And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Braves 4, Giants 2: “Ladies and gentlemen: the part of Tim Lincecum will be performed tonight by Jair Jurrjens.” (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K).

A’s 16, Twins 1: The A’s scored so much so early that starter
Trevor Cahill had to run down to the bullpen to warm up again while his
teammates were up to bat. Or maybe the fact that they were actually
scoring like this just blew his effing mind and he needed some alone
time to get it together. This is like a fortnight’s worth of offense
for this team. Yeah, forsooth I said fortnight.

Nationals 3, Mets 1: Bad: the Mets losing two of three to the
Nats. Worse: rumor has it that, after the game, V.P. of player
development Tony Bernazard drove a Cadillac into the hotel swimming
pool, blew up a toilet with cherry bombs, and challenged the security
staff to an “I quit” match, Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.-style.
Bernazard is expected to be fired later this week, and replaced by
either former Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones or by Lex Luger.

Dodgers 6, Reds 2: Pinch hit grand slam for Manny in the sixth
to break a 2-2 tie! Wow! Oh, wait, I forgot: We’re not supposed to be
enjoying this. Bad Manny. Bad, bad, bad. You have ruined baseball.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: The Bombers are rolling. If you don’t
believe it, just read the game stories which talk about how they’ve won
six in a row, 16 of their last 19, 19 of their last 26, LVII of their
last XCIV, etc. I’m sure there are other ways that could be expressed,
but I don’t know how to do exponents and quadratic equations and all of
that stuff.

Blue Jays 10, Indians 6: I’m glad I didn’t stick with that
“Major League”-quote-until-a-three-game-winning-streak gag from a few
weeks ago, because I’d be out of material and moving on to the Tony
Danza version of “Angels in the Outfield” by now. And man, between the
Indians putridity and the sense of foreboding surrounding the Jays at
the deadline, this series is more depressing than watching “Requiem for
a Dream” while listening to a Morrissey box set.

Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Don’t worry, Red Sox Nation. Chris Duncan
will be there in time for Friday’s game against the Orioles and make
all the hurtin’ go away. And how is it that Buchholz was so dominating
in Pawtucket but can’t avoid throwing 90 pitches in four innings in the
bigs? Do they just offer up at any weak, nibbling crap down in the
International League, or is he pitching scared?

Astros 4, Cardinals 3: If Chris Carpenter thinks he was betrayed by his bullpen, just wait until he has Julio Lugo playing behind him in five days.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Felix Hernandez bottles up the Tigers (7
IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Russell Branyan hits a two-run homer in the
eighth to take a close one. Also, as my CTB homey Matt Casey noted yesterday,
David Aardsma is pretty Aawesome. On the year he has converted 23 of 25
saves, has an ERA of 1.79 and has struck out 55 in 45.1 IP.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: From the “fast facts” section of ESPN’s version of the game story:
“Todd Helton’s 11th homer of the season and 500th double of his career
carried the Rockies. Helton joined Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth
and Ted Williams as the only players with 500 doubles, 320 homers and a
.325 batting average since 1900.” Talk about trying to make a good
player seem better than he is via selective endpoints. I haven’t seen
that much gerrymandering since Patrick Henry and the Anti-Federalists
drew the boundaries of Virginia’s 5th Congressional district in such a
way as to keep James Madison out of the House of Representatives in
1788!

White Sox 4, Rays 3: Chad Bradford had a line that you don’t see
every day: 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0K, 0 pitches. Unfortunately it was
because he hurt himself after he was announced but before he completed
throwing his warm-up pitches. An Alexi Ramirez triple followed by a
Jermaine Dye RBI single in the seventh was the difference maker for the
Sox.

Marlins 5, Padres 0: I think they scheduled this one as a
matinee simply so I wouldn’t mail in the recap as I so often do with
the late games. Probably should have kept it a night game, San Diego,
because now that I have more time and alertness to comment on this
tilt, I can truly focus on just how wretched a club you have become.
Three hits. All singles. Ten strikeouts. Barf. Yet they were still in
the game until the late innings. At least until the bullpen coughed up
three more runs. Man, if only they had a moderately effective reliever
to help out. Oops.
Well, trades mean tradeoffs, right? Oops, the guy they got for Meredith
didn’t even play. The Padres are 12-33 since the first of June, which
is the worst in baseball. I repeat: for nearly half of the season, the
Padres have been worse than the Nats and the Royals.

Cubs 10, Phillies 6: The Phillies Phinally lose. “Zambrano
pitched well. He had good stuff,” Piniella said after the game. OK,
Lou, whatever you say (6.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 BB). I guess if you win you
had “good stuff” by definition?

Pirates 8, Brewers 7: Who the hell is Adam LaRoche? Garrett
Jones: 3-4, HR; Andy LaRoche: 1-3, 2B, RBI. The fans are happy. His
brother kept it together. They’ll all soldier on somehow.

Angels 9, Royals 6: Do you get full credit for a big rally when
it comes against the Royals? I mean, first you have to fall behind this
pathetic team, and that’s kind of embarrassing, and knocking around
this bullpen to erase the deficit is easier than knocking around any
other bullpen. I guess what I’m saying is that we need some kind of
handicapping system here.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Free-agent ace Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner leaves the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

Texas announced the signing Friday night after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best.”

Texas went 68-94 last season and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco, as its new manager. The Rangers’ six straight losing seasons are their worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

This latest blockbuster move comes just before baseball’s winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson University, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his professional career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons.

New York won 101 regular-season games last season, second-most in franchise history, but was caught by NL East champion Atlanta down the stretch and settled for a wild card.

After declining his 2023 option, ending his contract with the Mets at $107 million over four years, deGrom rejected a $19.65 million qualifying offer in November, so New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation. Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.