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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 4, Yankees 3: David Price didn’t get the decision in his Tigers debut but he pitched just fine, thank you. Eight and two-thirds innings, three runs ten strikeouts and no walks. Alex Avila had an RBI single off of Hiroki Kuroda n the seventh to force extras and then smacked the go-ahead and, eventually, game-winning homer in the top of the 12th. Joba Chamberlain pitched and retired all four batters he faced, but he was booed like crazy by Yankees fans. Which I totally get. I mean, he had the nerve to have his career in New York screwed up by injury, by the Yankees taking three years to figure out a role for him and by being far too overhyped and then over-criticized by the New York press. How dare he?

Reds 9, Indians 2:  This was . . . odd. The Indians were starting a little rally in the seventh on an RBI double by Yan Gomes that sent baserunner David Murphy toward third. Murphy tried to score when he saw the ball rolling on the field but it turned out it was merely a ball, not the ball. Specifically a ball that had gotten loose from the Reds bullpen, fooling Murphy into thinking it was the ball in play. Meanwhile, the ball in play was relayed to third where Murphy was tagged out. Not sure why the umpires didn’t call the play dead once the second ball came onto the field or why they didn’t use their handy-dandy replay in order to set this right, but they didn’t. Terry Francona’s comments after the game suggest that he did not have too big an issue with all of this so if he’s not mad I guess we shouldn’t be. But still: bizarre.

Rangers 16, White Sox 0: Adam Dunn pitched. ADAM DUNN PITCHED. That’s all you really gotta know, dudes. Robinson Chirinos homered twice, J.P. Arencibia drove in four and Colby Lewis pitched a six-hitter. He coulda pitched a six runner and been fine. Maybe the most amazing part of this was that a sixteen-run game with position players pitching took less than three hours.

Cubs 6, Rockies 5: Welcome to the big leagues, Javier Baez! He hit the go-ahead homer in the top of the 12th that proved to be the game winner. Before that he struck out in three of his five at bats, but no one will remember that. Heck, given where the Cubs and Rockies are in the standings, no one will remember anything about this game other than the Baez bomb.

Orioles 9, Blue Jays 3: Chris Davis, Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop all homered for the O’s and afterward O’s pitcher Bud Norris called it a “big statement game.” Whatever. As O’s manager Earl Weaver once said, “we do this every day.” There are 162 of these things, man. None of them are ever really statements.

Twins 3, Padres 1: Kennys Vargas — which is also the proper plural form for when there are mutiple men named “Kenny Vargas” around — hit a three-run homer in the sixth which is all the Twins needed.

Phillies 2, Astros 1: This one took 15 innings but ended on a Ryan Howard RBI single. He had some incentive to do some damage too, as they walked Chase Utley to get to him. I mean, I know he’s not what he used to be, but Ryan Howard still has some pride, dammit, and he made ’em pay.

Marlins 6, Pirates 3: A five-run eighth inning rally which featured a based loaded walk to Marcell Ozuna, who drove in two on the night. Tough for Charlie Morton who pitched seven sharp innings allowing only one run before having to witness his bullpen cough it all back up.

Brewers 4, Giants 3: This one ended on an overturned 4-3 play n which the Giants runner was originally called safe. After the game Bruce Bochy grumbled about the call, saying that he wasn’t sure how what he saw on the video could be called “conclusive.” Oh wells. Gerardo Parra had a nice game, with a go-ahead homer in the seventh and a sweet catch on a foul ball that was slicing away from him in the eighth.

Cardinals 3, Red Sox 2: Jon Jay hit an RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning to break the tie and put the Cards up for good. The rally that inning was started by recent Red Sox and current Cards catcher A.J. Pierzynski, how smacked a two-out hit. The Cards have won three and a row and four of five. The Sox have lost three straight. The World Series was a long time ago.

Mets 6, Nationals 1: Zack Wheeler started didn’t have his best stuff and started slowly but got on track and ended up winning his fourth straight. He’s now 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last seven appearances.

Athletics 3, Rays 0: Jason Hammel had lost four straight starts and had an ERA pushing ten since coming to Oakland from Chicago and had even been subject to trade and/or waiver rumors, but he tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings here. Drew Smyly was not so effective in his Rays debut, allowing three over five and a third. Coco Crisp had an RBI single in his first start in a week and a half.

Royals 12, Diamondbacks 2: Billy Butler had a three-run homer and had four hits and Nori Aoki hit a grand slam, giving Danny Duffy all the run support he needed. Wade Miley was forced to wear this one a good while before coming out, having given up ten runs.

Mariners 4, Braves 2: Ho-hum, the Braves lose again. It’s cool, I wasn’t too invested in having strong personal emotions about baseball this October anyway. To be honest, I wasn’t all that invested in the Braves winning this one either given that they had to face Felix Hernandez. The King struck out eight over eight innings allowing one run. He has now made 15 straight starts in which he has gone at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer, which a record. Speaking of records, his is now 12-3, which projects out to 17-4. Which for him is insane. Just give him the Cy Young now and save all the waiting.

Dodgers 5, Angels 4: Clayton Kershaw was human — he gave up three runs over seven innings and walked a couple dudes — but the Dodgers prevailed thanks to an errant David Freese throw to the plate in the ninth which allowed Juan Uribe to score the winning run. If Freese’s throw is on target he probably gets Uribe too. It just took Chris Ianetta out of position too far to handle it, let alone snag it and make the tag.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

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Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.