Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tigers-White Sox opener in Chicago postponed because of rain

The Chicago White Sox paraded onto the field in convertible Mustangs with the tops down for the pregame introductions prior to their season opener against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
There was plenty of pomp and circumstance. There was also too much rain and - because of that - no game.
The White Sox postponed the opener against Detroit because of the downpour, delaying the start of a new era on Chicago's South Side.
The game rescheduled for Tuesday, with the Tigers' Justin Verlander and White Sox's Jose Quintana getting their starts pushed back a day.
"I think everybody was looking forward to starting the season, but obviously there are some things out of our control, and this happens to be one of them," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.
It had been raining all afternoon. With the field drenched and no break in the forecast, the game was called off 101 minutes after the scheduled start.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus didn't seem too concerned earlier in the day about the possibility of a postponement.
"No contingencies to work out," he said. "If we get rained out, we'll play tomorrow. At some point, we're going to play."
A bigger concern for him: Getting the Tigers back to the postseason.
They missed out for the second straight season after winning four straight AL Central championships. They finished eight games behind Cleveland in the division and just missed the wild card with 86 wins last year.
The White Sox, meanwhile, started rebuilding after a 78-84 finish and their fourth straight losing season.
Gone are ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton, both traded as management stocked up on young players. Those weren't the only changes.
There's a new manager, with Renteria replacing Robin Ventura. The ballpark has a new name, too - Guaranteed Rate Field instead of U.S. Cellular Field.
Change is definitely happening, and it's not hard to see why. After all, the White Sox have just one playoff appearance since the 2005 championship season.
While the record probably won't be great, there is at least some intrigue surrounding the team. That's because things are at least different.
Promising players such as second baseman Yoan Moncada, along with hard-throwing pitchers Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are in the pipeline thanks to the big trades.
Quintana could be the next star player to be traded. Veterans such as third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson could also be moved.
"Fundamentally, all of us in the front office started off as fans so we have that same default mindset about wanting things to be done quickly, but wanting them also to be done right," general manager Rick Hahn said.
"The trick is, is that we're at least privy to where conversations have been on certain players and can sleep well at night knowing that there really hasn't been anything presented to us that's been turned down that we look back in retrospect and could possibly kick ourselves for turning down. These aren't exact formulas, there's no clear-cut, this is the proper value, but we really haven't been presented with anything in recent months that's even been close to feeling like this is something we should do."
Tigers: RF J.D. Martinez (sprained right foot) is expected to begin rehabilitation this week.
White Sox: Hahn said LHP Carlos Rodon (bursitis in his left biceps) has been throwing and will likely begin working from a mound in a week. He will also go on a rehab assignment before returning from the 10-day disabled list. "We're going to take our time on this one," Hahn said.

