Indians walkoff

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 5, Tigers 4: Michael Brantley with the walkoff job ends Cleveland’s four-game losing streak. It wasn’t easy to get there — Detroit’s J.D. Martinez hit a pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie it up at four — but the Indians will take a win any way they can get it these days.

Reds 4, Nationals 3: Todd Frazier connected for a two-run homer in the 15th inning off Ross Detwiler. But the real story was the leather flashed by the Redlegs in order to get to the 15th inning in the first place. Brandon Phillips robbed Wilson Ramos of a hit with a catch behind second base with a runner on third to end the 12th inning. Then, in the 14th, Billy Hamilton made a diving grab to rob Anthony Rendon of a hit and, in all likelihood, the game-winning RBI given that there was a runner on second. Check them out here.

Braves 9, Brewers 3: Atlanta’s offense has been turrible, turrible, but they finally broke out. Every player except Chris Johnson had a hit and Freddie Freeman, Ryan Doumit And Justin Upton all had homers. I’m assuming that the offense was caused by me not watching the game, as every time I’ve tuned in lately they’ve been pathetic. Instead I watched the first four innings of the Tigers-Indians game followed by the first two hours or so of “Magnolia” because I apparently didn’t want to be happy last night.

White Sox 7, Royals 6: Kansas City was up 5-0 after one inning. But that’s why they play nine. The Chisox scored three in the third, one in the fourth and then had one run in in the fifth to make it 6-5 Kansas City before Paul Konerko connected with a two-run homer. Lots of great bullpen work from the Sox, first after Scott Carroll struggled and then after closer Matt Lindstrom ran into trouble in the ninth.

Astros 5, Angels 2: Dallas Keuchel continues to be a stopper for Houston. He ran out of gas in the ninth, falling one out short of pitching his second straight shutout, but he picked up his fifth win anyway, despite two runners he put on coming around after he gave way to a reliever. Having someone step up like he has been can be the difference between a team being super, dispiritingly bad and merely bad, as the avoidance of big losing streaks and the occasional preservation of a the bullpen is a nice thing, mentally speaking.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.