And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Twins 1, Indians 0: Our season-long tribute to 1968 continued last night with four games in which the losing team was shut out. Here both teams posted goose eggs for nine innings and Eduardo Escobar’s 10th inning homer was the only offense.

Nationals 4, Dodgers 0: A three hour-plus rain delay chased Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann. Five Nats relievers finished what Zimmermann started, however, completing the shutout. Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa two-run homers bookended the scoring here.

Tigers 2, Astros 0: Max Scherzer gambled by not taking what was reported to be a huge long term contract offer from the Tigers this past offseason, but so far the gamble is looking pretty good. He’s 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA after shutting down the Astros for eight innings on three hits while striking out nine. Anthony Bass pitched an inning for the Astros. He’s from the Detroit area and pitched at Wayne State. His mom was in the stands and the Fox Sports Detroit crew interviewed her and had the camera trained on her. Then he gave up a homer to Victor Martinez. So that was an uncomfortable bit of narrative building gone awry.

Blue Jays 3, Phillies 0: Old friend J.A. Happ shut out the Phillies for five and the bullpen carried it home. Kyle Kendrick gave up three runs in the first two innings. A costly win for the Jays, as they lost Brett Lawrie with a hamstring injury.

Cardinals 4, Braves 3: Lucky number seven losses in a row for Atlanta. This one despite Fredi Gonzalez’s tribute to Tony La Russa via batting the pitcher eighth. Ninth hitter Ramiro Pena went 2 for 4 and homered so I guess that sorta worked, but Gonzalez can manage the hell out of a game and it’s all for naught if the Uptons and Chris Johnson go a collective 0 for 11 and you spot the opposition a 5-0 lead. In other news, on April 10, Freddie Freeman said “pitchers got nothin’ to get me out with.” He went 2 for 4 last night but since then he’s batting .258. In the past ten days he’s batting .225. Guess those pitchers found something.

Angels 4, Yankees 1: Jered Weaver allowed one run over eight and Ernesto Frieri, apparently restored to closing duties by Mike Scioscia, handled the ninth. Joe Girardi and Yankees pitcher Shawn Kelley were ejected in the eighth for arguing balls and strikes. I wonder if we’ll have a lot more of those this year. Managers can’t argue anything else anymore now that replay is here, so they have to channel that stuff someplace else, right?

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Stefen Romero’s first major league homer broke the tie in the fifth and put Seattle up for good. Chris Young allowed two hits over six strong innings to win his second straight start

Marlins 4, Mets 3: The Mets took a 3-0 lead into the eighth but the Fish rallied for three that inning and walked off in the ninth on a Casey McGehee RBI single. That eighth inning rally came while Dice-K was pitching for the Mets, ruining a Jon Niese gem, so I assume that bullpen experiment with him is nearing an end.

Giants 11, Pirates 10: If the shutouts were an homage to 1968 this one was an homage to 1999: a long game with crappy pitching which ended on a bad defensive play. Of course that run scored on a bunt by one pitcher to the opposing pitcher, so there was some element of small-ball at play here. The Giants win their sixth straight after being down by six runs after five innings. In other news, one of the Pirates’ pleasant surprises last year — Jeff Locke — made his first big league start of the season here and looked terrible. Then again the Pirates as a whole, at 12-20, are reminding us all that it’s not 2013 again.

White Sox 3, Cubs 1: Baseball used to pump up these big city crosstown interleague rivalries with P.R. and weekend starts. Guess we don’t do that anymore, because I didn’t hear a peep about this one until I looked at the scores before bed last night. Anyway, Jose Quintana freakin’ rolled, allowing only one hit and a sac fly over seven innings and Marcus Semien hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the top of the 12th. Jeff Samardzija deserved a better fate: he went nine, allowing only an unearned run on a sac fly in the first inning, but got no decision.

Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 3: Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff homer, walked three times, singled and drove in three. A lot of people say Gomez doesn’t respect the game. Who cares if he can play it this well. He’s at .291/.360/.567 on the season and is probably the best defensive center fielder in baseball. The game should respect him.