Khris Davis homers twice as Athletics open by beating Angels

Bob Melvin threw batting practice to Khris Davis all spring and cannot remember the slugger clearing the fences once. Not in an exhibition game, either.
Davis saved those shots for opening night, hitting a go-ahead homer in the sixth and connected again leading off the eighth, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 to open the season Monday night.
Davis notched just the second multihomer game on opening day in Oakland history - Jason Giambi did it in 2000 - to back Kendall Graveman (1-0). The right-hander struck out seven over six innings.
"Quiet," Melvin said of Davis' spring. "I mean I'd throw BP to him almost every day and I don't know that he hit a ball out in BP this year in spring training let alone the game. And then hits two balls on a cold night that are no-doubters."
Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the third inning for the Angels, then Yonder Alonso's RBI single in the fifth tied it at 2.
"You get into the season, you get so anxious, you want to do so good," Trout said. "Keeping it simple helps you calm yourself. Once I got in the box the first at-bat I just tried to calm myself down."
Davis, who dealt with a sore quadriceps muscle leading up to the opener, connected first against Angels starter Ricky Nolasco (0-1) then JC Ramirez for his 12th career multihomer game. The slugger didn't hit his first home run last season until April 21 then finished with a career-high 42.
"It's pretty great. Just you know it's there, you know there's a little bit of hope even if it I'm not swinging it well in BP," said Davis, the first Oakland player with three hits on opening day since 2002. "I'd rather swing it good in the game than in BP."
Davis earned himself a $5 million contract by beating the A's in arbitration. He batted .247 for a second straight year with career highs in homers and with 102 RBIs in his first season in Oakland.
Stephen Vogt also homered to support Graveman, who allowed two runs and six hits pitching in place of ace Sonny Gray, who is nursing a lat strain and missed his second straight scheduled opening-day start. He had food poisoning last year.
Ryan Dull struck out the side in the seventh. Sean Doolittle retired the first two batters in the eighth before Ryan Madson relieved and allowed a double to Trout. Santiago Casilla, who blew nine saves in 2016 and was demoted as Giants closer, finished for his first save to begin his second stint with Oakland.
Melvin hadn't revealed who would close the first game. Casilla pounded his pitching hand into his glove to celebrate after the final out - just the second A's pitcher with a save on opening day in 24 years, joining Arthur Rhodes in 2004.
Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson used to sneak into the Coliseum as a boy when he had no money to buy tickets. Now, the diamond carries his name, "Rickey Henderson Field" - formally unveiled Monday.
"My heart and soul is forever Oakland," he told the crowd. "I love you, Oakland."
Henderson walked in from center field in a grand entrance. He received a rousing ovation and chants of "Rickey!" then walked down the line shaking every A's hand. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
By making the Angels' opening-day roster, right-hander Bud Norris earns a $1.75 million, one-year contract. It includes $2.5 million in performance bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for eight and 12; $500,000 apiece for 16, 20, 24 and 28; and $1 million based on relief appearances: $250,000 each for 30 and 40; $500,000 for 60.
Angels: Reliever Huston Street will begin a throwing program Tuesday as he nurses a strained back.
Athletics: Gray is close to test himself by throwing off the mound, likely later this week.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker makes his first start exactly seven months after being struck in the right side of the head by a line drive at Seattle on Sept. 4 and requiring surgery to stop bleeding on his brain.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea takes the ball after making his first opening-day roster, 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.

Keuchel, Correa lead Astros over Mariners 3-0

 After a terrible 2015, Dallas Keuchel desperately wanted to get off to a good start.
He did just that, allowing two hits over seven innings before Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles completed the three-hitter for the Houston Astros in an opening 3-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
Keuchel (1-0) went 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA last year after winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2015. He struck out four in winning on opening day for the third year in a row.
Last year, he didn't pitch after Aug. 27 because of shoulder inflammation.
"I know what I'm capable of doing when I'm healthy. I know how bad I can be when I'm not healthy," he said. "I knew I was good coming in and I was just hoping to get the team off to a good start."
Manager A.J. Hinch thinks Keuchel's struggles last season gave his ace an extra edge entering this year.
"I think he comes into this season with a little chip on his shoulder, and rightfully so," Hinch said. "For him on opening day I think he wants to set a tone for the club. I think he wanted to show that every five days when he gets the ball our team is going to rally behind him. It's certainly nice to have that as opposed to me sitting up here explaining a rough outing. And he responded in incredible fashion."
Gregerson allowed a hit and Giles walked one with three strikeouts for the save.
George Springer became Houston's first player since Terry Puhl in 1980 to lead off the first game with a home run. Carlos Correa homered and drove in two runs as Houston won on opening day for the fifth straight year.
Felix Hernandez (0-1), making his 10th opening day start, allowed two runs and five hits while striking out six in five innings before leaving with tightness in a groin. Hernandez pulled up after racing to cover first base for the second out of the fourth inning on Josh Reddick's grounder. Hernandez was looked at by trainers and threw a couple of warmup pitches before finishing the inning.
He returned to pitch a 1-2-3 fifth inning, then was replaced by Nick Vincent.
Hernandez said he will make his next turn in the rotation.
"It just got a little tight," he said. "I'll be all right. I'm going to be OK."
Springer hit his 10th leadoff home run. Correa made it 2-0 in the fourth with a 449-foot drive that sailed over the train tracks atop left field, then hit a sacrifice in the sixth.
Keuchel retired his first 10 batters before Robinson Cano singled and Nelson Cruz walked. A two-out walk by Danny Valencia loaded the bases, but Keuchel retired Leonys Martin on a groundout.
Despite struggles at the plate on Monday night, Seattle manager Scott Servais isn't worried about his lineup.
"We chased some balls outside of the zone, but it's opening day," he said. "Guys are fired up. They want to make an impact. They want to make a difference, and we got away from our game plan a little bit in that regard."
Astros: Houston starter Collin McHugh is to make am injury rehabilitation start on Thursday at Triple-A Fresno. McHugh opened the season on the 10-day disabled list because he experienced "dead arm" this spring. The Astros hope he will need just one start before returning to the rotation.
Seattle reliever Chase DeJong got called up from Triple-A Tacoma for his first stint in the majors on Monday because fellow reliever Dillon Overton went on the paternity list in anticipation of the birth of his first child.
DeJong was thrilled for the opportunity and is prepared to thank Overton for the opportunity this provided for him.
"I'm definitely buying him a baby gift," he said with a smile.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to pitch for Seattle on Tuesday in the second game of this four-game series. Iwakuma went 16-12 with a 4.12 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 33 starts last season.
Astros: Lance McCullers is slated to pitch for Houston on Tuesday. McCullers was 6-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 14 starts last year in a season plagued by injuries.

