And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 3: Who is hated more in Boston right now: John Lackey or Lebron James? Probably Lackey. Dude even hates himself. His quote after the game — and I am not making this up — “Everything in my life sucks right now, to be honest with you.”  Man, way to take all of the fun out of going after a guy.

Nationals 7, Braves 3: Bullpen go boom and any momentum Atlanta had coming off that Philly series is gone. I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that Craig Kimbrel had been used too much lately (Eric O’Flaherty and Johnny Venters even more so), and perhaps it is catching up with him. Kimbrel was unable to hold a 3-1 lead in the ninth and then Scott Linebrick imploded in the 11th. The latter was far less surprising than the former. Anyway, earlier in the season I said some nice things about Fredi Gonzalez not having too quick a hook with some guys and not having too late a hook with others and that he generally had a good feel for his pitching staff. Yeah, I may be coming off that a bit.

Royals 4, Yankees 3: Things could have been worse. Jeff Francoeur was almost the hero here with a 10th inning RBI double.  If that had held up, you would have found me locking my doors to keep Kent Hrbek, Jim Leyritz and zombie Eric Gregg from breaking down my front door and barging into my house to tackle me, to hit an ill-advised slider over my fence and to call me out on extremely wide strikes, respectively.  As it was, Curtis Granderson hit a clutch two-out RBI single to tie it up again in the 10th and then Eric Hosmer won it with a sac fly in the 11th (he also homered earlier). Way, way more comfortable with Hosmer as the hero.

Rays 8, Indians 2: Cleveland had won 14 straight at home, but Cleveland did not rock for them last night. Detroit is only four and a half back now.

Dodgers 2, Pirates 0: Hiroki Kuroda shut the Pirates out over seven and the bullpen continued the job (Note: Vicente Padilla now has as many saves as Fernando Rodney and Ryan Franklin combined).  May I ask anyone who saw this game: how does a 2-0 contest in which there were nine total hits last over three hours?

Phillies 5, Marlins 3: A day after his error helped cost them the game, Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run single in the ninth inning to complete the Phillies comeback from a 3-0 deficit.  Ah, Jimmy. I suppose we’ll keep you.

Orioles 4, Mariners 2: Felix Pie went 1 for 3 against Felix Hernandez (1 for 4 overall), dropping his career average against pitchers named Felix to .500.  As far as I can tell, this leaves Felix Escalona alone at the top of the all-time Felix-on-Felix leader board, with his cool 1.000 average (a double off Felix Heredia).  For those of you wondering, Neither Felix Mantilla, Felix Fermin nor Junior Felix ever faced a Felix pitcher.  If anyone wants to look up who leads the Octavios or Guillermos, be my guest. UPDATE: it’s done. Check the comments. My readers are the best.

Tigers 9, Twins 7: All Victor Martinez does is get three hits and three RBI. Every game! OK, just the last three, but that’s pretty impressive anyway. I don’t think it’s too early to declare declare the Twins the first team that a non-trivial number of people picked to go to the playoffs dead.

Astros 4, Reds 3: Hunter Pence hit a walkoff double, helping the Astros avoid the sweep. The Reds walked nine Astros hitters. Three of them scored. Walks are bad, mmmkay?  Pence has a 15-game hitting streak, by the way.

Padres 13, Brewers 6: Twenty-three hits and thirteen runs for San Diego is a good way to make the season’s offensive numbers look better.  Jason Bartlett and Cameron Maybin each had four hits.  Chris Denorfia and Ryan Ludwick each had three, including a homer.

White Sox 6, Angels 4: Jake Peavy returns and allows four runs in six innings. Not great, but having him back is a positive. Once he left the Sox bullpen held up nicely and the Angels’ pen didn’t, allowing Chicago to come back from a 4-1 hole, with Omar Vizquel of all people driving in runs in the eighth and ninth.

Cubs 11, Cardinals 4: Chicago opens up a can of whoop-ass on Jake Westbrook and the Cardinals, getting 11 runs on 17 hits. The struggling Starlin Castro was 4 for 4 with three RBI.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 3: Down 3-0, the Giants woke up and scored four unanswered runs. Miguel Tejada was 3 for 4.

Mets vs. Rockies: POSTPONED:  Coalescence occurs when water droplets in clouds fuse to create larger water droplets, which is known as the Bergeron process. Air resistance typically causes the water droplets in a cloud to remain stationary. When air turbulence occurs, water droplets collide, producing larger droplets. As these larger water droplets descend, coalescence continues, so that drops become heavy enough to overcome air resistance and fall as rain.

Athletics vs. Rangers: POSTPONED: Rain is an Edenian who bears witness to Shao Kahn’s invasion of his homeland Edenia as a youth. Many centuries later, he returns during the invasion of Earthrealm and is forced to join Kahn’s forces in order for him to betray his homeland. During the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Quan Chi informs Rain that he is a direct descendant of Argus, the protector god of Edenia, making him a half-god.

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

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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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.