Rockies 8, Rangers 2: Troy Tulowitzki won the April Player of the Month Award yesterday then went out and hit two homers and drove in four. Meanwhile, Jordan Lyles improved to 4-0 with a 2.62 ERA so, despite the guff the Rockies took for dealing Dexter Fowler, that trade is working out for Colorado so far.

Padres 6, Royals 5: Another 12-inning game, this one ending on a Will Venable two-run single. It was the second walkoff in a row for the Padres. And that wasn’t the only drama: Jedd Gyorko’s ninth inning homer forced extras.

This Day in Transaction History: Padres pawn off James Shields

James Shields
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For a few years, starter James Shields was quite dominant. From 2011-14 with the Rays and Royals, the right-hander made a minimum of 33 starts each season with a 3.17 ERA. He peaked in ’11, finishing with a 2.82 ERA and finishing third in American League Cy Young balloting.

Shields leveraged that 2011-14 run into a four-year, $75 million contract with the Padres, inked in February 2015. It wasn’t an outright disaster of a contract for the Padres, but Shields did not live up to expectations. In his first year with the Padres, he posted a 3.91 ERA. Through the first two months of the 2016 season, Shields allowed 32 earned runs over 67 1/3 innings. The Padres, however, scored only 22 runs in his 11 games, so he was 2-7 after 11 starts. Shields also gave up one of the more memorable home runs in recent history on May 7, 2016:

On June 4, the Padres moved Shields and $27 million of the $58 million remaining on his contract to the White Sox. The White Sox gave up pitcher Erik Johnson and an infield prospect named Fernando Tatís Jr.

If the White Sox had a do-over button, they would have pressed it. Shields, 34 at the time of the trade, had a disastrous rest of the 2016 season, posting a 6.77 ERA in 22 starts for the White Sox. He finished out the remainder of his contract in Chicago, registering a 5.23 ERA in 2017 and a 4.53 ERA in ’18. Shields went into free agency but went unsigned and hasn’t pitched since.

Johnson flamed out after the 2016 season, yielding 20 runs in 19 2/3 innings in four starts for the Padres. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 and spent the ’18 campaign between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso.

Tatís, as we know now, was the jewel of the trade. The White Sox signed Tatís as a 16-year-old as a free agent. A year later, before he ever appeared in a professional game in the White Sox organization, he was moved in a big trade. While it took him a couple of years to appear on top-100 prospect lists, his talent was readily apparent. In 2017, Tatís spent most of his season with Single-A Fort Wayne. He accrued 26 doubles, 21 homers, 29 stolen bases, 69 RBI, and 78 runs scored in 518 trips to the plate. Going into the 2018 season, Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus each ranked him among the top-10 prospects in the game.

Tatís was off to another great start in 2018. Through 88 games, he had a .286/.355/.507 line with 22 doubles, 16 homers, 16 stolen bases, 43 RBI, and 77 runs scored spanning 394 plate appearances. Sadly, in mid-July, Tatís broke his left thumb and suffered ligament damage while making a head-first slide. He recovered from the injury, playing in the Dominican Winter League and having another strong performance over 23 games. Tatís followed that up with a productive spring training, giving the Padres only one choice. He began the season on the Opening Day roster and jumped out to become one of baseball’s best players.

Over his first 84 games as a major leaguer, Tatís batted .317/.379/.590 with 13 doubles, six triples, 22 home runs, 16 steals, 53 RBI, and 61 runs scored over 372 plate appearances. Baseball Reference put him at 4.1 Wins Above Replacement. Sadly, similar to 2018, Tatís suffered a season-ending injury, a stress reaction in his lower back. At the time, he was neck-and-neck with Pete Alonso and Mike Soroka in the NL Rookie of the Year race. The injury allowed Alonso to win the award in a landslide while Tatís finished third.

While the White Sox would have loved to have Tatís at third base, they did end up finding some quality players in Yoán Moncada at the hot corner and Tim Anderson at shortstop. The White Sox and their young corps are close to being competitive again, but having Tatís in tow certainly would have sped up the process. And the Padres likely never would have gotten Tatís if they hadn’t inked Shields first.