Cubs Celebrate

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 17, Cardinals 5: There’s a score that’ll lead to some deceptive stats for a little while. Team ERAs and averages and run differentials and things like that. Doesn’t make the Cubs good nor the Cardinals bad, but it creates temporary analytical chaos and that’s always a good thing. Anyway, 17 runs in support of Travis Wood is fun. Especially considering that Jeff Samardzija has gotten 15 runs of support over his eight starts. Junior Lake drove in six.

Tigers 4, Orioles 1: Benches cleared after Bud Norris plunked Torii Hunter following an Ian Kinsler home run. No punches or anything or really any shoving and stuff, but it does seem like Norris was throwing at Hunter out of frustration. Rick Porcello won his fifth start in a row and sixth game overall.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 5: Arizona carried a 5-4 lead from the sixth to the ninth but then Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa each hit solo homers and that was that.

Mets 9, Yankees 7: The Mets continue to own the Yankees for some reason. This time after overcoming three-run deficits twice. Four Mets homers, some shaky Yankees relief, a successful bullpen debut for Jenrry Mejia and a gimpy Mark Teixeira — who couldn’t make it to second base on a ball to the wall and then turned into the first out of a game-ending double play — all factored in this one.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 5: Yasiel Puig hit his third homer in four days — this a three-run job — and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He has 26 career homers. This one was the 12th that came on the first pitch. I’m sure that means he’s doing something wrong and destructive to the team. Dan Haren allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings without walking anyone.

Blue Jays 7, Angels 3: Mark Buehrle wins his seventh of the season. He’s the first guy in the bigs to do that. Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie each hit homers. The Jays avoided a four-game sweep. In other news, weekend series that wrap around to Monday were invented by fifth columnists back in the 1940s in order to destabilize society and annoy game recappers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Giants 4, Braves 2: Tim Lincecum had his best start of the year, striking out 11. A lot of pitchers have had their best starts of the year facing the Braves lately. Tyler Colvin and Freddie Freeman each hit homers into McCovey Cove. It was the first time two homers hit the water in the same game since Barry Bonds did it twice himself on May 18, 2002.

Rangers 4, Astros 0: Colby Lewis tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings, striking out eight, and the pen finished the job. Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit homers. Odor’s first as a big leaguer.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4: Jesse Chavez went eight innings and the A’s won their fifth straight. A Jed Lowrie double, a Josh Reddick triple and a Josh Donaldson homer accounted for Oakland’s scoring.

Mariners 12, Rays 5: Felix Hernandez took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a three-run double, but he got staked to a 9-0 lead after three innings and notched his first win in a month anyway. Then he got ejected as he was barking at the umpire while leaving the game, which is probably the best time to get ejected if you have to do so.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.