And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 11, Mariners 5: According to Google Translate, a literal translation of “run support” in Japanese is サポートを実行する.  I have no idea if that covers the actual concept of run support, but I bet after last night Yu Darvish knows. He started out his major league debut by giving up four runs in the first inning while throwing 42 pitches. The bats of Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton bailed him out of 4-0 and 5-2 deficits, however and later they piled on some more. Darvish ended up laboring through five and two-thirds, throwing 110 pitches, striking out five and walking four. But I suppose he just knows how to win, because he got the W.

Giants 7, Rockies 0: Barry Zito throws his first shutout in nine years. In Coors Field of all places. He only gave up four hits too, and didn’t walk anyone. I think the most logical explanation here is that Zito has been abducted by the pod people, who then put a cyborg in his place. I mean, sure, that sounds fanciful, but I’m a proponent of Occam’s Razor and in accounting for Barry Zito throwing a shutout in 2012, the cyborg/pod people story contains no more assumptions than are necessary to accomplish the explanation.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2: The Sox win and Alfredo Aceves gets a save? Way to kill the narrative, Boston. I had hoped I could ride that out the rest of the week. Not I gotta think and stuff. I go it! Daniel Bard to the bullpen … of the 2003 Red Sox!

Yankees 6, Orioles 2: The Yankees get their first win too, though it wasn’t quite as narrative-killing as the Boston win. Red Sox fans watch their team lose three games and kind of freak out. The Yankees could lose their first 26 and they’d say “Here it goes: we’re gonna win the next 136 games! Go Yankees!”  Don’t applaud yourself for your optimism here, however, Yankees fans: both behaviors are highly annoying to the rest of us. Jeter had four hits. Since Ivan Nova both (a) won; and (b) allowed ten hits, I am contractually obligated to say that said hits were “scattered.”

Athletics 1, Royals 0: Wow, Tom Milone. Eight three-hit shutout innings? With no strikeouts, by the way, which doesn’t happen often.

Mets 4, Nationals 3: The Mets keep chugging along. The game was tied 3-3 since the fourth inning, but Daniel Murphy singled home Mike Baxter in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

White Sox 4, Indians 2: Chris Sale wins his first career start, pitching into the seventh and allowing only one run on three hits. Gotta like the Indians chances tonight, though: according to the game notes, the White Sox plan to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, and that’s so damn depressing that the Sox will likely be down for the game.

Cardinals 7, Reds 1: Homer Bailey is awfully sweet. He knows that some Reds fans are probably missing Edinson Volquez this year, so he did a great impression of him by getting lit up like a Christmas tree in the first inning. Matt Holliday homered and then David Freese and Yadier Molina hit back to back dingers that inning. Given that Jake Westbrook allowed only three hits and an unearned run in seven, that was all the Cards really needed.

Astros 8, Braves 3: Atlanta’s season continues to be depressing. This one was a full team effort: the Braves committed four errors, their pitchers made the Astros hitters look pretty darn good and once Houston had the lead, Braves hitters looked like they rolled over and died.  Really, in the seventh inning, Braves hitters saw six pitches. Six total pitches all inning long. Oh, and their manager continues his misguided though somehow admirable campaign to make Braves fans never, ever forget that Bobby Cox is gone. [Miss you Bobby! Call me!]

Marlins 6, Phillies 2: Hit this one up yesterday, but here’s the short version: Omar Infante — former All-Star — hit two bombs, as the Phillies home opener was no fun for anyone apart from the Marlins.

Angels 5, Twins 1: C.J. Wilson gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. After Jason Hammel’s outing on Sunday, I’m sensing a pattern here: pitchers do really well when facing the Twins.

Brewers 7, Cubs 5: Ryan Braun got booed like crazy in his first action in Wrigley Field since everyone decided that he was guilty of taking something. Whatever. There were nine Cubs players named in the Mitchell Report plus Sammy Sosa who wasn’t, and I’m assuming all of them were booed heartily too. Wait, they weren’t? Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to believe that the booing is based on some form of tribalism as opposed to genuine disapproval of Mr. Braun’s alleged actions.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.