Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Players who hit multiple home runs in a game are the new inefficiency. Teams should definitely stock up on those guys while they’re undervalued.

Cubs 9, White Sox 3: Backup catcher Dioner Navarro smacked three homers — a solo, a two-run and a three-run jack — to pace the Cubbies. A Cubbies team who happen to have a +1 run differential despite a record of 21-30. That doesn’t mean a ton in a mere 51 games and I doubt it will be sustainable, but it is an “aw, neat” kind of thing.

Orioles 9, Nationals 6: Three homers for Ryan Zimmerman too. Unfortunately not enough for the Nats, as his partner in Zimmermanness — Jordan — got rocked for seven runs in six innings. Chris Davis had two homers of his own and the O’s pen tossed four and a third shutout innings in relief of Chris Tillman.

Phillies 4, Red Sox 3: Dom Brown hit two homers to add to his great month of May. A weird month of May too. He has 10 home runs this month but no walks. Maybe pitchers ought to stop throwing him strikes? Just a suggestion! Ryan Howard also went yard, breaking an extremely long home run drought for him.

Indians 5, Reds 2: Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi each hit homers and Justin Masterson allowed only one run in six innings for his eighth win of the year. The Indians snap a five game losing streak.

Pirates 5, Tigers 3: Anibal Sanchez almost no-hit the Twins his last time out. This time he was far more mortal as the Pirates plated five runs off him in six and two thirds. Wait, one can’t be “more mortal.” One is either mortal or immortal. Being “more mortal” is like being “more pregnant.”

Mets 9, Yankees 4:Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis were called into a meeting the other day and were told they could be sent down to Las Vegas. It’s even being reported that, had the Mets not rallied against Mariano Rivera on Tuesday night, the demotions would’ve happened. Now, I have no idea what difference the rally against Rivera made — how can a weird fluke like that determine personnel decisions? — but it did get them a reprieve. And last night Tejada led off the game with a hit an scored and Davis drove in two in the first inning. David Phelps only recorded one out before he was yanked. Ivan Nova later pitched five solid innings in relief. Let’s pretend they were flip-flopped and this was a bullpen implosion. Makes for better copy. That’s four losses in a row for the Yankees. Maybe they’ve reached the limits of what no-names can do for them.

Blue Jays 3, Braves 0: The Jays went with a committee approach to pitching in this game, starting a reliever and having no one go more than three and a third innings, and it friggin’ worked to the tune of a four-hit shutout. Braves starter Kris Medlen left the game after being hit on the calf with a comebacker but he’s expected to make his next start. Of course, given that there’s a chance he goes to the pen when Brandon Beachy comes back, I’m gonna call this yet another bullpen injury for Atlanta.

Rays 3, Marlins 1: Eight straight losses for the Marlins. Thank god they got rid of all of those players who made them stink last year. Fauxsto Carmona allowed but an unearned run in eight and two-thirds. There should be someone keeping track of how many Marlins game stories talk about the opposing pitchers seemingly figuring something out or taking a strong step forward with little or no acknowledgment that facing these minor league bats is the most relevant factor.

Twins 4, Brewers 1: Aaron Hicks hit a homer and had a nice, home run-saving catch. I feel like I’ve written that before very recently.

Angels 4, Dodgers 3: Jered Weaver returns and pitches six one-run innings. Well, one one-run inning and five in which he allowed no runs. Six one-run innings would be dreadful.

Cardinals 5, Royals 3: Remember when the Royals won spring training and started pretty good and some people were all like “hey, here come the Royals?” Hahaha, that was awesome. Aaron Crow was rocked for four runs in a nightmare eighth inning. Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran each homered for the second straight game.

Astros 6, Rockies 3: Tyler Chatwood struck out ten guys in six innings but Erik Bedard matched him in the more important runs allowed column and the Astros got to the Colorado pen. A homer and a safety squeeze helped Houston in their three-run ninth.

Padres 3, Mariners 2: Eric Stultz was dominant for eight innings, striking out 12, but the Padres bats couldn’t make anything happen against Joe Saunders. Will Venable hit a walkoff single in the tenth, however. Very little offense on a cool night in San Diego. Who woulda thunk it?

Athletics 9, Giants 6: The A’s are on fire, winners of six straight. This one wasn’t easy, though: it was a seesaw affair that lasted nearly four hours. As for the Giants, Bruce Bochy said this:

“We pretty much covered all facets of the game tonight as far as not playing well.”

At least they were thorough?

Diamondbacks vs. Rangers: POSTPONED: In the twilight glow I see them. Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain. When we kissed goodbye and parted. I knew we’d never meet again. Love is like a dyin’ ember. Only memories remain. Through the ages I’ll remember. Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain. Some day when we meet up yonder. We’ll stroll hand in hand again. In a land that knows no partin’. Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain. Now my hair has turned to silver. All my life I’ve loved in vain. I can see her star in heaven. Blue eyes crying in the rain.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.