Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 6, White Sox 5: Living with a Tigers fan is kinda hard sometimes. Like, when you have the Indians-White Sox game on the TV, she wants the Indians to lose, the White Sox blow a two-run lead in the ninth and then Carlos Santana hits a walkoff homer in extras. It’s even more complicated when, as a matter of pure coincidence, you’re wearing the White Sox shirt you picked up on that trip to U.S. Cellular last month and, when Santana hits the homer, you give a little chuckle that was in no way intended to mock said Tigers fan but was totally construed as such.

Braves 9, Rockies 0: But who cares? My team won. Atlanta just keeps rolling along, getting their sixth straight win and putting up the third six-run-or-more inning in as many games against Colorado. Mike Minor won his 11th game with seven shutout innings. After the game Freddie Freeman said “We’re clicking on all cylinders.” I think he meant firing. If your cylinders are clicking, you should probably go see your mechanic.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: The idea of a “statement game” or “statement series” has always seemed hokey to me as the only statement which matters is the last one you’ve made and there is still plenty of time left in the season. But yeah, the Cardinals are getting told. In other news, I have tickets to a Pirates game on August 17. Since — as the White Sox shirt thing demonstrates — I am one of those people who like to own hats and shirts and stuff from almost any team, not just my rooting interest, I bought a Pirates cap and shirt yesterday to wear to the game. I feel like I’m one of many thousands buying Pirates gear for the first time. And for good reason.

Red Sox 5, Mariners 4: This was a 15-inning marathon, but it ended in the Red Sox regaining the lead in the A.L. East. The AP game story lead notes that this one started in July and ended in August, which is the kind of cutesy fact my dad would point out to me. He’s the type who will go 200 miles out of his way to stand at Four Corners or who would prefer to ski at the California-Nevada line at Tahoe more than anyplace else specifically so he can tell people he skied across two states. My dad is an odd one.  Anyway, sorry for the digression. This one featured two spiffy defensive plays late: an unassisted double play by Jonny Gomes, who caught a ball and then ran all the way to second base himself to double off Raul Ibanez. It also featured this laser from Michael Saunders to cut down what would have been the game winning run in the bottom of the 14th on a fly to center. I could watch stuff like that all day.

Tigers 11, Nationals 1: Gio Gonzalez got obliterated and the Nats fall to 4-9 since the break and find themselves 11 games back. Alex Avila homered for the second straight game. Torii Hunter went 4 for 5.

Reds 4, Padres 1: The Reds break their losing streak behind eight and a third innings from Homer Bailey in which he allowed only an unearned run.  After a long road trip the Reds get a much-needed day off before a weekend series at home vs. the Cardinals.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 2: A three-run double in the 10th from Jose Bautista give the Blue Jays their fifth win in seven games. This was a sloppy one, with the Jays committing four errors and the A’s allowing a run to score on a passed ball.

Giants 9, Phillies 2: A solid outing from Chad Gaudin and a four-RBI day from Brett Pill. Good thing the Phillies stood pat at the deadline. This is a core you really don’t want to break up.

Astros 11, Orioles 0:  Just yesterday I didn’t even know what a Brett Oberholtzer was, and now here I am, looking at a pitching line of seven three-hit shutout innings for the guy. A grand slam and two doubles from Jason Castro.

Marlins 3, Mets 2: Jake Marisnick homered and Henderson Alvarez won. Each were players picked up in that big trade with the Blue Jays last offseason. Which, again, was a disaster in terms of P.R. and fan base relations for the Marlins, but actually brought back some useful pieces.

Cubs 6, Brewers 1: It’s weird to think of these two in the same division as the Cards, Pirates and Reds. So much good baseball played at the top, so much bad played at the bottom. Sorry Cubs and Brewers fans: I know I’m being unfair to you guys by not digging into the box scores of these games to find all of the interesting happenings, but there are a couple of teams which I just totally tune out toward the end of each season. You two are pretty close to the top of my list of tune-outs this year.

Diamondbacks 7, Rays 0: Wade Miley pitched two-hit ball into the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt homered and reached base four times. The Dbacks break their losing streak. And they gain ground on the Dodgers because …

Yankees 3, Dodgers 0: … Hiroki Kuroda tied ’em up for seven innings and the Yankees rallied for three in the ninth. Only blemish for New York here is the revelation that Kuroda simply doesn’t know how to win.

Rangers 2, Angels 1: Walkoff homer for Adrian Beltre. Best part: as he was mobbed at home he covered his head with both hands. That whole Adrian-Beltre-hates-people-to-touch-his-head thing is just odd.

Royals 4, Twins 3: Eight wins in a row for the Royals. This is the first time the Royals have been above .500 at the end of July in ten years.

Dallas Keuchel, Astros did talk long-term contract

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Dallas Keuchel‘s agent Darek Braunecker told MLB Network Radio in early January that he had not engaged in any long-term contract negotiations with the Astros’ front office. Two weeks later, the sides reached a one-year, $7.25 million agreement, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. So was a bigger financial commitment ever discussed?

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle has the answer, writing in his offseason review that the “Astros and Keuchel have had substantial talks about extensions [this winter] … but to no avail.”

Keuchel carries all the leverage in the world after winning the 2015 American League Cy Young Award with a 2.48 ERA, 1.017 WHIP, and 216/51 K/BB ratio in 232 innings. He also made three appearances in the postseason to a 2.57 ERA in 14 frames.

Keuchel’s $7.25 million salary for 2016 will be a record for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Locking up some of his free agent years (2019, 2020, 2021, etc.) would likely take a commitment of $120 million or more.

Houston has the 28-year-old left-hander under contractual control through 2018, and it sounds like the plan is to go season-to-season with his salaries.

He’ll remain a huge value to a good-looking Astros team.

Yadier Molina gets cast removed from surgically-repaired thumb

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Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right thumb shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the NLDS by the Cubs, and then he needed a followup procedure two months later.

It’s been an offseason of rest and rehab for the seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover, though he’s about ready to ramp up the intensity of workouts with the beginning of spring training approaching …

Brayan Pena was signed to a two-year, $5 million free agent contract this winter to provide more reliable depth behind the plate. He’ll be the Cardinals’ starter at catcher come Opening Day if Yadi isn’t quite ready.

Molina started a whopping 131 games behind the plate in 2015.

Jose Fernandez wants $30 million a year, Marlins don’t plan on paying

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You’ve heard the stories by now. Jose Fernandez does not get along with Marlins management and is doubtful to sign a long-term contract with the team.

There’s still time for those relationships to be repaired — Fernandez can’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season — but we also have a monetary issue at play.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Sunday that the Marlins are “under the impression” Fernandez and his representatives want $30 million per year on a long-term deal, a figure the Marlins “have no plans to meet.”

If the Marlins won’t pay, Fernandez and his reps will seek that number when the ace right-hander reaches free agency. That could be the same offseason Bryce Harper tries for $500 million.

A friend of Fernandez told Jackson that the 23-year-old native of Cuba was upset about some of the trades the Marlins made last summer and the removal of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. You probably heard talk of Miami shopping Fernandez this winter, but the asking price was predictably sky-high.

Fernandez has been limited to 19 starts over the last two years because of Tommy John surgery and a biceps injury, but he boasts a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 289 career major league frames. He will make $2.8 million in 2016 and carries two more years of arbitration eligibility.

If he can put together a run of 30-start, 200-inning seasons, Fernandez will get that $30 million per year and probably much more.

Michael Brantley’s timetable off shoulder surgery is “hazy”

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Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.

Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”

Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.

Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.

Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.

Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?

Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?