Yuniesky Betancourt

Cards have no answer for Brewers’ power in Game 1


Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt both homered and doubled, and Prince Fielder added a two-run bomb of his own against the Cardinals as the Brewers claimed Game 1 of the NLCS 9-6.

In all, the Brewers had eight extra-base hits, the most any team has had in a postseason game since 2007. Only seven teams have ever had more extra-base hits in a postseason game:

13: NYY vs. Bos – 2004 ALCS Game 3 (won 19-8)
12: Bos vs. Cle – 1999 ALDS Game 4 (won 23-7)
10: Bos vs. NYY – 1999 ALCS Game 3 (won 13-1)
9: Pit vs. WSH – 1925 WS Game 7 (won 9-7)
9: Cle vs. Sea – 2001 ALDS Game 3 (won 17-2)
9: CHC vs. Fla – 2003 NLCS Game 1 (lost 9-8)
9: Bos vs. Col – 2007 WS Game 1 (won 13-1)

This was the first time since 2003 that an NL club had eight extra-base hits in either an LCS or World Series game. Game 1 of the 2003 NLCS between the Marlins and Cubs had both teams do it. The Marlins had eight and won 9-8 even though the Cubs had nine.

Braun got the scoring started in the first, hitting a two-run homer off Jaime Garcia. He also had a two-run double as part of the Brewers’ big six-run fifth inning. He now has seven extra-base hits and eight RBI in six postseason games this year and nine extra-base hits and 10 RBI in 10 postseason games in his career.

The bigger surprise, though, was Betancourt. Sometimes reviled for his tendency to make first-pitch outs, he had two long at-bats today, including the one that resulted in a two-run homer off Octavio Dotel in the fifth. He’s now 6-for-18 with four extra-base hits in his first postseason.

Fielder’s homer was his second this October and third in 10 career postseason games.

The Brewers also got doubles from Jerry Hairston Jr., Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy.

Zack Greinke deal “could come soon,” Dodgers and Giants lead the bidding

Zack Greinke
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers on Sunday for five years, $110 million. David Price signed with the Red Sox on Monday for seven years, $217 million.

Two big dominos have fallen in this loaded free agent market for starting pitchers, and another big one is about to go …

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says a deal for Zack Greinke “could come soon” and it’s currently “Dodgers vs. Giants” at the top of the bidding ladder.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick confirms that both the Dodgers and Giants are looking for an answer from Greinke, adding that the 32-year-old right-hander seeks a five- or six-year deal with a greater average annual value (AAV) than what Price just secured from Boston. That number would be $31 million, so we’re talking something close to $32 million through 2020-2021.

Greinke opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million contract with Los Angeles in October after posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP across 222 2/3 regular-season innings in 2015. He finished second to the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta in the National League Cy Young Award balloting.

The Red Sox get their ace! Boston signs David Price to a 7-year, $217 million deal


Multiple reports circulated in the past week that the Red Sox would need to unload the money truck in order to sign David Price. Well, the truck just got unloaded: Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox have signed David Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract.

This is, by far, the largest free agent contract the Red Sox have ever given a pitcher. It beats Max Scherzer‘s seven-year, $210 million deal signed last offseason as the largest ever free agent pitcher contract. Clayton Kershaw‘s contract extension with the Dodgers was for $215 million.

Price went 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA pitching in the AL East while with the Tampa Bay Rays. After being traded to the Tigers just before the 2014 trade deadline he went 13-8 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts. He returned to the AL East with the Blue Jays this year, going 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts. He also pitched in the playoffs for the Jays starting three times in four overall appearances.

The Red Sox were in dire need of pitching and they were said to be gunning for Price to fill that need. Target: acquired.

Major League Baseball’s annual drug testing report has been released

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MLB and the MLBPA just released the annual public report from the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program’s Independent Program Administrator. It’s the annual report, mandated by the JDA, which says how many positive drug tests there were, what the drugs were, etc.

The notable numbers, which cover the period starting when the 2014 World Series ended until the 2015 World Series ended:

  • Total number of tests administered: 8,158. 6,536 of them were urine tests, 1,622 of them were blood tests for HGH;
  • 10 tests resulted in positives which led to discipline: 7 for PEDs, 2 for stimulants, one for DHEA;
  • The previous year there were 7,929 total tests with 12 which resulted in discipline;
  • There were the same number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted this year as last: 113. All but two were for attention deficit disorder. One was for gynecomastia, which is the swelling of the breast tissue in men due to a hormone imbalance, one was for a stress fracture in someone’s elbow.

A use exemption line item which had appeared on the list for the previous several years — hypogonadism — was not there, so congratulations to the anonymous player who was either cured or who retired.

As we always note, the number of players who got exemptions for ADD drugs is a bit higher than the occurrence of ADD in the population at large and, once you eliminate kids from ADHD occurrences, it’s likely considerably higher. But that’s none of my business.

Twins sign Korean slugger Byung-ho Park to four-year contract

Byung-ho Park
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With a week remaining in their exclusive negotiating window to sign Byung-ho Park the Twins have agreed to a deal with the Korean slugger. Ken Rosenthal of reports that it’s a four-year, $12 million contract, on top of which the Twins will pay Park’s old team a $12.85 million posting fee for those negotiating rights.

Four years and a total commitment of $24.85 million is certainly a sizable investment, but it’s significantly less than most projections had the Twins spending to get Park under contract.

Last offseason the Pirates bid $5 million to negotiate with Korean shortstop Jung Ho Kang and then signed him to a four-year, $11 million deal. His success in MLB raised the level of interest in Park, who posted similarly spectacular numbers in Korean, but in the end the price tag wasn’t significantly higher. Based on reports from Korea, it sounds like the Twins low-balled him in negotiations and Park basically just accepted it because he wants to play in MLB.

Three weeks ago I wrote a lengthy breakdown of how Park could fit into the Twins’ plans when they secured the high bid, but the short version is that he’ll slot into the lineup as the starting designated hitter and look to prove that his exceptional production in Korean can carry over to MLB. Park hit .343 with 53 homers, 146 RBIs, and a 1.150 OPS in 140 games for Nexen this past season and has topped a 1.000 OPS in each of the past three years.