And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

13 Comments

White Sox 11, Twins 0: Paul Konerko was a triple short of a cycle. (Oh crap; now I’m in trouble!).

Angels 7, Red Sox 2: Anaheim finally wins one against Boston. A three-run homer from Hideki Matsui in the 6th opened things up for the Angels. Know what ain’t lookin’ good right now? Josh Beckett’s contract extension (6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER).

Orioles 4, Rangers 0: Brian Matusz shut the Rangers out over eight. He had struggled mightily against them in two previous starts this year so maybe our children is learning. Texas is 2-5 since Greenberg and Ryan took over, by the way. I think I’m gonna try and get some sort of curse started. By the time it gains cultural purchase, people will have forgotten that I invented it from whole cloth.

Giants 5, Phillies 2: Jonathan Sanchez shut the Phillies down until
tiring in the ninth. Bruce Bochy removed Sanchez from the game in the
middle of Placido Polanco’s at bat in the ninth while he had a five run
lead. At the time he had exactly 100 pitches. Someone want to give Bochy
the pitch count lecture again? I mean, yeah, monitor it, but no one is
gonna die if they get to 101.

Astros 3, Mets 2: Hard to expect a hell of a lot more from Pat Misch
than three runs in six innings. The Mets just couldn’t get it done with
the bats.

Padres 5, Cubs 3: I’m beginning to think that this Mat Latos character can pitch a little bit (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K). And this was fun.  Pro tip: when you call time out, make sure time out is granted before you lollygag around the infield.

Nationals 6, Braves 2: Atlanta pop-fouled and ran its way out of potential rallies in both the sixth and eighth innings and the Nats pen shut the Braves down in the final innings, preventing one of their increasingly common late game comebacks.

Yankees 11, Tigers 5: When the sixth inning began it was 2-2. when it ended it was 11-2. Robinson Cano hit a two-run bomb and an RBI double that inning. He also finished a triple short of the cycle!  (Damn!)

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0: The season hasn’t gone the way the Dodgers want it to, but you can’t blame their main trade deadline pickup. Ted Lilly was masterful, throwing a two-hit shutout with a 11 strikeouts.

Reds 9, Diamondbacks 5: The Reds are on their longest winning streak of the year — six games — and now have their largest lead over the Cardinals all year as well: three and a half games.

Athletics 4, Rays 3: Most of Trevor Cahill’s recent starts have been dominant. This one was less so — he was in a bit of trouble — but he fought through it and got some timely offensive support and some great defensive behind him. Included in that was a couple of double plays and this spiffy catch from Coco Crisp.

Indians 7, Royals 3: The winning team had five errors. There were 23 hits in the game. It lasted 3:24. The stands were basically empty. Gametime temperature was 90. I love baseball with a passion, but being at this game would seriously test it.

Marlins 4, Pirates 2: Susan Sontag once said that “the
life of the creative man is led, directed and controlled by boredom.
Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.” While I believe that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap, there’s something to that quote. It’s something that inspired me not to spend any time reading the box score or dwelling too deeply on the specifics of a mid-to-late August, midweek Marlins-Pirates game. Life is too damn short. I’m sorry.

I’m goin’ on vacation next week. Based on the fact that I punted those last two recaps I probably need it.

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

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
0 Comments

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing 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.

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).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

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

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

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.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. 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.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

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, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his 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. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

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.