AL champion Indians rally in 9th, win opener 8-5 at Texas

 Edwin Encarnacion already is impressing the Cleveland Indians.
The Texas Rangers have already seen too much of the slugger.
Encarnacion hit a tying homer in the eighth inning of his first game with the Indians, and they scored three times in the ninth to open their American League title defense with an 8-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
"That's why we got him. It's a nice feeling. You could tell he had one thing in mind right there, and he did it," manager Terry Francona said.
"He can put the ball in the seats whenever," said Andrew Miller (1-0), who struck out two in a perfect eighth. "I think we're going to really enjoy him for 162 games. ... He's going to make us win."
Abraham Almonte hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth off Sam Dyson, who had 38 saves last season. Cody Allen got the save for Cleveland by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth around Elvis Andrus' triple.
Encarnacion has six home runs in his last nine games against the Rangers, including the AL Division Series sweep last October with Toronto. The longest came off hard-throwing Matt Bush and tied this season's opener 5-5.
"He got beat with a curveball, by a guy we've seen do it before," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Encarnacion homered only once during spring training, in his last exhibition game, after signing a $60 million, three-year deal. The slugger had 42 homers and 127 RBIs last season for Toronto.
Making his first opening-day start for two-time defending AL West champion Texas, Yu Darvish had a 5-1 lead.
Rougned Odor homered twice and drove in four runs in his first two at-bats since a new contract last week that the Rangers sealed with two horses. Carlos Gomez hit a 461-foot homer.
Jose Ramirez also homered for Cleveland. Tyler Naquin's leadoff single began the ninth-inning rally, Yandy Diaz sacrificed and Almonte singled. Carlos Santana added an RBI double and scored on Michael Brantley's single.
Indi Corey Kluber, the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner, made his third consecutive opening day start for Cleveland. He gave up three homers and five runs over six innings. Darvish, entering the final season of his six-year deal, allowed four runs while walking five and throwing two wild pitches over 6 1/3 innings.
The Indians got a run in the third on a sacrifice fly that turned into an inning-ending double play. The run counted because Almonte scored before the double play was completed with an out at second base. ... Darvish got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with a 1-2-3 double play before Brantley's inning-ending groundout.
Gomez hit only the 20th homer into the second deck of seats in left field at the Rangers ballpark that is now in its 24th season. The last player to do it before that was Nelson Cruz for Seattle on April 29, 2015. The last Ranger was Cruz, on May 14, 2012.
Indians: LF Brantley went 1 for 5. He was limited to 11 games last season following right shoulder surgery and another procedure to repair a biceps problem. .. 2B Jason Kipnis started the season on the DL with right shoulder inflammation.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre, going into his 20th season only 58 hits shy of 3,000, missed opening day for only the second time. He's on the 10-day disabled list with right calf tightness. He missed the 2001 opener for the Los Angeles Dodgers after appendix surgery.
Rangers RHP Dillon Gee, who agreed to an assignment to Triple-A Round Rock after being in camp on a minor league deal, got a one-year contract with a $2 million salary in majors and $180,000 in minors. The deal includes up to $1 million in performance bonuses based on innings - $150,000 each for 100, 120, 140 and 160, and $200,000 apiece for 180 and 200.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco starts for the first time since being struck by a line drive that broke a bone on his right hand last Sept. 17 and forced him to miss all the postseason. He had some elbow discomfort this spring.
Rangers: Martin Perez starts the Rangers' second game for the third time in four seasons. He made a team-high 33 starts last season.

