Yasiel Puig Getty

Settling the Score: Thursday’s results


Craig is away today, so we’re going with a “Settling the Score” in lieu of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday.

While plenty of attention was focused on the 2013 First-Year Player Draft last night, there were some baseball games going on. And Yasiel Puig stole the show once again, as the Cuban outfielder smacked a dramatic grand slam in a 5-0 victory over the Braves.

Zack Greinke gave up four hits over seven shutout frames and struck out seven for his third win of the season. The Dodgers held a slim 1-0 lead before Puig broke things open with an opposite-field blast off Cody Gearrin with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. And yes, he got another curtain call at Dodger Stadium. He’s already making a habit out of those.

Puig is now hitting .438 (7-for-16) with three home runs, one double and nine RBI over his first four games in the big leagues. For the moment, all that talk about him saving the Dodgers’ season doesn’t sound like hyperbole.

Your Thursday box scores:

Rays 2, Tigers 5

Diamondbacks 8, Cardinals 12

Orioles 3, Astros 1

Phillies 5, Brewers 1

Twins 3, Royals 7

Rangers 3, Red Sox 6

Athletics 5, White Sox 4 (10 innings)

Padres 6, Rockies 5 (12 innings)

Yankees 6, Mariners 1

Mets/Nationals – PPD

Michael Cuddyer not shining in left field early in NLDS Game 1

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.

Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.

With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.

Mets take lead during NLDS Game 1 with Daniel Murphy’s solo homer

Daniel Murphy
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
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Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.

Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.

Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.

Qualifying offer for free agents set at $15.8 million

Jason Heyward
AP Photo
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Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.

This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.

Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.

Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.

A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.