And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Tigers 1: If I were to tell you that one of this game’s starting pitchers — Justin Verlander or Phil Hughes — was going to toss a complete game, I’m guessing none of you would have guessed it would be Hughes.  But that he did, allowing one run on four hits. Verlander loses his third in a row. Him pitching lights-out had been the last preseason expectation being met for the Tigers. Now they seem utterly lost.

Mets 6, Cardinals 1: Well, it took them 26 innings of a 27 inning series to actually score a run, but the Cards got on the board in this one at least. But, yeah, just a trainwreck of a weekend for St. Louis. Or, if you prefer, a buzzsaw of a weekend for Mets pitching. I mean, not often that the six innings of ten-strikeout, shutout ball that Jon Niese posted last night would be the third best pitching performance in a given series, but there you are.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: Quick, what’s this?  Answer: a plot of where the pitches Daniel Bard threw in Toronto yesterday ended up.  The Jays had a 5-0 lead after two innings with Bard having given up only one hit. Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer and was walked to force in a run. But really, I think Bard walked almost everyone in Ontario yesterday, so it’s not like it was that big a deal.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 0: Trevor Cahill added to the parade of excellent pitching performances yesterday, twirling a six-hit shutout. Paul Goldschmidt homered and ran his hitting streak to 12 games. Note: you can’t really “twirl” many other things than a shutout. And using “ran” as a verb like I did there, while not exclusive to sports streaks, has a very high correlation with them.

Giants 2, Cubs 0: Barry Zito: does he (all together now) finally have it together, or is he merely a barometer of how bad the Cubs are? (8 .1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Braves 3, Nationals 2: Halley’s Comet. The McRib. A Braves victory over the Nationals.  You savor them when the come because they are just so damn rare.

Royals 2, Athletics 0: Oakland was shutout again, this time by former A Vin Mazzaro who, with all due respect, shouldn’t be shutting out anyone for that long.  Of course it was the third time in the past four games the A’s have been blanked, so your Aunt Tilly could probably pitch six innings of shutout ball against them. They’ve lost 10 of 11.

Marlins 5, Phillies 1: Carlos Zambrano gave up one run over seven and two thirds and hit a homer.  Even before the homer, on paper, I think Zambrano was a bigger threat than the Phillies cleanup hitter: Hector Luna.

White Sox 4, Mariners 2: Chris Sale went the distance, allowing two runs against what has, recently anyway, been a pretty potent Mariners attack. He leads the AL with a 2.29 ERA. From the AP gamer: “Kevin Millwood was beset by control problems.” This is not a repeat of, well, most games since 2006 or so.

Rangers 7, Angels 3: the Rangers snap their four-game skid behind a couple RBI a piece from Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus and a decent showing from Matt Harrison.

Pirates 6, Brewers 5: James McDonald continues his fine work, striking out eight in six innings while allowing a single earned run. Brooks Conrad played a little shortstop in this one for Milwaukee. Which is an interesting choice.

Twins 6, Indians 3: Break up the Twinkies! They’ve won five of six. Since their tone-setting sweep of the Tigers, Cleveland is 2-7. So, so much for tone-setting.

Astros 5, Reds 3: Houston wins for the first time in nine tries. Jordan Lyles gave up only two earned runs over seven innings.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 2: Alex White shuts out the Dodgers into the seventh inning before running out of gas, but it was enough to give L.A. its sixth loss in seven games.

Rays 8, Orioles 4: Productive weekend as the Rays put the Orioles in the rear-view mirror in the AL East. It’s been a nice run for the O’s, but it’s probably over.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.