Pederson, Dodgers hit team-mark 4 HRs in opener, rout Padres

The Dodgers didn't waste any time showing off their offensive depth on opening day, with every slot in the lineup accounting for a hit and a run.
The biggest drive came from Joc Pederson, who hit a grand slam as part of a franchise-record four home runs to start the season, leading Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles over the San Diego Padres 14-3 Monday.
Pederson drove in five runs, Yasmani Grandal homered twice and Corey Seager added a three-run shot.
"We had Kersh going, got ahead early and didn't take our foot off the pedal," Pederson said. "Everyone raked. Anyone at any time can hurt you. It's awesome to be a part of."
Kershaw (1-0) allowed two runs - one earned - and two hits over 84 pitches and seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none in his seventh consecutive opening day start. He tied the team mark for most opening day starts in matching Don Sutton, who started seven straight openers from 1972-78, and Don Drysdale, whose seven weren't consecutive.
"If we keep scoring in double-digit runs, I think I'll have a good year," Kershaw said, smiling.
Kershaw's fifth opening day victory equaled Drysdale for most in franchise history.
"It's a huge honor to get to do that," he said.
Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) gave up a career-worst nine runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings in his Padres debut.
"I didn't make good pitches when I needed to, especially in the third inning," he said. "I started getting behind. (Pederson) was ready for the fastball in and hit it out. That's where the game got away from us."
The Dodgers' runs fell just short of their 15-0 victory over the Padres on opening day a year ago in San Diego.
"It was the quality of the bats one through nine, Kersh included," second-year manager Dave Roberts said. "There was a purpose every time someone stepped in the batter's box."
Grandal followed Pederson's slam in the third inning with a solo homer into the same lower right-field seats. Both came with two outs and gave the Dodgers a 6-1 lead.
Pederson's slam was the team's first on opening day since Eric Karros had one in 2000 at Montreal. The center fielder's five-RBI performance, including a sacrifice fly in the second, was the first to open a Dodgers season since Raul Mondesi in 1999 against Arizona.
Seager, last season's NL Rookie of the Year, homered with two outs in the fifth off catcher-turned-pitcher Christian Bethancourt, whose consecutive wild pitches in the fourth led to two of the three runs in the inning.
Bethancourt, who will be used out of the bullpen and behind the plate this season, got tagged for three runs, three hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings.
Kershaw, who had 46 hits last season, singled leading off the fourth and scored on Justin Turner's double.
The Padres' runs came on Yangervis Solarte's RBI single in the first and Ryan Schimpf's homer in the seventh.
Kershaw is 5-0 in seven opening-day starts with a 0.99 ERA, the second-lowest behind Rick Mahler's 0.92 mark. Kershaw again dominated the Padres, improving to 15-6 with a 2.03 ERA while limiting hitters to a .191 average in 29 career starts.
Vin Scully wasn't in the Dodgers booth for an opener for the first time since 1950, having retired last season at age 88. Scully's dulcet tones still resonated in the ballpark. He narrated a video about opening day shown before the game and then turned it over to his 29-year-old successor Joe Davis, who introduced Wally Moon and Tom Lasorda for ceremonial first pitches.
On Bethancourt's first wild pitch in the fourth, he ran to cover the plate and appeared to have been spiked by Andrew Toles' slide. Bethancourt said he got cut inside his leg and on top of his kneecap.
"I just wanted to stay in the ballgame and just wanted to keep pitching and helping my team," he said. "I was actually mad after I got cut. Not mad at the runner. That's part of the game. It happens. I'm a catcher, too. I've been in a lot of those (plays)."
San Diego lost its third straight opener, all to the Dodgers, and fell to 21-28 on opening day. The Padres are 1-6 in their last seven games at Dodger Stadium. The Padres, who have the second-youngest roster in the majors, haven't won an opener since they beat the Dodgers in San Diego in 2014.
Padres: They have six players hurt to start the season, with LHP Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea on the 60-day DL.
Dodgers: RHP Pedro Baez (right wrist bruise), one of six players starting the season on the DL, is expected to return next week after rehabbing at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
LHP Clayton Richard starts for the Padres against RHP Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers on Tuesday. Richard went 3-3 with a 2.41 ERA in nine starts for San Diego last season after the Cubs let him go in August. Maeda is 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA in four career starts against the Padres.

