eight shutout innings for Bartolo Colon. Which, to be fair to the Phillies, is understandable as Colon was wearing camouflage:


Given his stealthy appearance, to Phillies batters it had to look like the ball was floating in mid air and suddenly hurled in their direction as if propelled by an otherworldly spirit.

Reds 13, Cubs 6: Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez hit two-run homers in a four-run sixth inning. Those four runs all came against Justin Grimm. Who actually came in with a lead and gave up those four runs in one third of an inning. If only there was a word to describe Grimm’s performance. Bleak? Ghastly? Gruesome? Give me a few minutes, I’ll think of one.

Astros 8, Mariners 3: Dallas Keuchel got his 16th win and Carlos Correa hit his 16th homer.




Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: No one cares about this game at this point of the season so let’s watch Brandon Barnes eat dirt.

Athletics 11, Angels 5: The Angels got slaughtered, the details of which you can read in the box score. The important part here is that Shane Victorino broke the Oakland Coliseum when he ran into the dang wall:


The A’s really need to find the receipt for that place.

Padres 7, Rangers 0: Tyson Ross tossed seven shutout innings and had an RBI single to [all together now] help his own cause. Texas’ lead in the race for the second wild card slot is down to one game over the Twins.

Note to base runners: Do not run on Jorge Soler’s arm

Jorge Soler

This one is going on the scouting report. With the Pirates and Cubs tied 3-3 with one out in the top of the sixth, Jose Tabata lined a Justin Grimm fastball down the right field line. The ball took a friendly carom off of the wall and hopped right back to right fielder Jorge Soler. Soler angled his body towards second base and threw a one-hop seed to shortstop Javier Baez, who applied the tag on Tabata for the second out of the inning.

It takes a bit of time for teams to catch on to a new outfielder’s arm strength, as Yoenis Cespedes was allowed to rack up 15 assists this season even after doing this and this about two weeks apart. Soon, though, base runners will hesitate to attempt to take an extra base on Soler if he continues to show a strong, accurate arm.

Due to inclement weather, the game was eventually suspended with one out in the top of the seventh. The game will resume at 3 PM EST today. Soler is 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Theo vs. Evil Empire: How the Cubs move on from the Tanaka fallout

theo epstein getty

The urban legend had Theo Epstein destroying a hotel room after he found out Jose Contreras decided on the New York Yankees.

The youngest GM in baseball history had been on the job for almost a month when the big Cuban pitcher established residency in Nicaragua just before Christmas 2002. Hoping to freeze out everyone else, Epstein and Boston Red Sox international scouting director Louie Eljaua hatched the plan to rent out all the rooms in the small hotel in Managua.

That’s where Contreras and his agent, Jaime Torres, posted up for the meetings. Together, they smoked cigars and drank booze, selling the idea of winning at Fenway Park, how they would help him adapt to life in the United States, making it seem like a sure thing.

[RELATED – Cubs excited to welcome Yankees back to Wrigley Field]

Until, of course, Contreras wound up taking more money from the Yankees, grabbing a four-year, $32 million deal. That led Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, Epstein’s mentor/nemesis, to tell The New York Times: “The Evil Empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America.”

“I didn’t trash the room,” Epstein said. “The story was that I picked up a chair and threw it through a window or something. I didn’t. I slammed a door, which didn’t break. That was it.”

Now 40 years old, with two World Series rings and a president’s title, Epstein has thought of the Contreras pursuit while rebuilding the Cubs, trying to channel all the frustrations and stay focused on the big picture.

“It’s more about process and living to fight another day,” Epstein said. “Even if you think you lose, you win sometimes. You think you’ve won, you’ve lost.”

“We don’t know (bleep)”

Masahiro Tanaka is who the Cubs thought he would be when they made a six-year, $120 million offer last winter – someone with the stuff, guts and intelligence to be a frontline pitcher in the big leagues. They just didn’t think he’d be doing it in their pinstripes.

Tanaka is unbeaten in his last 42 regular-season starts and will face the National League’s worst team on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. At 6-0 with a 2.17 ERA – and 66 strikeouts against seven walks through 58 innings – Tanaka will be in the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and All-Star starter conversations.

