Four games? Really? What, people were supposed to watch hockey or something?
[Shut up, Calcaterra, hockey pays the bills around here — Ed.]
Um, congratulations, Chicago Blackhawks!
Padres 4, Phillies 3: Philly took a three-run lead into the bottom of the ninth with Cliff Lee still pitching a shutout when he began the inning. Then Kyle Blanks happened. Lee allowed the first two runners to reach and was relieved by Jonathan Papelbon, still up 3-0. Blanks promptly drove in two with a single. Blanks advanced to second when Papelbon hit the next batter with a pitch and Blanks took third on a double play. Then, oops, Carlos Ruiz allowed a passed ball which scored Blanks and onto extra innings we went. In the tenth the Padres loaded the bases with two walks and another hit-by-pitch after which Blanks won it with an RBI single. What a dispiriting way to lose a game.
Indians 5, Orioles 2: Michael Brantley drove in four as the Indians won for the ninth time in 12 games. That’s four straight losses for the O’s.
Dodgers 3, Giants 1: Yasiel Puig homers again — his seventh — and broke a tie with an RBI single in the eighth. After the game A.J. Ellis said of Puig, “he’s hitting everything and hitting it hard. I’m just really happy he’s on our side.” I think they said that about Dr. Manhattan too. The Dodgers have won three in a row, which is their longest winning streak of the season.
Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: Jeremy Hellickson shut out the Jays for seven innings, allowing only one hit. James Loney, Wil Myers and Sam Fuld went back-to-back-to-back in the second. The Jays’ winning streak ends at 11.
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.
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.