Someone did in fact flirt with a no-no in the Bronx tonight, but it wasn’t Johan Santana after he threw 134 pitches last week in the first no-hitter in Mets history. Hiroki Kuroda held the Mets hitless for 5 2/3 innings Friday in the Yankees’ 9-1 victory.
Santana, who had thrown back-to-back shutouts against the Padres and Cardinals, was lit up for six runs in five innings in this one. He surrendered four homers, matching his total for the season entering the night.
Robinson Cano hit two of the four homers, giving him 11 on the season. Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones went back-to-back-to-back off Santana with two outs in the third inning.
Still, it was Kuroda who shined brightest in this one, facing the minimum for 5 2/3 before Omar Quintanilla doubled into the left-center gap. It was the only hit he allowed on the night before a bruised foot forced him to depart after the seventh.
As for Santana, he had his typical velocity tonight after getting a couple of extra days of rest, but not his location, as he left too many pitches up in the strike zone. He’s now 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts this season.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.