And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights, Part 2

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Hoffman head down.jpgAnd now for the Senior Circuit.

Pirates 6, Brewers 5: Oh, Trevor. We covered this as it happened yesterday, but to reiterate: Hoffman was taken long by Ryan Doumit in the ninth for the second game in a row, and has now blown four of seven save chances this season. He blew
only four saves all of last year.  For what it’s worth his counterpart Octavio Dotel was bet up too, but I don’t think any of us lose any sleep over Octavio Dotel’s struggles.

Mets 7, Dodgers 3: John Maine struck out nine Dodgers in six innings as the Mets wrap up a 9-1 homestand. When reached for comment Ned Colletti ripped rookie pitcher John Ely for his terrible debut, ripped Fernando Valenzuela for his weight and ripped Steve Garvey for using too much hairspray.

Cardinals 6, Braves 0: Just when you think the Braves can’t sink any lower and get any more depressing they surprise you with something like this. Braves pitchers walked nine guys and Braves batters got only seven hits. They were as threatening as a doorstop in this game. Batting averages for the Braves starters yesterday: .197, .361, .241, .203, .200. .197, .200, .160.

Phillies 7, Giants 6: If I would have told you before this one that Tim Lincecum would strike out 11 and pitch into the ninth, I bet you wouldn’t have guessed the outcome. Lincecum doesn’t strike me as a violent guy, so it’s not like he’d go hit his closer, Brian Wilson, over the head with a metal chair or anything after this one, but I’m sure there was a long “Duuuuude. Not cool, dude,” exchanged.

Reds 6, Astros 4: The Reds scored three runs in the fourth inning when Hunter Pence lost a fly ball against the backdrop of the Houston sky on a day when the Minute Maid Park roof was open. Which just proves what I’ve been saying for years: playing baseball games in the open air is an abomination, and I will not rest until all teams play their home games in domes.

Diamondbacks 12, Rockies 11: Shades of pre-humidor Coors Field. Arizona led 6-0, then trailed 11-6 in this one, and that was all before the fifth inning. In the 10th Kelly Johnson homered off Franklin Morales to seal the win. A.J. Hinch was ejected in the ninth when the Dbacks loaded the bases but failed to score. He was run when Mark Reynolds was called out on a force play at home. Hinch’s take was that catcher Miguel Olivo’s foot came off the bag, and he held his hands wide apart to show the ump and the entire crowd just how badly the ump missed the call. I like those kinds of theatrics, but umpires don’t for some reason.

Nationals 3, Cubs 2: If anyone else had Matt Capps getting to 10 saves before the end of April in the office pool, please come to Kathy’s cubical and collect your winnings. Oh, and check out this sick, sick catch from Marlon Byrd. Screw skill. I’ll take luck any day.

Padres 6, Marlins 4: Down four early, the Padres came back with a five-spot in the fifth and an insurance run in the eighth. The big blow was a three-run double from noted RBI-man David Eckstein. The scrappy Adrian Gonzalez singled home the go-ahead run.  

A Mexican team wins the Caribbean Series for the third time in four years

Mexican players celebrate their victory in the Caribbean Series baseball final against Aragua Tigres of Venezuela, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Designated hitter Jorge Vazquez hit a game-winning home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, lifting Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory and the championship of the Caribbean Series. (AP Photo/Roberto Guzman)
Associated Press
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For those who aren’t familiar, Serie del Caribe, or the Caribbean Series, is the highest club level baseball tournament in Latin America, pitting the champions of the winter leagues in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela against one another in a bacchanalia of baseball that, if there was justice in the world, we’d all be watching instead of football.

This year’s installment ended last night with Mexico’s Mazatlan Venados beating Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres 5-4 in the final game at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jorge Vazquez — who Yankees fans may remember from a few years back — provided the winning margin when he hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.

This is the third Serie del Caribe title for a Mexican club in the past four years, with Naranjeros de Hermosillo winning in 2014 and Yaquis de Obregón winning in 2013. Pinar del Río from Cuba won it last winter. This is the first time the Venados have won it.

As we noted yesterday, this was longtime MLB starter Freddy Garcia‘s last game. He gave up four hits and allowed two earned runs over five and a third innings for the Tigres, getting a no-decision.

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.