Whew! Just woke up. So sad about it too because I was having a great dream. Dayton Moore signed — get this — Melky Cabrera. I know. Crazy! Almost as crazy as someone actually reporting on someone’s death before knowing for sure that the person is dead. And that would never happen!
Oh well, back to the rational, sensible non-crazy world for me!
But before that, let’s talk about uber-eventful last night. Carl Crawford and Boston. The news shot through the Winter Meetings like a bullet. When word hit the lobby of the Dolphin Resort, the scene was like the reporters running to the phone booths in “Airplane!” A bunch of people flooded into the media room, which you may be surprised to know isn’t normally packed with people at midnight on the last night of the Winter Meetings. But it’s not like everyone went in there. Some people quite obviously stayed in the lobby and filed their story from their Blackberry.
As for the Crawford signing, Drew and Matthew killed it last night with an initial report of the deal, the dominoes that will now fall as a result of it, the effect it will have on the Red Sox’ lineup, and a possible explanation of why the Angels lost out on Crawford when everyone thought he was theirs. All I’ll add is this: the Winter Meetings have made one thing perfectly clear: until there’s a salary cap, teams like the Yankees just are not going to be able to compete.
Today is the last day of the Winter Meetings. The only official thing of any note is the Rule 5 draft, which goes down at 9AM. After that most of the team officials, agents and assembled media make a mad dash for the airport. I’ll be loitering around later than that, but my day at the Winter Meetings will end a little after noon, I figure. But don’t go anywhere, because HBT will continue to post frantically on everything going down here, there and everywhere.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: