Florida Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 8, Marlins 0: Clayton Kershaw was probably happy to have all of that offense behind him, but he sure as hell didn’t need it (CG SHO 2 H, 10K).

Rays 7, Indians 0: Actually, the same can be said for Jeremy Hellickson (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6K). Evan Longoria was 2 for 3 with two walks from the leadoff spot. It was his second day in a row there and his second day of getting on base like it’s going out of style. Which, given the depressed offensive numbers around baseball this year, it kind of is. Interesting.

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3; Tigers 3, Red Sox 0: A ninth-inning pinch hit homer by Big Papi wins the first of the twin bill. That was the second time Oritz had faced Jose Valverde in his career, and it was the second time he went long off him. In the nightcap it was all Justin Verlander, with the Tigers’ ace throwing 132 pitchers in seven and two-thirds. But (a) he didn’t allow a run; and (b) he was still throwing nearly 100 m.p.h. when he finally left the game. I think paying attention to pitch counts has saved a lot of guys’ arms. But I also think that there will always be a handful of guys who would have been just fine had they been handled like they were 1970s starters anyway. Verlander is one of those guys.

Rangers 7, Royals 6: Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria each allowed the other team to take the lead in the ninth, but since the Rangers batted last, it was a bit more problematic that Soria did it. And check out the play at the plate that ended the game. Did Brayan Pena have images of Buster Posey dancing in his head? Is not trying to slam into the catcher the new inefficiency? Or are we trying to hard to graft narratives onto what are essentially random events?

Brewers 6, Giants 0: Sometimes someone does a way better job of distilling a game’s essence than I do. Here’s a tweet from Andrew Baggarly yesterday: “Well, this game is a turd sandwich for the Giants.” Eight shutout innings for Yovanni Gallardo. That’s twelve earned runs in just over 19 innings for Matt Cain since he agreed to be interviewed on HBT Daily that time.

Braves 2, Reds 1: Martin Prado hit a two-run homer to put the Braves up in the sixth and threw out the would-be tying run at the plate in the top of the eighth. Well, he was credited with throwing out the would-be tying run, but the replay showed pretty clearly that David Ross didn’t get the tag on Paul Janish before he crossed the plate. In this case the lack of replay helped my rooting interest, but I don’t care, we really do need replay to correct these kinds of calls. TV viewers knew within 20 seconds that the call was wrong. An ump in the booth could have known just as quickly, if not quicker given that he wouldn’t be sifting through reaction shots. Anyway, another solid outing for Jair Jurrjens (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).

Cardinals 4, Rockies 3: Seven wins for Kyle Lohse as the Cards finish up their nine-game road trip with a 6-3 mark. Of course six of those games came against the Royals and the Padres, but hey, they’re winnin’ the ones they’re supposed to win.

Angels 6, Twins 5: I can’t decide if I’m more impressed by Mark Trumbo’s 436-foot home run or by the fact that Russell Branyan stole a base.  Well, I suppose Branyan does average one a year or so for his career, so maybe this was inevitable.

Athletics 6, Orioles 4: The Athletics give Zach Britton his worst day as a major league starter, touching him up for six runs on ten hits. More significantly, the A’s see the return of Andrew Bailey, who pitched a perfect seventh inning and allowed Bob Geren to do what a lot of people figured he could do this year, trotting out Bailey, Fuentes, Balfour and Breslow one after another (though not necessarily in that order).

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 2: J.A. Happ was pretty solid and hit a home run to — wait for it — help his own cause, but the Dbacks rallied because they are now apparently invincible. Really, since the five-game losing streak they had in the middle of May, the Diamondbacks are 14-2. And now they are alone in first place at the top of the NL West.

Yankees 7, Mariners 1: Andruw Jones (a three-run double in the third) and CC Sabathia (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) help the Yankees avoid the sweep.

Padres 5, Nationals 4: Given that they had only scored 15 runs in their previous 11 games, five runs for the Padres is pretty impressive. And they needed all five. The last one came on a ninth-inning infield single by Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick had three hits and two RBI and Brad Hawpe had two hits and two RBI.  The Nats have lost nine of 11.

Mets 9, Phillies 5: Vance Worley just didn’t have it yesterday, so Charlie Manuel decided to send out Kendrick, Romero and Baez after him, which is basically the “let us live to fight another day” pupu platter.  Three RBI for Josh Thole, who also had three hits. Four hits for Jose Reyes. Seventeen in all for the Metropolitans.

Blue Jays 13, White Sox 4: This game was basically over once Aaron Hill hit a grand slam in the first inning. A 4 for 5, 3 RBI day for Corey Patterson because the world has gone crazy or something.

Cubs 3, Pirates 2: Rain delay: 2:34. Game time: 2:36. Cool. A nice start from Ryan Demptser and solid relief from Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol.

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.