And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Braves 4, Mets 1: Johan Santana struck out 11 Braves, but they nickled
and dimed him for three runs in the first and then Chipper Jones knocked
one out off him in the seventh. Chipper’s career may be on death’s
door, but he could wake up in 2027 and hit a home run off the Mets. It’s
just what he does. And you bet your bippy I have this one first with a pic of Jones hitting the bomb because it will drive Mets fans nuts.

Rays 4, Twins 2: Jeremy Hellickson gets called up, makes his major
league debut, allows two runs on three hits over seven innings while
beating one of the hottest teams in baseball and then is promptly sent
right back down to Durham. I bet he’ll be on a bus this afternoon,
telling the other Durham Bulls about how you never handle your luggage
in the
show, somebody else carries your bags. About how you hit white
balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the
hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and
brains.

Indians 6, Red Sox 5: I’m not linking to video of Carlos Santana’s knee injury, nor do I even want to think about it. I watched the play once — won’t watch it again — and I couldn’t tell based on my one viewing of it if Santana was out of position or messed up in the way he took that throw. All I can think is about how, as I watched him hit multiple times in Columbus this year and once in Cleveland, that the guy was born to have a bat in his hands but never looked quite right behind the plate. I hope he makes it back and proves me wrong next year.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 6: An ineffective A.J. Burnett watched the Jays make like the Gashouse Gorillas and do a conga line around the bases in the fifth inning and Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 5, but I’m sure this was somehow Joba Chamberlain’s fault. Six doubles for the Jays in that 5th inning, by the way, two of which came off the bat of Travis Snider.

Reds 4, Pirates 0: Travis Wood toyed with the Buccos, shutting them out on two hits over seven innings. Miguel Cairo continues to play decidedly un-Miguel Cairolike baseball, getting two RBI and keeping his average at a cool .300 on the season.

Brewers 18, Cubs 1: I accidentally closed out of the page with the box score so I can’t be 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure this one ended with the mercy rule being applied in the fourth inning and Lou Piniella talking his players out for ice cream afterwards, telling them that the point of the game is to simply try your best.

Astros 9, Cardinals 4: I didn’t watch any of this game, but based only on the box score I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Tony La Russa overthought the matchups with his bullpen and once again pulled his best reliever out of the game in order to go with an inferior one that God Almighty himself wouldn’t put into the game in that situation. If that’s what happened, I’ll take it one step further and guess that La Russa did not accept any responsibility over this afterward and instead said something like “God Almighty doesn’t have access to my super secret pitching charts and assorted genius goodies.”  Welcome to St. Louis, Jake Westbrook (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K).

Athletics 6, Royals 0: If you polled 100 casual baseball fans I wonder how many of them would be able to tell you the first thing about Trevor Cahill. Whether it’s because he’s on the west coast or because he’s an Athletic I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the number is small. A shame too, because the kid is something else. He three-hit the Royals last night, moving to 11-4 on the season and lowering his ERA to 2.72.

Padres 10, Dodgers 5: Chase Headley had four hits including a three-run bomb and Will Venable homered and drove in four. The Dodgers matched the Padres in the hit department with 14, but hit into double plays, stranded runners and generally played like a team that looked like it’s nine games out of first place. Which it is.

Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 1: I’m trying to think of anything more annoying for an opposing fanbase than to have the local nine get totally flummoxed by Livan Hernandez but I can’t think of a thing. He just throws his slop up there and — when the slop is working — you just can’t do anything with it despite it looking like you should be able to totally crush the guy. It was working last night (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K).

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.