Hernandez leads off opener with HR, Phillies beat Reds 4-3

 Jeremy Hellickson couldn't believe it when he rounded second base and saw the coach waving him on.
Hellickson drove in the decisive run in the sixth inning with his first career triple - one that left him out of breath for a long time - and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
"I'm never doing that again," said Hellickson (1-0), who was still feeling it when he came out of the game after facing one batter in the bottom of the sixth. "I'm stopping at second no matter what."
Cesar Hernandez opened the Phillies' season with a homer, connecting on Scott Feldman's eighth pitch. Freddy Galvis - who had a career-high 20 homers last season - added a solo shot in the second.
It was a bad flashback for the Reds, who gave up the most homers in the majors last season.
Hellickson allowed a run and six hits, his outing cut short after his run around the bases. Right fielder Scott Schebler failed to make a diving catch of his two-out liner, letting the ball get by him as Hellickson chugged across an infield turned muddy by several innings of rain.
Hellickson was the first pitcher to triple in an opener since the Giants' Jack Sanford in 1963, according to ESPN.
"I was catching my breath for about 30 minutes when I came back in here," he said.
The Phillies also opened last season in Cincinnati behind Hellickson, who made a solid start before the bullpen allowed five runs in the eighth for Cincinnati's 6-2 win. The bullpen barely held on this time.
Jeanmar Gomez gave up Scooter Gennett's two-out, two-run homer in the ninth before retiring Billy Hamilton on a routine fly to get the save. Gomez struggled at the end of last season as well, jeopardizing his job.
"I'm concerned about it," manager Pete Mackanin said. "For me, he's earned the right to be the closer for now, but he's got to get the ball down."
Feldman (0-1) lasted 4 2/3 innings in his third opening day start and his first for Cincinnati. The right-hander signed with the Reds three months ago to fill a spot in the middle of the rotation, but wound up starting the opener after Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey had elbow problems.
"Any time you don't make it through five innings, it's tough to pull any positives out of it," Feldman said.
Steady and occasionally heavy rain moved in for the middle innings, but the teams played through it without a delay.
It was Hernandez's second career leadoff homer. He also connected against the Cardinals' Luke Weaver on Aug. 20.
The Reds honored Katy Feeney by reserving a spot for her in the press box and placing a single red rose in a vase at her place. The long-time baseball executive died on Saturday.
The Phillies lost their first four games last season and five of their first seven.
Reds starters allowed 155 homers last season, most in the majors. The bullpen gave up a major league-record 103 homers as well.
Phillies: RH Zack Eflin is the only Phillies player on the DL to start the season. He's recovering from surgery on both knees last year.
Reds: RH Bronson Arroyo threw six 15-pitch innings during a simulate game on Sunday and is still on target to join the team and start next weekend in St. Louis, barring any setbacks.
Phillies: After a day off Tuesday, the teams resume their series. RH Jerad Eickhoff makes his first appearance against the Reds. He went 14-17 last season.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Phillies last season. He had 15 quality starts last season, second to Dan Straily for the staff lead.

