With Craig out of town, we have a “Settling the Score” in place of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
The Cardinals have at least assured themselves a spot in the NL Wild Card game, but they still have a division to win. After falling 6-4 to the Brewers on Sunday night, they currently hold a two-game lead over the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central with six games remaining in the regular season. Here’s how things set up this week.
The Cardinals are still sitting pretty right now, as they will play their final six games at home. They’ll begin a three-game series against the Nationals tonight before facing the last-place Cubs this weekend. The Reds will also be at home for their final six games. They’ll start at three-game series against the Mets tonight before getting the Pirates this weekend. As opposed to the Cardinals and Reds, the Pirates will finish the season on the road. They’ll play the Cubs for three before going to Cincinnati.
Whoever finishes in second and third place in the NL Central will almost certainly face off in the Wild Card game one week from tomorrow (the Nationals’ elimination number is down to two), but nobody wants their season to come down to just one game. Here’s hoping for a fun and dramatic final week.
Your Sunday box scores:
Giants 2, Yankees 1
Astros 2, Indians 9
Mets 4, Phillies 3
White Sox 6, Tigers 3
Reds 11, Pirates 3
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 5
Marlins 4, Nationals 2; Marlins 4, Nationals 5
Orioles 1, Rays 3
Braves 5, Cubs 2
Rangers 0, Royals 4 (10 innings)
Dodgers 1, Padres 0
Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 9
Mariners 3, Angels 2
Twins 7, Athletics 11
Cardinals 4, Brewers 6
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.