And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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I went to the optometrist’s office yesterday for an eye exam. They gave me the eye drops. And they were worse than usual. In addition to causing my pupils to dilate and my vision to blur, they somehow caused me to be transported back in time to 1968 when no one could score any damn runs.  What are in those things, man?

White Sox 1, Indians 0: Everyone who expected Jake Peavy to pitch a three-hit shutout in his second start after his return to the rotation, raise your hand. Not so fast, Mr. Peavy! You had a freaking detached latissimus dorsi muscle, and should barely be lifting your arm at all at this point, let alone raising it in response to my questions! Man, modern medicine is pretty damn incredible.

Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: There was a time a couple of years ago when my first impulse with these recaps would be to focus on any outstanding pitching outings first. Since it’s the Deadball Era, Mark III apparently, I’m going to need a new approach.  How about this: An offensive explosion for the Red Sox in the eighth as Saltalamacchia hit an RBI double, busting the game wide open!!!!  Five straight wins for the Bosox.

Phillies 2, Rockies 1: Whoa, a winning team scoring more than one run? Show offs.  Cole Hamels allowed one run on five hits, striking out eight. Jason Giambi ended the game striking out as a pinch hitter. Based on both the looks of him and on the amount of life seemingly left in him, he may as well be Quint in “Jaws” at this point.

Yankees 4, Orioles 1: Fifteen innings, with the win for New York coming courtesy of two-run double by Robinson Cano.  Of course getting us to extra innings in the first place was the Orioles tying it up in the ninth, and with respect to that, the big point of contention in real time (i.e. on Twitter) was Joe Girardi’s decision to send Mariano Rivera out for the ninth inning with a 1-0 lead instead of letting Bartolo Colon finish the game.

Stop and think for a minute how insane that sounds as an actual point of contention.  Yes, I realize that Colon was on it last night and had thrown only 87 pitches.  And I’m actually cool with people who say that, if they were in Joe Girardi’s shoes, they’d have kept Colon in the game because hey, Rivera doesn’t have to close out every win.  But on what friggin’ planet have we landed where someone can actually rip a manager for sending out MARIANO FREAKING RIVERA to protect a ninth inning lead?  Neither decision would have been a bad one. The one that Girardi had made happened to backfire. Shit happens. And besides, if it’s not for the Yankees’ impotent bats, we’re not even having this conversation.

Academic now because, hey, the Yankees won, but if they hadn’t, how much disingenuous criticism of Girardi would there be over this?  And now that I think about it, it’s 5:40 in the morning as I’m writing this and I haven’t read the New York papers yet. Maybe there still is some criticism.

Cubs 7, Marlins 5: Highlight of the game: buck naked streaker. Second best highlight: Marlon Byrd’s tie-breaking homer in the eighth.  Hey, cut me some slack. I see homers every day.

Pirates 5, Reds 0: Remember when we were making fun of Charlie Morton for aping Roy Halladay’s delivery and we were saying stuff like “yeah, you wish, buddy!”  Well, I’m not sayin’ they’re even or anything, but it is worth noting that Halladay hasn’t pitched a complete game shutout this year and he only has one game with a higher game score than Morton had in this one.  And, though there’s a huge difference in quality in Halladay’s favor once you dig into the peripherals, just for fun let us note that Charlie Morton is 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA and Halladay is 5-3 with a 2.21.

Mets 3, Nationals 0: No healthy position players, no fans in the stands, no dry weather, no problem: Jon Niese threw seven shutout innings and Justin Turner continued his nice little run with a two-run double.

Cardinals 5, Astros 1: A costly win as the Cardinals had both Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday leave the game with injuries.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Tampa Bay jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning and then held on. Matt Joyce homered and is at .365/.434/.619 on the year. Elliot Johnson had three RBI.

Rangers 5, Royals 4: Eric Hosmer’s homer in the bottom off the ninth of Neftali Feliz tied it, and the Royals had a chance to win after that when both Jeff Francoeur and Billy Butler reached base. However, each was pinch-run for — by Jarrod Dyson and Mike Aviles, respectively — and both Dyson and Aviles were picked off first. Mercy. Into extra innings, where Adrian Beltre’s two-run single in the 11th proves to be the game winner.

Giants 8, Dodgers 5: On a night when so many teams couldn’t muster offense, the two lowest-scoring teams in the NL combine for 13. Because that makes sense.

Brewers 5, Padres 2: The Brewers have the worst road record in baseball. The Padres had the worst home record. Something had to give!

Mariners 3, Angels 0: Jason Vargas shuts out the Angels on four hits over seven innings while striking out nine. Two RBI singles for Jack Cust proving that, contrary to popular belief, he is not in fact dead.

Twins 4, Athletics 3: Three RBI for Trevor Plouffe, including the game-winning sac fly in the 10th. Two wins in a row for Minnesota. In their case I don’t think it’s too much to call this a winning streak.

Diamondbacks 5, Braves 4: Ryan Roberts scored from third on an infield hit by Justin Upton in the bottom of the 11th — despite the Braves’ drawn-in infield — completing the comeback win. Atlanta had its chances to win this one but ran its way out of a great scoring opportunity in the sixth and couldn’t nail down leads in the 7th and the 11th.  Not surprisingly, Fredi Gonzalez used Jonny Venters, Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel again.  At this rate they’re each going to have close to 90 appearances.  Take it easy Fredi.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.