Sano, Santana steer Twins past Royals 7-1 to start season

For the Minnesota Twins, the memory of that 0-9 start and 59-103 finish last year was still uncomfortably fresh.
They couldn't have asked for a better way to start the new season than this.
Miguel Sano homered and drew the third bases-loaded walk during a dreadful seventh inning for Kansas City's bullpen, as Ervin Santana and the Twins beat the Royals 7-1 on Monday for their first opening victory in nine years.
"We didn't try to overemphasize anything about today other than the fact that we've been on a little bit of a mission in spring training to try to come out and play a little bit better," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Santana (1-0) gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out three over seven innings, aided by two diving catches of sinking line drives by center fielder Byron Buxton that highlighted a stellar afternoon of defense by the Twins.
Mike Moustakas homered leading off the fourth for the Royals, but Sano came back in the bottom of the inning with a tying 425-foot drive into the second deck off Danny Duffy. Six straight balls by Santana to start the seventh gave Molitor pause, but he responded to the mound visit with three straight outs to finish the frame.
"I try to get him to stay positive," Sano said. "Let's go. You're the man over there."
After signing a $65 million, five-year contract to assume the role as the ace of the rotation, Duffy's first career opening day start was a dazzler with eight strikeouts over six innings with three hits and three walks.
Then manager Ned Yost turned to Matt Strahm (0-1) for the seventh, and the Royals unraveled while the Twins rallied with two bunts and four walks.
"Just one bad game. We have 161 left," Duffy said. "Our bullpen is great, and I have ultimate confidence in them."
The key play was Max Kepler's hustle to beat out a sacrifice attempt for a single, following a replay reversal of the initial out call. Brian Dozier was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs, and Robbie GrossmanJoe Mauer and Sano all forced in runs with unintentional walks.
Jason Castro tacked on a two-run single, and Jorge Polanco followed with an RBI single as Molitor's new-look, new-age lineup with Buxton batting third and Mauer in the cleanup spot worked well for the first try.
"Just keep grinding out at-bats," Mauer said. "That was pretty fun out there."
After finishing in the top five in the major leagues in relief ERA in each of the last two seasons, using a lights-out bullpen to win the World Series in 2015, Royals relievers had a rather ominous debut. Peter Moylan struck out Buxton with the bases loaded, his only batter, but Strahm and Travis Wood each allowed four runners while retiring only one batter.
"That's not Woody. I didn't anticipate that. He's a strike thrower," Yost said. "He's a veteran strike thrower. He's not a guy that gets frazzled."
The Twins won their first game of the season for the first time since 2008, delighting a sellout crowd announced at 39,615. This was only the second time in eight years since Target Field opened that the schedule put them in Minnesota to start the season.
"There's just something about opening day," Molitor said, "that I think kind of tingles everybody's spine a little bit differently than the rest of the season."
Mauer made his 13th opening day start, tying Harmon Killebrew for the most in Twins history.
Royals: Paulo Orlando was in RF for Jorge Soler, who began his first season with Kansas City on the 10-day DL with a strained left oblique muscle. Soler, who did some light work in the field before the game, is eligible to return on Sunday.
Twins: Santana, who reached 30-plus starts last year for the eighth time in his career, became Minnesota's second two-time opening day starter of the last 10 seasons. Carl Pavano was the other, in 2011-12.
Royals: After the scheduled off day on Tuesday, RHP Ian Kennedy will take the mound for Kansas City in the middle game on Wednesday afternoon, followed by new RHP Jason Hammel in the series finale.
Twins: LHP Hector Santiago comes up next in the rotation for Minnesota, with Kyle Gibson on tap for Thursday afternoon.