Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 7, Phillies 1: In yesterday morning’s recaps I slammed Jason Giambi and declared him dead. Last night he hit three homers and drove in seven.  I see my little foray into reverse psychology worked. Don’t thank me now, Jason. Just let me know where to send my bill.

Mets 1, Nationals 0: Sucks to be Livan Hernandez. Oh, wait, Livan Hernandez pitched in this game? Huh. I was just writing basic declarative sentences about the immutable facts of the universe. What a coincidence. Dillon Gee with the two-hit short shutout. Short shutout? Yes, short shutout.

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: Carl Crawford comes through with a bases loaded single in a tie-game in the bottom of the ninth to give the Sox the win. It’s his third walkoff hit this month.  What, did you think he’d be totally unworthy of his contract forever?

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2: Two solo homers for the Rays vs. a solo and a two-run homer for the Jays. That’s how all game stories would read if we focused less on the individual and more on the collective. Indeed, I intend to present a paper on this very subject in Vienna this fall. It proposes a view of extending expected utility calculations to both individual and group contexts, using several related cases to illustrate the problems inherent in applying expected utility to group choices. It’s all pretty complicated really, what with Prisoner’s Dilemmas and whatnot, so I won’t bore you with it.

Mariners 2, Angels 1: Since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun. Torii Hunter now more so.

Cardinals 4, Astros 2: Kyle McClellan did not throw a ball three to any of the batters he faced and picked up his sixth win. The whole shebang took 2:15.

Twins 11, Athletics 1: Break up the Twins, winners of three in a row. Two-run homer for Justin Morneau. A big mess of a day for the A’s staff, who lost Tyson Ross after seven measly pitches due to an oblique attack, which is the name I’m giving oblique injuries from here on out so that people will take them more seriously, awareness can be raised and someday — hopefully — a cure can be found.

Pirates 5, Reds 3: The Buccos have taken five of six from Cincinnati. James McDonald gave up one run in six and two-thirds.

Yankees 13, Orioles 2: Brad Bergesen was foolin’ no one, but even if he did manage to fool a few it wouldn’t have mattered because CC Sabathia was on point.

Cubs 5, Marlins 1: A Mike Stanton homer in the eighth was all the Feesh could muster against the Cubs. Starlin Castro had a two-run double in the top of the ninth to give Chicago some breathing room.

White Sox 8, Indians 2: The Chisox jumped all over Fausto Carmona like it was Opening Day or something, scoring six in the first two innings and eight through five.

Royals 2, Rangers 1: This was like an alternate outcome for that Yankees-Orioles game on Wednesday night. Ron Washington sent Derek Holland out to finish the game in the ninth with a 1-0 lead, but he allowed the first hitter he faced to reach so Washington yanked him for Neftali Feliz. Feliz got a couple outs but allowed a single, then uncorked a wild pitch (note: the word “uncorked” can only be used in connection with wild pitches in much the same way “ensuing” can only be used with kickoffs) and then a game-tying single to Mike Aviles. Into extras we go where Jeff Francoeur was the hero, hitting the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the 10th.

Diamondbacks 2, Braves 1: Josh Collmenter has thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings. And holy moley, if you haven’t seen him pitch, check out his motion. The Braves, of course, couldn’t hit pitches thrown by a Meatball3000-model pitching machine set to “pansy” right now.

Padres 1, Brewers 0: The signature game of 2011 so far: a 1-0 contest decided by a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth.

Giants 3, D0dgers 1: Madison Bumgarner finally wins a game, pitching a shutout until two outs in the ninth. Brian Wilson came in to get the last out of the game, but he made it interesting, walking two guys first.

Jose Bautista: “I haven’t had to” pay for a meal in Toronto since famous bat flip

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning in Game 5 of baseball's American League Division Series, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP
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Arguably the most memorable moment of the 2015 season came in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the ALDS between the Blue Jays and Rangers. The game was tied 3-3, but the Jays were threatening with runners on the corners and two outs. Jose Bautista launched a 1-1 Sam Dyson fastball for a no-doubt tie-breaking three-run home run that would send the Jays into the ALCS to face the eventual world champion Royals.

