And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 3, Cardinals 0: Alex Cobb tossed seven shutout innings and ten strikeouts. He also drove in a run with his first major league hit — a double. That makes it seven in a row for the Rays who just keep on keeping on. They’re now seven back in the East and four and a half back in the wild card.

Braves 6, Marlins 1: It was 5-0 after two innings and not much was left to be decided. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer. This after going an (estimated) 0 for 4,408 against the Marlins this season.

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4: The Red Sox went up 3-0 right out of the gate but Jose Bautista and Josh Thole hit RBI doubles in the bottom of the inning to tie it up. Bautista later smacked a leadoff homer in the seventh. R.A. Dickey limited the damage after the first, allowing four runs and nine hits in six.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 1: Pittsburgh batted around in the first inning, plating four against Dan Haren and were never threatened after that as Francisco Lirano posted his best start of the season. The Pirates have won five of six.

Tigers 11, Diamondbacks 5: The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead, the Diamondbacks made it 7-5 but Detroit pulled away. Austin Jackson hit a three-run double fourth inning and Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the eighth. Alex Avila added three RBI.

Mets 3, Mariners 2: Bartolo Colon had a perfect game going into the seventh and ended up allowing two runs on three hits in seven and a third. Colon is now 13-1 all time in Safeco Field.

Rockies 6, Nationals 4: Colorado snaps a seven game losing streak and the Nats fall back to one game ahead of the Braves. Jorge De La Rosa struck out 11. All of the Rockies — including manager Walt Weiss — decided to wear high socks for this one. Which was clearly the difference-maker.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Mike Moustakas was dead to rights when he tried to score from second on a single in the ninth inning. Adam Eaton’s throw had him beat. But even though everyone obeyed the home plate collision rules — Moustakas slid and catcher Tyler Flowers attempted to apply a tag — the ball still popped loose to give the Royals what proved to be the winning run.

Brewers 5, Reds 1: Someone throw the Reds a parachute. Mark Reynolds homered twice and Milwaukee handed Cincinnati their sixth straight loss. The Reds were one and a half games behind Milwaukee at the break. Now they’re five and a half back and have scored just 12 runs in those six losses.

Twins 3, Indians 1: Anthony Swarzak and five relief pitchers shut down the Indians. Swarzak is actually a relief pitcher these days too, actually, so let’s call this a bullpen game.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:10pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 8, Cubs 3: Ian Kennedy walked five guys in six innings but got out of jams — the pros call it “making pitches” — and survived for the win. The biggest jam he escaped came in the fifth when the Cubs loaded the bases. Kennedy bore down, however, striking out Anthony Rizzo and getting Starlin Castro to ground out to end the threat.

Athletics 9, Astros 7: Two homers and five RBI for Yoenis Cespedes, but it wasn’t all good news: Cespedes sprained his thumb on an awkward swing in the fifth inning. Also bad: Jim Johnson melted down in the eighth, allowing four runs on four hits without retiring a batter. The A’s would like to deal him. His pitching suggests that he is just happy as can be to stay in Oakland. Or, perhaps, wherever it is he makes his home when he’s not playing.

Angels 3, Orioles 2: Baltimore had a 2-1 lead entering the eighth, but an Erik Aybar double tied it up and a two-out bases-loaded walk to Kole Calhoun put the Angels ahead to stay. One of the runners on base when it happened was put there intentionally, so let’s call it an E-Manager.

Yankees 2, Rangers 1: The Yankees have won five of six. This was a weird one. Shortened due to rain, but more so due to the wet field after the rain delay was over. The reason the field was so wet: the Yankees grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field in a timely fashion when the rain first started, turning the infield into mud. If the Boss Were Still Alive he would have … wait, that gave the Yankees the win, so I guess he would’ve been OK with it.

Giants 3, Phillies 1: It was 0-0 entering the ninth but then Hunter Pence cleared the bases with a double to give the Giants all of their runs. Madison Bumgarner threw eight shutout innings. The Giants have now won six of seven and have a two-game lead on the Dodgers.

 

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.