And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 4, Padres 0: Tough break for San Diego to have Adam Wainwright figure it out and throw a four-hit shutout while they were in town, but I really do need them to go on a bad skid right now. I’m taking my kids to their first major league game when we go to San Diego next month — Rangers-Padres on June 18! —  and it would be really useful for me if the secondary market was flooded with cheap, unwanted tickets.

Nationals 5, Phillies 2: A lot of folks in the Bryce Harper/Philly threads of the past few days have said stuff about how, for all of the talk, this isn’t truly a rivalry. I tend to agree. For it to be a real rivalry, one team can’t dominate the matchups so thoroughly. The Nats take the fourth of five meetings so far this year, and have beaten Philly six straight times in Citizens Bank Park. Harper singled, tripled and drove in two.

Reds 4, Braves 3: Brandon Phillips hit two homers and Brandon Beachy backs up his best start of the season with his worst (7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER). Not that it was horrible. You can get a win with a line like that, but Mat Latos was better (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8K). Michael Bourn had two home runs in a losing cause. In case you haven’t noticed it, Bourn — a Boras clients — is making himself some serious bank in his walk year (.323/.376/.439, 13 SB and the usual solid D).

Mets 3, Pirates 2: R.A. Dickey struck out 11 in seven innings, which was a career high. Which means that in the space of five days the Pirates were dominated by one of the the hardest throwing starters in baseball in Justin Verlander and one of the softest throwing in Dickey. The Pirates offense is like some weird scientific control group or something. A time trial. They’re setting the bogey for every pitcher in baseball, and there’s something damn noble about that.

Twins 9, White Sox 2: Twins fans aren’t quite sure what to make of a starting pitcher who goes deep into games and strikes out a lot of batters, but they’ll accept what they got from P.J. Walters last night (CG, 5 H, 2 ER, 8K).

Marlins 7, Rockies 6: Nolasco vs. Nicasio! With special referee Tom Nieto!  On hand were Chris Nabholz, Russ Nagelson and Cholly NaranjoTsuyoshi Nishioka sends his regrets from Rochester.

Astros 2, Cubs 1: The Astros gotta be the most respectable team everyone thought would lose 100+ games in history, right? Jose Altuve with a homer, Brett “trade for me because I’m a proven closer, I swear” Myers got his 11th save.

Rays 8, Blue Jays 5: Carlos Pena was moved to the leadoff spot and had two hits, including a homer. Dude: you’re a table setter. Make things happen. Home runs kill rallies. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that?

Yankees 3, Royals 2: New York is lucky they won this one. Because I have it on good authority that all of those hacks who write “If the Boss was alive …” columns when the Yankees struggle are in the process of actually reanimating Steinbrenner’s corpse and unleashing him on the populace. He’ll have a hunger for brains. And calzones. But mostly brains.

Indians 5, Tigers 3: Cleveland ends a ten-game losing streak to the Tigers. Andy Dirks had two hits in the two-hole and Miguel Cabrera was walked three times batting third. Prince Fielder was 0 for 5, however.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 1; Brian Matusz struck out nine in six and a third as the Red Sox managed only two hits all damn night. I think it would be hilarious now if Josh Beckett called a closed-door meeting in which the pitchers yelled at the Red Sox hitters, after which Beckett came out and told the press that he’s totally a leader. And if he had the whole press conference while wearing Payne Stewart-style golf pants.

Giants 6, Brewers 4: Giancarlo Stanton, nothin’: Buster Posey homered off the Miller Park scoreboard. He also hit a double and blocked the plate to prevent a run, which is something he was told not to do, but hey, heat of battle, yo.  The Giants have won eight of eleven.

Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 7: Down one in the ninth inning and down to their last out, the Dodgers Ivan De Jesus hit a two-run double, completing the comeback after being down 6-1 in the sixth inning. It was the Dodgers’ sixth straight win. The Dbacks’ bullpen work was reminiscent of 2010.

Rangers 3, Mariners 1:  Elvis Andrus tripled home two runs in the third, but it was one of only four hits for the Rangers who won this one with pitching and defense. Matt Harrison tied up the M’s (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) and Josh Hamilton made two pretty spectacular plays in the outfield, robbing Seattle of hits.

Angels 5, Athletics 1: C.J. Wilson probably figured before the game “heck, our offense stinks, but if the other guys can’t score, they can’t win.”  So he shut out the A’s on one hit over eight innings. A homer and a sacrifice fly for Pujols.

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.”