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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 6, Braves 0: This was riveting for the first six innings when Noah Syndergaard and Julio Teheran exchanged zeroes. Once the Braves bullpen came in it was all over. Speaking as a Braves fan, watching Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman get on base all year only to see Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis fail to drive them in due to the massive forks sticking out of their backs is going to be supremely frustrating.

Nationals 4, Marlins 2: You’ve heard hack comedians make the joke about making the whole plane out of the black box? Bryce Harper would like them to make the whole schedule out of Opening Day. The Nats’ young star has five homers on Opening Day now. Adam Lind added a homer too. Meanwhile, some fans unfurled an “Impeach Trump” sign in the stands:

They did it after the game, though, apparently not wanting to risk getting kicked out before they got their money’s worth. True revolutionaries, them.

Red Sox 5, Pirates 3Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer in the five-run fifth. I picked him to be the the 2017 Rookie of the Year in our annual predictions post. I like my choice so far.

Rockies 7, Brewers 5: Like the Red Sox, the Brewers scored five runs in the fifth. Unlike the Red Sox they gave up two runs in second, fourth and seventh and an insurance run in the ninth to the Colorado Rockies. It would’ve been weird if the Red Sox had done that, though, as they were not playing the Rockies. Greg Holland picked up his first save since September 17, 2015. The next day he blew a save and blew out his elbow. Nice to see him back.

Dodgers 14, Padres 3: Entering this game Clayton Kershaw was 84-0 when given four runs of support or more. Here the Dodgers gave him 12 before he left the game so, no, the outcome was not exactly in doubt. The best pitcher in the galaxy game up one earned run while striking out eight in seven innings, needing only 84 pitches to do so.

I watched this one on the Dodgers network, SNLA, and not ESPN so I could take in the first Dodger home broadcast without Vin Scully. Joe Davis, the play-by-play guy was pretty good, but he’s not my real dad. I’ll have a lot more to say about the Dodgers booth and broadcasting in general in a post later this morning, so stay tuned.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2: A walkoff homer for Mark Trumbo in the 11th inning. I hope it was a gritty, blue collar homer and not some showboaty, Jose Bautista homer. After the game he said “I was just looking for a pitch to hit.” I guess that’s gritty. It’s boring, but it’s gritty. By the way: that walkoff homer wasn’t even the coolest thing that happened in the 11th inning of this game. This ridiculous play by Manny Machado was.

Twins 7, Royals 1: Minnesota started 0-9 last year, so it must be nice to get off to a 1-0 start. Miguel Sano homered and drew a bases-loaded walk. After Royals starter Danny Duffy gave up only one run over six innings, the Royals bullpen barfed up six runs in the seventh inning. It’s not 2015 for those guys anymore, that’s for sure. I wonder if they miss Greg Holland ’round about now.

Phillies 4, Reds 3: Starter Jeremy Hellickson drove in the fourth and ultimately deciding run with a sixth inning triple. Pitchers don’t hit many triples, that’s for dang sure.

Indians 8, Rangers 5: Cleveland was down 5-3 heading into the seventh but rallied for five runs in the final three frames. Not quite as impressive as, say, a team coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series, but still pretty good. Newcomer Edwin Encarnacion hit the game-tying homer in the eighth, so Cleveland’s big free agent investment is already paying dividends. Rougned Odor hit two bombs.

Astros 3, Mariners 0: The platonic ideal of an Astros game, at least from Houston’s point of view. Dallas Keuchel allowed two hits over seven innings and combined with two relievers for a three-hit shutout. Carlos Correa homered and drove in two runs while George Springer led off the game with a dinger of his own. Meanwhile, it was the anti-ideal of a Mariners game as starter Felix Hernandez left after five innings with tightness in his groin. One game into the season and the Mariners are down two starters, what with Drew Smyly being placed on the disabled list the other day. Sheesh.

Athletics 4, Angels 2: In my season preview of the Athletics I noted that, basically, all they have is Khris Davis and a ton of holes. On this night Khris Davis was almost enough on his own, hitting two homers, one of which represented the go-ahead run, while going 3-for-4. Stephen Vogt hit a solo shot of his own and Yonder Alonso singled in one. In my season preview of the Angels, I said that Mike Trout will be amazing but he won’t have enough help. Here the MVP hit a homer in a winning effort in a losing cause while no one else in the lineup did any damage. See? Not all previews and predictions are wrong.

Tigers vs. White Sox — POSTPONED:

Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin’ out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand
You got all the love
Honey baby, I can stand

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel lead 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

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Hall of Fame ballots for the 2018 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. Among the top newcomers: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood and Jamie Moyer . There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Chris Carpenter
Johnny Damon
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Jason Isringhausen
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Hideki Matsui
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Scott Rolen
Johan Santana
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Chipper Jones, the 1999 MVP, one of the best switch-hitters of all time and the unparalleled offensive star of the great Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s seems like a shoe-in. His case is boosted above his fantastic offensive numbers in the eyes of many voters by virtue of playing for the same team for his entire career.

Jim Thome is probably going to get a very large vote total and possibly will be inducted, having hit over 600 homers in his career. A challenge to his first-year induction is presented by the very large backlog of deserving candidates, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and by the fact that Thome’s career corresponded with baseball’s home run boom of the 1990s. Unlike other passed-over candidates of his era, Thome was never implicated in performance enhancing drug use, but it is the case that homers became cheaper for everyone during his career, and some may consider him a one-dimensional candidate. I suspect he’ll be in Cooperstown soon, be it this year or next year.

Omar Vizquel will receive a lot of support but his candidacy will also draw a lot of controversy. His backers will cite his defense and his longevity. His detractors will note that his defense was nowhere near as good as other defense-first inductees in the past such as Ozzie Smith, and that it was in no way good enough to make up for his below average bat. Complicating all of this will be fact that two superior defensive candidates who happened to have outstanding offensive numbers to go with them — Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen — are unlikely to receive anything approaching the level of support Vizquel will get, leading to . . . a lot of arguing.

And now the holdovers from last year’s ballot and ballots past, with last year’s percentage of the vote in parenthesis. Candidates need 75% of the vote in order to be inducted:

Barry Bonds (53.8)
Roger Clemens (54.1)
Vladimir Guerrero (71.1)
Trevor Hoffman (74.0)
Jeff Kent (16.7)
Edgar Martinez (58.6)
Fred McGriff (21.7)
Mike Mussina (51.8)
Manny Ramirez (23.8)
Curt Schilling (45.0)
Gary Sheffield (13.3)
Sammy Sosa (8.6)
Billy Wagner (10.2)
Larry Walker (21.9)

We’ve talked about all of these guys before, of course. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero seem likely to be elected given how close they came to induction last year. Many quite worthy candidates such as Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling will likely continue to receive less support than they deserve. PED-associated candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a boost in their previously-flagging candidacies last year, getting over 50% of the vote for the first time, but it’s unlikely that they’ll jump 22 and 21 points, respectively. Lesser PED-associated candidates such as Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez will likely forever remain on the outside looking in.

The results of the election will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.