New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 2, Mets 1: A three-hour and fifty-two minute rain delay? Really? Despite that, Dillon Gee shut the Braves out through eight and a third and drove in the Mets’ only run. And despite that he gave up a walkoff two-run homer to Freddie Freeman just before 1:30 AM. Now they play a day-night doubleheader. Expect many yawns.

Tigers 5, Orioles 1: Max Scherzer is now 10-0 as he struck out ten Orioles in six innings of work. The biggest coming against Chris Davis with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth and home plate umpire Tim Timmons apparently trying to make a point about the randomness of nature and strike zones. Blew a couple of 96-97 m.p.h. fastballs by the AL home run leader.

Blue Jays 2, Rockies 0: Josh Johnson tossed seven and a third five-hit shutout innings fanning 10 and the Jays won their sixth straight. A week ago Monday they were at their nadir, 12 games back in the AL East. They’re not close now — 8.5 back — but that’s a decent gain in a short amount of time. Worth watching.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 4: Yadier Molina had two hits including a two-run double to raise his average to .355, which is nutso. Shelby Miller threw five shutout innings and then left with leg cramps. Bananas, Shelby. Eat more bananas. Trust me on this one.

Royals 2, Indians 1: The Royals get to .500 and move into second place, taking their 11th win in 13 games. Victory here came when the go-ahead run scored from third base on a wild pitch by reliever Matt Albers in the ninth.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: Jonathan Papelbon vultures a win, blowing his first save of the season but giving up a two-out, two-strike homer to Chad Tracy, then but notching the win when Domonic Brown hit a two-out walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth. Off Fernando Abad, because one cannot use a closer in a tie game on the road, even if one is Davey Johnson, apparently.

Reds 4, Pirates 1: Homers from Zach Cozart, Todd Frazier, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Bruce has three homers in his last five games. The Reds stay a game and a half ahead of Pittsburgh for second place. They are off to their best start in 18 years.

Rangers 8, Athletics 7: Texas breaks its six-game hitting streak behind two Nelson Cruz homers and five and a third one-run innings from the bullpen following Nick Tepesch’s poor start. The AP gamer frames this as the Rangers responding to Ron Washington’s pep talk during a closed-door meeting on Sunday. If closed-door meetings worked that way managers would have them every day, yes?

Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 2: Giancarlo Stanton vs. Paul Goldschmidt. Each accounted for all of his team’s runs. Goldschmidt’s came on a solo homer and an RBI singleStanton’s, however, game on two homers which drove in three. Stanton’s second homer was the 100th of his career. The Marlins had three hits total.

White Sox 4, Astros 2: Chicago avoids a sweep in this wraparound series. All the Sox’ runs came in the sixth, topped with a Dayan Viciedo bases-loaded triple.

Angels 11, Mariners 3: Albert Pujols and Alberto Callaspo each had four hits and Josh Hamilton had a two-run homer. They rattled off 21 hits in all, their most in four years. Just like they drew it up, huh?

Padres 5, Giants 3: Seven wins in a row for the Pads, this one coming in 13 innings, with the tie-breaking run coming on an Andrew Cashner pinch-hit bunt. The Giants thought they had this one won in the 12th when Juan Perez drove one to the warning track but Will Venable made a fantastic diving catch.

The Braves and Fulton County are fighting over a Hank Aaron statue

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, a statue of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron stands outside Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves pulled perhaps the most surprising move of the year. They announced after months of secret talks with Cobb County leaders plans to move to a suburban stadium and leave downtown where they’ve played since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. The impending Braves’ departure aside, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed managed to keep the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons happy. He agreed for the city to cover part of the construction costs for a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. Both new stadiums are projected to open in 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Associated Press
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Divorce is hard. It’s hard on the kids and hard on your own emotions. Then, of course, there’s the fighting over money. Eventually you sort that stuff out too, but at some point you’ll come across something that cannot be divided between you and for which visitation schedules simply aren’t suitable.

Maybe it’s the family photo album. Maybe it’s that 60-year-old cast iron skillet which you got at that estate sale and which is perfectly seasoned and, oh God, you can’t imagine making fried chicken in anything else YOU GOT THE HOUSE, JENNY, MY GOD I GET TO KEEP THE SKILLET!!!

Um. Sorry. Got carried away there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes. Maybe it’s that statue you and your ex both love. You know, that one of the guy who hit 755 home runs and who has served as the face of your franchise for over 60 years:

For about three hours Wednesday, it looked like the statue of baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be staying in Atlanta.

The agency that owns Turner Field proudly announced it holds documents showing “the people of Atlanta and Fulton County” own the bronze, and that a deal had been struck with the Braves to keep the statue at Turner Field.

Then came a statement from the Braves saying, in effect: nuh huh. The statue, the team said, should go wherever the Hammer wants it.

And with those dueling press statements, the fate over one of Atlanta’s treasured sports landmarks remained in limbo, just as it has been since the day the Braves announced plans in late 2013 to move from downtown to Cobb County after the 2016 season.

The latest: Hank Aaron says he wants no part of the dispute and that the club and the city should solve it themselves. Which is absolutely the right move. And, frankly, kind of crappy of the Braves to throw it in Aaron’s lap in the first place. They’re the ones who, figuratively speaking, broke up the marriage by messing around with that younger, richer suitor after all. Now they’re trying to make Aaron either be a bad guy to Braves fans who attend games after 2016 and don’t get to see the statue or the city of Atlanta who would have yet another piece of their baseball history transplanted to the burbs? Forget that.

If I were Aaron I’d propose that we saw the thing in half. Then we’d see who values it more. I heard that approach has worked before.

Tim Lincecum is working out in an “secret location”

Tim Lincecum
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A free agent pitcher on the decline coming off of major surgery and still looking for work on February 12 isn’t exactly the definition of Big News. But as newspaper men have known for ages, if you make a bit of information sound cool enough, it becomes news.

Or, in some cases, you can make a lack of information sound cool. If you hear about a trade rumor but aren’t able to actually find out the identity of one of the teams, call it a “mystery team.” Oooh, isn’t that dramatic? Aren’t you privy to all kinds of intrigue! Or, how about this: that free agent on the decline is doing what scores of other ballplayers looking for work are doing and is working out in the Phoenix area, trying to catch on someplace. That’s kind of boring. And you don’t even know who he’s auditioning for or where to boot. Man, that’s not the sort of information that’s gonna be fun or interesting to report.

Wait!

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There. “Secret location.” THAT sounds exciting. THAT separates this bit of news from the dog-bites-man “baseball player playing baseball” non-story. *reporter cracks knuckles* “Now to sit back and wait for the plaudits for my amazing reporting skills to come rolling in.”

CC Sabathia: getting in shape and ready for baseball

sabathia getty
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CC Sabatha made headlines in October when he abruptly left the Yankees to go into alcohol rehab. After a month there he came back and gave interviews about his decision and his battle with the bottle and then disappeared into the offseason the way most players do.

He emerged the other day and spoke with the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand and says that he’s ready for baseball once again. Indeed, in some ways he’s more ready now than he usually is by mid February. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions for the past three weeks — he normally waits until he gets to Tamps — and he says his troublesome knee is feeling good.

 

Sabathia will turn 36 during the season. In 2015 he was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts and posted his lowest strikeout rate in a decade. Late in the season, however, with the help of a knee brace, he was at his most effective in some time. He won’t need to return to 2008 form in order to help the Yankees this season, but he will need to look more like he did in September if he is to help the Yankees to the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.