Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays, Marlins emerge victorious in pair of marathon games

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The Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Mets combined for 38 innings of baseball as the four teams engaged in two marathon games this afternoon. The Jays defeated the Rangers 4-3 in 18 innings while the Marlins emerged victorious over the Mets 2-1 in 20 innings.

It is the Jays’ second game lasting at least 17 innings in the last nine days, as they lost 4-3 to the Padres in 17 on May 31. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third against Rangers starter Yu Darvish on a two-run triple by Colby Rasmus, who scored on Jurickson Profar’s throwing error. Jeff Baker hit a solo home run in the seventh to put the Rangers on the board, the only blemish on Mark Buehrle’s line over seven frames. In the ninth against closer Casey Janssen, the Rangers scored twice on an A.J. Pierzynski RBI single and an Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly to tie the game at three apiece.

From there, the Jays relied on a handful of relievers while the Rangers called on Ross Wolf to make what turned out to be the equivalent of a start. Wolf entered in the 12th and didn’t leave until two outs in the 18th when the Jays walked off. With one out, Emilio Bonifacio singled. Wolf was trying to keep Bonifacio’s lead to a minimum and attempted to pick him off at first base, but made an errant throw which allowed Bonifacio to move to third base with one out. Rajai Davis got ahead 1-0 before singling to left to drive in the winning run.

As a Redditor pointed out, the pitchers of record were Aaron Loup (winner) and Ross Wolf (loser). “Loup” is French for “wolf”.

Today’s 18-inning affair matches the longest in Jays history, set on July 28, 2005 when they defeated the Angels 2-1. It is the longest game in Rangers history.

In the National League, Marlins starter Jose Fernandez went pound-for-pound with Mets starter Matt Harvey. Fernandez held the Mets to one run — a Juan Lagares RBI double in the second — over six innings. Harvey held the Fish to one run — a Chris Coghlan sacrifice fly in the fourth — over seven innings. He left the game with lower back tightness.

Both teams quickly exhausted their bullpens before relying on starters. For the Mets, Shaun Marcum held the Marlins scoreless on two hits over his first seven innings with seven strikeouts. He tired in his eighth inning of work, however, surrendering three consecutive singles to Placido Polanco, Rob Brantly, and Adeiny Hechavarria to put the Marlins up 2-1. Kevin Slowey held the Mets scoreless on eight hits over seven innings, striking out eight in the process. Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless 20th for the save.

It was the first game of 20 innings or longer for any Major League team since the Mets defeated the Cardinals 2-1 in 20 on April 17, 2010.

It is tied for the longest game in Marlins history. The Mets and Cardinals went 25 innings on September 11, 1974.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

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Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.