And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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White Sox 5, Rays 0: Nice game for Josh Fields (1-4, grand
slam). Scott Kazmir’s nightmare season continues. Rumors have him on
the trading block to free up some salary for the Rays to get Lee or
someone. What a difference a year makes. Wait, why are you looking at
me like that? Did something else happen in this game worthy of comment?

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: And with that, the AL Central is tied.
Perfect game juju gives the Sox the momentum, though (that’s how that
works, right?). And how about Jarrod Washburn? Walk a few less guys,
strike a few more guys out, and bammo — you’re ending July at 8-6 with
a 2.71 ERA.

Giants 5, Braves 1: It makes total sense that the Braves hit Tim
Lincecum like he’s Derek Lilliquist and then get shut down by Barry
Zito (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). You’re not going to believe this, but Bobby Cox
was ejected. Strange, though. It was only about 80 degrees and the game
was tied. He usually saves that sort of thing for the really hot days
when the game’s outcome is no longer in doubt. Unlike almost all of his
other ejections it’s possible that he was really upset here.

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: You can leave in a taxi. If you can’t get a taxi, you can leave in a Huff
(7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER). If that’s too soon, you can leave in a minute and
a huff. You know, you haven’t stopped talking since I came here? You
must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Phillies 9, Padres 4: It strikes me that a lot of that “but the Phillies need
Roy Halladay” talk implicitly assumes that Cole Hamels is going to
continue to be a 4.80ish kind of pitcher all year, and I can’t say I’m
sure why people think that. No, the Padres aren’t exactly a formidable
test, but I have this feeling that this fall’s Cole Hamels is going to
look an awful lot like last fall’s Cole Hamels.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Rain put an end to this one early, as
the field became an unplayable mess. Tony La Russa on the conditions
and the grounds crew’s efforts: “You can’t try harder than that —
whether it’s the grounds crew or the umpire. Mother Nature is always
stronger than anybody.” I’d call that profound if I thought he believed
it. Let’s be honest: if there’s a manager in baseball who spends his
offseason building weather-controlling satellites and wishes to one day
destroy the sun itself, it’s Tony La Russa. The man is not exactly the
type to simply defer to nature or anything else. Pfun Pfact: Cards GM
John Mozeliak was on NPR yesterday afternoon being interviewed about
the fact that the team plans on taking the train from D.C. to Philly in
advance of tonight’s game, which is kind of cool. To get in the
era-of-train-travel mood they should all wear suits and smoke too.

Yankees 6, A’s 3: ESPN’s little “Fast facts” box
said “The Yankees came back from four runs down to win their seventh
straight game . . . New York trailed 4-0 before scoring four runs in
the fourth inning.” What happened? Did New York have to begin the game
with -1 runs for some reason, or was Oakland docked one?

Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 4: In a rare events, the Dbacks scored
a lot in a Dan Haren start. Unfortunately for Dan, most of the runs
came after he left the game, so he got a no-decision. Chad Tracy hit a
pinch-hit three-run homer that broke the game open. I have this feeling
that it will not, however, inspire the kind of ruckus Manny Ramirez’s
did the day before.

Angels 6, Twins 5: Howie Kendrick hit one up the middle in the
ninth that ricocheted off of Joe Nathan’s glove and then hit the second
base bag, preventing anyone from making what would have been a
game-ending play and allowing the tying run to score. Not a hell of a
lot you can do about that if you’re the Twins except to hope you don’t
miss the playoffs by one game this year and spend all winter thinking
about stupid bounces.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”