And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Mariners 5, Blue Jays 4: King Felix struck out 11 in eight
innings to notch his 17th win. I was out of town and without a computer
when people started up that “the Mariners can’t sign Felix so the Red Sox are gonna get him” talk
a few days ago. You know what? That’s crazy. Hernandez is one of the
top two or three pitchers in baseball. The Mariners have an entire
corner of the country to themselves. They have Adrian Beltre, Miguel
Batista, Jarrod Washburn, and Erik Bedard coming off the books next
year. They can afford him and if they’re serious about ever winning
anything, they will sign him. This smells like wishful thinking on
behalf of Red Sox fanboys.

Reds 4, Pirates 1: The Pirates have won only three more games
than you this month, and you’re not even trying. And if you were, I’d
bet that more people would show up to watch you than watched this game
too.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 6: The Nats lose number 100. They’re the
first team to do so in back to back seasons since the mid-70s Padres.
Without looking I’m going to guess that the 1930s-40s Phillies have the
record here with five or six if I remember correctly. The Nats won’t
match that. In fact, I think they’re going to look really good in a few
years and all of this will be a distant memory. In the meantime,
though, ugh.

Tigers 6, Indians 5: In nine or ten days someone is going to
have to wake up Eric Wedge and tell him he’s been fired. But let him
rest now. He looks so peaceful.

Athletics 12, Rangers 3: Brett Anderson got a lot of run support
and the A’s beat the Rangers in what seems like the 187th time they’ve
played in the past month.

Red Sox 10, Royals, 3: I guess Clay Buhholz pitched well, but I’m gonna be honest and tell you all that I wasn’t impressed. Really, he reminds me of a right-handed Roger Moret.
Which is more fun: the fact that the Royals committed five errors, or
the fact that Zack Greinke was ejected from the game even though he
wasn’t playing?

Phillies 9, Brewers 4: Happ struck out seven over five and two
thirds. Charlie Manuel: “There’s a chance he could wind up in the back
end of the bullpen if we don’t get something straightened out.”

Padres 5, Rockies 4: The Padres have been a total pain the butt
to just about every contending team this past month. The Rockies have
lost seven of 11 and the Braves are now three and a half back, which
seems way more doable than four for some reason. Especially considering
that Colorado hosts St. Louis this weekend. Go Cards.

Cubs 3, Giants 2: Jeff Baker’s two-out, two-run homer in the top
of the ninth to win the game is going to haunt San Francisco for a
couple of days. San Francisco’s failure to take advantage of the
Rockies’ recent skid is going to haunt them all winter. The Cubs win
means that the Cardinals have to lug their champagne to Colorado.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.