[MORE – After rocky start, Travis Wood turns the corner]

Epstein’s front office expected a big-market team like the Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers to push the bidding to a place that could cripple a payroll limited by ownership’s leveraged partnership, as well as the uncertainties surrounding the Wrigley Field renovations and the next TV deals.

That final bid didn’t even include the $20 million release fee for Tanaka’s Japanese club, and it didn’t come close to the seven-year, $155 million megadeal the Yankees gave their new ace.

The Cubs did beat the Yankees for $30 million Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler with the help of Eljaua, who got hired by the Jim Hendry administration and stayed on as a key presence for the franchise in Latin America.

But mostly it’s been one disappointment after another at Clark and Addison. There was a point where the Cubs thought they were going to sign Soler and Yoenis Cespedes, until the Oakland A’s offered $36 million over four years instead of six.

The Cubs were played by Anibal Sanchez, who got $80 million guaranteed from the Detroit Tigers and led the American League in ERA last season.

[MORE – Edwin Jackson’s dominant effort spoils Matt Garza’s return]

The Cubs were blown away in the Hyun-Jin Ryu bidding, with the Dodgers getting the South Korean right-hander who recently turned 27 and has gone 17-10 with a 3.00 ERA through his first 37 starts.

Driven by rumors and Chicago media leaks, even last year’s manager search had a runner-up feeling, with Joe Girardi staying in The Bronx and Yankees GM Brian Cashman saying: “I never felt he was leaving us.”

In Year 3 of the full-scale rebuild, the Cubs are looking for silver linings.

“(Matt) Garza blacks out a 96 mph fastball to Matt Holliday in the summer of 2012 in St. Louis,” Epstein said. “We think we’re going to clean up in a trade for him. We might be able to get Mike Olt. And then an inning later, he walks off the mound holding his elbow and we get nothing.

“We thought we lost. It turns out we won, because a year later, (Garza) pitched great for five weeks and we were able to trade him for C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez.”

[RELATED – Wrigley return doesn’t end Matt Garza’s frustration]

So is this the older, wiser Theo?

“I was still pissed,” Epstein said. “But it’s just the more experiences you have, you realize you never know in this game. We had an organizational credo at the Red Sox when I first started, which we would always bring up from time to time: ‘We don’t know (bleep).’

“Basically, as a reminder that when you think you have the game figured out, look closer, because you don’t. There are so many arbitrary aspects to this game, so much luck involved. If you’re on a roll, you’re making good decisions, you think you have something figured out, you probably just got a little bit lucky and karma will get you.”

Keeping the “powder dry”

Epstein left Boston thinking he’d be running another superpower, the Evil Empire of the Midwest.

The Cubs are 15-27 and heading toward another summer sell-off and another last-place finish. All the talk is about the draft and the farm system, questioning why Javier Baez is struggling at Triple-A Iowa and wondering why Kris Bryant hasn’t been promoted from Double-A Tennessee, without realizing the irony.

Tanaka, who’s only 25 years old, would have changed the conversation and given some credibility to the franchise’s business/baseball plans.

Where would the Yankees be without Tanaka? Injuries have shredded the rotation, but they’re still a first-place team, 7-1 on the days he pitches and 16-19 when he doesn’t.

After losing the Tanaka sweepstakes, the Cubs kept most of their “powder dry,” signing Jason Hammel (4-2, 3.06 ERA) to a one-year deal, hoping he can keep boosting his trade value with another strong start on Tuesday against Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter and the Bronx Bombers.

After seeing what pre-DL Jose Abreu had done on the South Side, Cubs fans hope the game-changing moves are still out there. After all, Contreras (78-67, 4.57 ERA) never lived up to the enormous expectations, lasting parts of two seasons in New York before getting traded to the White Sox (and helping them win the 2005 World Series).

[RELATED – Can any Cubs prospect match what Jose Abreu has done?]

“‘We don’t know (bleep)’ is a way to remind yourself – and remind everyone around you – that there is way more we don’t know about the game than what we do know about the game,” Epstein said. “All you can really do is set a vision, hire great people, make sure your processes are really sound and keep trying to get better each day and let things fall where they may. That’s as true now as it was then.”