Bautista didn’t immediately run to first base after hitting the home run. He admired it, looked at Dyson, and then flipped his bat triumphantly. As far as bat flips go, it was a 10 out of 10. Yasiel Puig was proud.

The six-time All-Star admitted “I haven’t had to” pay for a meal in Toronto since that moment in the ALDS, as Jonah Birenbaum notes for The Score. Bautista also served as the assistant coach for musician Drake at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. As Drew noted earlier, Bautista had a pretty nice view at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest as well.

The Jays are hopeful to sign Bautista, 35, to a multi-year extension. In six seasons since breaking out with the club in 2010, he has hit .268/.390/.555 with 227 home runs and 582 RBI in 3,604 plate appearances. No one has hit more home runs since the start of the 2010 season, as Miguel Cabrera is the closest at 199. And only Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Cano, and Albert Pujols have driven in more runs in that span of time. It’s easy to see why, despite his age, the Jays want to keep Bautista around a little while longer.

Dallas Keuchel, Astros did talk long-term contract

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Dallas Keuchel‘s agent Darek Braunecker told MLB Network Radio in early January that he had not engaged in any long-term contract negotiations with the Astros’ front office. Two weeks later, the sides reached a one-year, $7.25 million agreement, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. So was a bigger financial commitment ever discussed?

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle has the answer, writing in his offseason review that the “Astros and Keuchel have had substantial talks about extensions [this winter] … but to no avail.”

Keuchel carries all the leverage in the world after winning the 2015 American League Cy Young Award with a 2.48 ERA, 1.017 WHIP, and 216/51 K/BB ratio in 232 innings. He also made three appearances in the postseason to a 2.57 ERA in 14 frames.

Keuchel’s $7.25 million salary for 2016 will be a record for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Locking up some of his free agent years (2019, 2020, 2021, etc.) would likely take a commitment of $120 million or more.

Houston has the 28-year-old left-hander under contractual control through 2018, and it sounds like the plan is to go season-to-season with his salaries.

He’ll remain a huge value to a good-looking Astros team.

Yadier Molina gets cast removed from surgically-repaired thumb

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Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right thumb shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the NLDS by the Cubs, and then he needed a followup procedure two months later.

It’s been an offseason of rest and rehab for the seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover, though he’s about ready to ramp up the intensity of workouts with the beginning of spring training approaching …

Brayan Pena was signed to a two-year, $5 million free agent contract this winter to provide more reliable depth behind the plate. He’ll be the Cardinals’ starter at catcher come Opening Day if Yadi isn’t quite ready.

Molina started a whopping 131 games behind the plate in 2015.

Jose Fernandez wants $30 million a year, Marlins don’t plan on paying

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You’ve heard the stories by now. Jose Fernandez does not get along with Marlins management and is doubtful to sign a long-term contract with the team.

There’s still time for those relationships to be repaired — Fernandez can’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season — but we also have a monetary issue at play.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Sunday that the Marlins are “under the impression” Fernandez and his representatives want $30 million per year on a long-term deal, a figure the Marlins “have no plans to meet.”

If the Marlins won’t pay, Fernandez and his reps will seek that number when the ace right-hander reaches free agency. That could be the same offseason Bryce Harper tries for $500 million.

A friend of Fernandez told Jackson that the 23-year-old native of Cuba was upset about some of the trades the Marlins made last summer and the removal of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. You probably heard talk of Miami shopping Fernandez this winter, but the asking price was predictably sky-high.

Fernandez has been limited to 19 starts over the last two years because of Tommy John surgery and a biceps injury, but he boasts a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 289 career major league frames. He will make $2.8 million in 2016 and carries two more years of arbitration eligibility.

If he can put together a run of 30-start, 200-inning seasons, Fernandez will get that $30 million per year and probably much more.