St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game Seven

And That Happened: Monday’s playoff highlights

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Giants 9, Cardinals 0:  Baseball rope-a-dope? The Giants just can’t be bothered until an elimination game? A Cardinal choke? An 88-win team finally showing why it only won 88 games?  A Giants pitching staff showing everyone that they are the deepest and best in the game? I guess there is some truth in all of that. Whatever you credit for the outcome of the series, however, this Game 7 was an obliteration and it probably will stick with St. Louis for a long, long time.

For now it doesn’t matter, however, as the Giants are NL Champs and the Cardinals are going home to St. Louis, their ascent stalled one win short of the World Series for three straight games.  San Francisco will face Detroit. The matchup, on paper, looks excellent. A matchup of two teams with a long and rich history yet who have never faced one another in a World Series. Two great pitching staffs. Two likely MVP winners.  Bring. It. On.

I’ll be getting on a plane for San Francisco later this morning where, for the first time, HBT will be giving you on-site coverage of the Fall Classic.  Not that I’m gonna stop talking about Batman and bourbon and stuff. I’ll just be doing it from the World Series. Hope you come along for the ride.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.