Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 4, Rays 2: Chris Davis homers again. Number 46 on the year. He’s four short of the all-time Orioles record. He tied Rafael Palmiero for the most home homers in Orioles history with 25. Tommy Hunter got the save, as it does appear that Buck Showalter is gonna go with the hot hand now. Or, at the very least, avoid Jim Johnson.

Braves 4, Mets 1: Three run homers in the tenth inning are great. Blown calls at first base that allow those three run homers to happen instead of the third out of the inning being properly recorded are not so great. I’ll get over this one and won’t renounce the win because that would be silly, but yeah, this game woulda been very different if it were the Replay Era.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2: Hit number 4,000 for Ichiro between the U.S. and Japan. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’d be pushing that mark if he had spent his whole career here too. Such a unique talent. Alfonso Soriano — who also spent some time in Japan — hit the tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. The Yankees still have to climb over three teams, but they are only four back in the wild card.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Brendan Ryan got to play and had two hits and drove in three runs. GIven how awesome his glove is it’s sad that he doesn’t hit better so he can hang around longer and get more PT.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 6: Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig homers and four relievers help bail out the redbirds after Jake Westbrook couldn’t make it out of the fifth. Westbrook did hit a bases-loaded double THHOC, however.

Red Sox 12, Giants 1: Barry Zito was shellacked for six runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds. We may have seen his final start as a Giant, if Bruce Bochy’s cryptic comments about changes to be made mean what they sound like they mean. Even if he gets another, his time in San Francisco is almost over and it’s ending very much like it began.

Indians 3, Angels 1: A year ago Cleveland ended the year with just 68 wins. Last night won their 69th. With more than a month remaining, the Indians are just five and a half games behind division leading Detroit and two and a half behind the A’s for the wild card. Not bad for a team that, at times anyway, has looked lost. Just very hot and cold. A two-run homer for Nick Swisher and a strong outing for Justin Masterson who, last start against them notwithstanding, has historically owned the Angels.

Padres 2, Pirates 1: Ian Kennedy tossed seven shutout innings and the Padres avoided the sweep. Yonder Alonso did all the damage on offense. Or, yonder, Alonso did all the damage. Unless you actually were in San Diego yesterday in which case that would be misleading.

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Another low-run-support no-decision for Cliff Lee as the Phillies failed to capitalize on many early opportunities, but Michael Young hit a walkoff single to end it.

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Boy the Twins stink. I watched the second half of this game and the Tigers’ late rally was the stuff of both good hitting on their part but a lot of boneheaded plays and curious pitch selection on the part of Minnesota. It just looks like a totally lost team.

Reds 10, Diamondbacks 7: Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI and the Reds started early with an 8-0 lead. They needed all of that to hold of the Dbacks. But hold them off they did and now have a pretty comfortable six-game lead over Arizona for the second wild card.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Elvis Andrus with a walkoff sac fly. That’s probably among the least uplifting walkoff events you can have. Walkoff errors or wild pitches at least have some moment of unexpected excitement to them. Walkoff walks have a sense of building tension as the pitcher struggles to locate. A walkoff sac fly is, like, “and, yep, there it is. It will be deep enough. Ballgame.”

Dodgers 4, Marlins 1: Zack Greinke had eight innings of one-run ball. Yasiel Puig went 0 for 5, but hey, at least he was on time to the ballpark.

White Sox 5, Royals 2: Dayan Viciedo hit a grand slam and that made all the difference. Well most of the difference, but I read Robert Frost before bed last night and I wanted to say “that made all the difference” at some point today.

Nationals 11, Cubs 6: Two homers for Anthony Rizzo were nice but Cubs pitchers gave up two three-run homers to Nats hitters. And that has made all the difference.

OK, that worked a little better, with the exception of the awkward “has.” But we’ll just go with it.

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?