Geovany Sot

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Sorry it’s coming a bit late this morning. Your author was under the weather last night and decided that rather than stay up watching baseball and reading box scores that an early bedtime was in order. Anyway:

Cubs 4, Phillies 3: Ryan Madson had been gold in save situations, but came up pyrite last night: Geovany Soto hit a game-tying homer off him in the ninth. Then in the 11th, Tyler Colvin scored from second when Placido Polanco threw away what would have been the third out of the inning. Colvin actually thought he had a homer in the ninth too, but it was overturned when replay showed that a Philly fan interfered with it, rendering it a ground rule double.  I can’t find a replay of that, but I’m going to assume, based on ample historical evidence, that the fan reached over the railing and barfed santa clause-themed batteries on the ball, with his nausea caused by excessive booing and cheese steak consumption.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 3: Finally, the plunkings happen. Josh Beckett hit Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia hit David Ortiz. If you’re the kind of person who keeps a ledger of these sorts of things it strikes me that Ortiz would still require about three more plunkings under the rules people like to espouse about when you hit someone. But really, given the woodshedding that the Yankees got in this series, it would come off kinda desperate and sad.  And let’s face it: that’s just not how the Yankees have ever really rolled. They tend to get their revenge by signing your free agent target and then winning a championship and acting all smug about it, not by throwing at people.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: The eighth straight loss for Florida, seven of which have been one-run games. Just awful luck for them. The law of averages — one run game edition — usually treats you more fairly than that. Jair Jurrjens is now tied with a number of fellows for the MLB lead in wins. Not bad considering he missed the first two weeks of the season on the DL.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Hey, I’m not made of stone, so I gotta give Jeff Francouer some love here. Two RBI for the guy I love to loathe, while Luke Hochevar picks up his first win since May 1st.

Reds 3, Giantos 0: Seven shutout innings for Johnny Cueto. On Wednesday the Reds played a game in 90+ degree temperatures at home. Game time temperature for this one in San Francisco: 59 degrees.

Padres 7, Nationals 3: Anthony Rizzo debuts with by going 1 for 2 with a triple, two walks and a run scored. Not bad. Meanwhile, the Aaron Harang rejuvenation tour of Petco Park continues apace. He’s 7-2 now with a 3.71 ERA. In other news, it seems like Washington has been on this west coast swing for a month.

Rockies 9, Dodgers 7: Troy Tulowitzki drove in four and the Rockies finally got to Clayton Kershaw, who had thrown five shutout innings at them before stumbling though the sixth and seventh.

Mets 4, Brewers 1: A nice bounceback win after having their guts ripped out the night before. Jonathon Niese was solid into the eighth inning. Terry Collins’ actual quote after the game:

“This team was flat last night, they just came back today and just realized today was another day. I think with all that’s happened, it just rolls off their back now. It’s another obstacle they’ve got to climb over. They’re just kind of getting immune to it.”

I’m assuming that he has a metaphor/cliche punch card that he’s trying to get filled up before the end of the month so he can get a free sub or something.

Cardinals 9, Astros 2: St. Louis put up a 5-spot in the sixth inning when Lance Berkman continued to haunt his old mates with an RBI single to kick the scoring off. Berkman has played six games at Minute Maid Park this year. In those games he’s hitting .480 with five home runs and 12 RBI.

Twins 5, Rangers 4: Minnesota blew an early three-run lead, but Alexi Casilla hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning to salvage it. The Twins have won seven of ten.

White Sox 9, Athletics 4: Bob Melvin’s debut didn’t look any different than Bob Geren’s last nine games, but I guess A’s players were happier about it. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko each had two-run homers. Mark Buehrle started for the Sox and the game lasted 2:51. Which for him had to feel like 11 hours. He’s 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last seven starts.

Tigers 4, Mariners 1: Justin Verlander faced a Mariners’ lineup that featured Adam Kennedy starting at first base and hitting in the three-hole, and the results were fairly predictable: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 10K. Alex Avila hit two triples. The game took 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Diamondbacks 2, Pirates 0: A zero-zero tie until Chris Young hit a two-run homer in the eighth and — surprise surprise — the Dbacks’ bullpen made it stand up.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.