And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 6, Brewers 5: Jake Westbrook with career win 100. And get this: dude allowed only one run in six innings and his ERA increased. Which, yes, will happen when you come in at 0.98. It’s now an unsightly 1.10. He talked after the game how 100 was a goal for him. And while, no, it isn’t 300, it represented him being a grinder and sticking around and stuff. I think there’s all kinds of underrated glory in that. 300 game winners are spectacular, but they’re on that far right side of the bell curve with which most folks don’t have a frame of reference. 100 game winners have been around the block and seen a good deal of bad to go with the good and all of that.

Orioles 5, Angels 1: Chris Tillman with eight shutout innings. He’s from Orange County, so maybe it was the home cooking. Unless maybe his mom can’t cook and it was really just like, “hey, awesome, we get to eat at Del Taco!” or something.

Tigers 7, Astros 3: Fourteen innings in Houston, decided when Houston intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to get to Don Kelly. Kelly was up to the challenge and singled in the go-ahead run. Matt Tuiasosopo then doubled in two more followed by a Jhonny Peralta sac fly. Get this: seven shutout innings from the Tiger bullpen. You don’t expect that very often.

Nationals 3, Braves 1: Washington earns the split behind a nice outing from Dan Haren, who was really in need of a nice outing. It was the first time he’d gone past the sixth inning this season. First time he reached the eighth in nearly a year.

White Sox 3, Rangers 1: You know what the real tragedy about all this is? Hector Santiago was not even supposed to be here today! But he was and pitched well (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6K). Then he closed the store to play hockey, went to a wake and tried to win back his ex-girlfriend without even discussing how he felt about his present one.

Phillies 7, Marlins 2: Kyle Kendrick: Phillies ace. He picks up his third win after allowing only two runs over seven innings. Domonic Brown was 3 for 4 with a homer. Ryan Howard had a solo shot. Juan Pierre notched his 600th career steal.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays waked a lot of Red Sox. How many times did they walk the Red Sox?

Haha, no, actually it was ten. And David Ortiz even took the day off. Man.

Padres 4, Cubs 2:  Travis Wood deserved better, but bad defense and bad bullpen work did him in.

Rays vs. Royals: POSTPONED: Last time I was here, it was rainin, doesn’t rain here anymore. The streets were drowned, and the water’s waining, all the runes washed to shore. Now I’m here lookin’ through the rubble, tryin’ to find out who we were. Last time I was here, it was rainin, ain’t rainin’ anymore.

Columnist bashes Bryce Harper’s fundamentals, “write it,” says Nats player

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Tom Boswell of the Washington Post wrote a column over the weekend about how the 2019 Nats are looking really, really good. And for the most part it’s a column that makes a lot of sense. The Nats added some key pieces this offseason and, because so much of their underachieving 2018 season was based on health, particularly in the bullpen, there is reason to be optimistic this coming year.

There is one weird passage in the middle of the column, though: a swipe at Bryce Harper, his fundamentals and his attitude. The upshot: Boswell is arguing that losing Harper to free agency is addition by subtraction:

Though few mention it, subtracting Harper, while it will cost 34 homers, a .899 career OPS and some amazing hair flips, would help any team improve its attention to fundamentals. When the most famous player on the team can’t go 10 days without failing to run out a groundball or overthrowing a cutoff man by 15 feet or throwing to the wrong base or being caught unprepared in the outfield or on the bases, it’s hard to demand total alertness from the other 24.

“Write it,” one prominent Nats vet said.

The “Write it” is what has me most fascinated.

It could possibly be read in two different ways. One way would be for that to be the non-committal reaction of a player when Boswell bounced his Harper-is-a-slacker theory. Saying, in effect, “you write that if that’s your take.” It seems far more likely to me though, that Boswell is echoing the off-the-record sentiments of Harper’s former Nats teammates and the “write it” is an encouraging plea to give public voice to that which the player has chosen not to.

If it is the latter, this would only be the latest of many anonymously-sourced disgruntled sentiments from the Nats clubhouse over the years. Former manager Matt Williams had a full-scare revolt on his hands that made it into the media. Last year Dave Martinez’s clubhouse had someone saying negative things to the press as well, and it was so bad that GM Mike Rizzo sent off a useful reliever — at a time when the Nats really, really needed a useful reliever — because he was the suspected source. If Boswell is giving voice to some anti-Harper sentiment in Nats camp, it’s just more soap opera from a bunch that, historically, can’t seem to handle their issues in-house.

As for the substance: I don’t watch Harper as much as Nats fans do — and I can’t say that I’ve ever heard anyone describe him as some sort of lazy slacker — but sure, there are players who are more fundamentally sound than him. It’s also the case, though, that Harper has always been judged more harshly for his deportment than a lot of players in the league, so I’m not prepared to totally defer to word of mouth — especially anonymous word-of-mouth — to someone slamming him on that stuff.

It’s still pretty interesting, though, that in an offseason in which the average fan’s take is that Manny Machado is the no-hustle slacker who should be avoided, that Machado’s former teammates have had no complaints about him, while Harper’s former teammates seem to have the knives out for him.