And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Sorry the recaps are a bit later than usual. A multi-day sleep deficit finally came due last night and I slept in to the shockingly late hour of 7am. I feel like a layabout. Half the day is gone. Oh well.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Twins 11, Tigers 5: Gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Tigers have some problems with the back end of the rotation and long relief. Minnesota beat up on Jordan Zimmermann for five runs and long man Anibal Sanchez for six. In better news, Miguel Cabrera hit a homer, so reports of his demise were exaggerated. Miguel Sano hit a homer too. It was a rocket that cleared the greenery in straightaway center field of Comerica Park. That’s 420 to the wall and Sano’s bomb was estimated at 446 feet. Mercy.

Red Sox 4, Pirates 3: Hanley Ramirez is over the flu. He doubled in two in a the Sox’ three-run eighth inning rally and then scored on a Xander Bogaerts single. The Pirates have dropped four in a row. In good news, Andrew McCutchen hit a homer which tied him on the all-time Pirates home run list with Barry Bonds at 176. Now all McCutchen has to do is leave via free agency, immediately, for San Francisco and hit another 587 homers and he can be the all-time home run champ. He’ll be 45 at the time if he does it as quickly as Bonds.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 0: The Cubs take two of three from L.A., holding them to four runs in three games. Brett Anderson, making his Cubs debut against his old mates, held them scoreless for five. Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in two.

Rangers 8, Angels 3: All of this has happened before. And will happen again: The second 8-3 win for the Rangers over the Angels in two nights. Robinson Chirinos doubled in one and singled in two. Yu Darvish struck out ten in seven shutout innings. So say we all.

White Sox 10, Indians 4: The Chisox jumped on Josh Tomlin for five in the first and two in the second. They were sad to see him go but piled on three more runs. Three apiece were knocked in by Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson. Davidson’s came via a three-run homer in the first that broke the game wide open. After starting the season with a sweep of the Rangers, the Tribe has lost five of six.

Yankees 3, Rays 2: Aaron Hicks homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh. Luis Severino allowed two runs over seven innings, striking out 11. But of course, Yankees fans know that they can always count on heroics and top-notch performance from Hicks and Severino.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays fall to 1-8 and, to add injury to insult, lose Josh Donaldson due to that nagging calf he’s had. Four of Toronto’s eight losses have been one-run decisions, and only one of them has been by more than two runs. Horseshoes, hand grenades.

Brewers 5, Reds 1: Jimmy Nelson cooled off the Reds, holding them to one run in seven innings and snapping their five-game winning streak. Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered off of Bronson Arroyo, who has now given up 11 runs on 13 hits in ten innings in two starts. His comeback was a nice spring story, but I do not expect that it will extend too much beyond spring.

Mets 9, Marlins 8: Yoenis Cespedes hit three homers on Tuesday night and added two more last night. The most noteworthy blast in this one, however, came from Travis d'Arnaud, who put the Mets up in the top of the 16th inning with a solo shot. That’d hold up for the Mets win. Way back in the second inning d’Arnaud tripled in three runs. He had four hits on this long night.

Royals 3, Athletics 1: Kansas City snaps its eight-game losing streak to the A’s. The win came mostly due to Jason Vargas being awesome. Being unbelievably good. Just ask Ned Yost:

“He was awesome,” the skipper said.

Care to elaborate?

“He was unbelievably good,” Yost said.

Told ya.

Varagas shut the A’s out for seven and two-thirds.

Rockies 3, Giants 1: Colorado starter Jon Gray had to leave early with a toe injury, but the bullpen sucked it up with five pitchers combining to toss six innings of one-run ball. Trevor Story‘s two-run homer off of Madison Bumgarner in the fourth was enough to win this one, but Mark Reynolds singled in one later for some insurance.

What do the losers of the Gerrit Cole derby do now?

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Gerrit Cole is now a New York Yankee. Nine years and $324 million make that so. But though the Yankees are the only team who gets him, they weren’t the only team interested in him. So let’s take a look at what the losers of the Gerrit Cole derby — the Dodgers and the Angels — can do now that they know they’ve lost.

Dodgers

The Dodgers were hopeful they had a shot due to Cole’s Los Angeles ties. Welp, that didn’t pan out. Which is not a shock. I’m struggling to think of the last time that whole “he’s from [place] so he’ll want to sign with [team near place]” thing worked out. It didn’t happen with CC Sabathia in the Bay Area. It didn’t happen with Mark Teixeira in Baltimore. It didn’t even work out with Brandon Webb in Cincinnati. Money talks, geography walks.

But the Dodgers wanted Cole. They wanted to bolster a pitching staff that has relied on an aging and now free agent Rich Hill and on free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu. There’s a hole to fill, and without Cole available to fill that hole, they’ll have to do something. What is the something they can do?

How about sign their chief rival’s last big pitching star?

It’s certainly a decent plan. But it’s one that might get expensive for Los Angeles. USA Today reported on Monday that Bumgarner was seeking five years and $100 million-plus. Some raised their eyebrows at that report, but given how much Stephen Strasburg and Cole commanded, it seems downright reasonable now. That’s especially the case given that the Giants — despite being on the brink of a rebuild — probably don’t want to see their franchise hero sign with the hated Dodgers:

So it’ll be a bidding war. A war that will make Madison Bumgarner a very large amount of money.

 

Angels

The Angels made no secret of their desire to land Cole. Joe Maddon talked openly about him in his press conference here at the Winter Meetings on Monday. Cole talked openly during the 2019 season, and since it ended, about his connection to Orange County and the Big A.

But the Angels didn’t have the talent to entice Cole and to make him believe that they could contend like the Yankees can. If they made a competitive offer — and we don’t know if they did — they still would’ve had to convince him that they could win. And, really, there is no real basis to believe that they could make a credible case for that.

So where do the Angels go?

General Manager Billy Eppler said on Tuesday that the Angels did not have Gerrit Cole tunnel vision and that they could spend in excess of $20 million a year on multiple players, none of which had to be Cole. On Tuesday the Angels shed the contract of Zack Cozart and, with his $12 million+ and roster spot opened up, the Halos are said to be interested in third baseman Anthony Rendon or, as a fallback, Josh Donaldson.

As for pitching, the Angels will likely prove to be competition for  Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and perhaps free agent Dallas Keuchel. They could also pursue trade options such as affordable pitchers like Miami’s Caleb Smith or Detroit’s Matthew Boyd or less-affordable — but less-costly in a trade — options like David Price, who the Red Sox were rumored to be shopping in the name of salary relief. Which is to say, the Angels have options, even if their top option is off the table.

But both they and their counterparts up in Los Angeles County, now have to go back to the drawing board now that Gerrit Cole is New York bound.