Man, that’s a tough one. Former Ray David Price, facing his old mates, was absolutely dealing today. He pitched eight innings and allowed only one hit. Yet he still lost, 1-0.
The hit was a Brandon Guyer triple in the first inning which scored Ben Zobrist. The run was unearned, however, as Zobrist reached on an Eugenio Suarez error. Price didn’t allow another hit after that. He didn’t walk a batter all game and no one else reached on an error.
Our Matthew Pouliot just ran some Baseball-Reference.com inquiries and found that the Rays were just the third team to win a game with one hit and without drawing any walks since 1914. If you cancel out the walks qualifier, they are the 65th team to do it since 1914. Although it has been done four times in 2014 alone. The Padres have done it twice. Year of the pitcher, my friends.
You lose those games when your hitters are totally tied up, and the Tigers hitters were. First by Alex Cobb, who shut out Detroit for seven innings, himself allowing only two hits. Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee finished it off. The Tigers got four hits and drew two walks in the game — offensive explosion! — but couldn’t string anything together.
Like the Yankees-Astros game, this one was quick. A mere two hours and thirty-four minutes. Major League Baseball wants to speed up the pace of play? Heck, just make every game a day game on getaway day with solid pitchers on the bump. That’ll speed things right the heck up.
The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.
Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.
Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.
UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.
12:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.
Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.
The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.
What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.
Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.