Cole Hamels barely beats Lance Lynn to eight wins

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Cole Hamels had the major league lead in victories all to himself for a good 15 minutes or so.

Hamels pitched eight innings and allowed four runs Monday as the Phillies beat the Mets 8-4, moving him to 8-1. Not long afterwards, the Cardinals finished up their 8-2 victory over the Braves, with Lance Lynn improving to 8-1 in the process. Both games started at 1;10 p.m. EDT, but the Phillies wrapped up their victory sooner.

Lynn did turn in the slightly better performance today, allowing two runs in seven innings and matching his season high with eight strikeouts. He has a 2.54 ERA, while Hamels is at 2.43.

Of course, while those two lead the majors in wins, there are 10 starters with better ERAs than Hamels and a few more ahead of Lynn. Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy tops the majors with a 1.77 ERA, but he’s 5-3 in 10 starts. The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster is fourth with a 2.14 ERA, yet he’s winless in eight starts on the season.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.