And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 5, Tigers 4: For want of some leather, the empire was lost. Or something like that.  The Tigers now find themselves three back of the White Sox with no more head-to-head games. This is pretty dire for the Tigers.

Braves 7, Marlins 5: Dan Uggla continues to kill his old team. He hit a three-run homer and actually had a nice defensive game too. Martin Prado went 4 for 4 while filling in for Chipper Jones at third.

Red Sox 5, Rays 2: What’s a better way to tell that the Rays are playing out the string, the fact that Evan Longoria was being rested when every game is do-or-die or the fact that they’re playing listless baseball anyway? Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in three.

Phillies 3, Mets 1: Cliff Lee looked great — ten strikeouts while allowing one run in eight innings — but every pitcher looks good against the Mets these days.  R.A. Dickey fails again to move toward 20 wins which, based on how that’s all that is mentioned in every game story after he pitches, is what everyone has apparently decided for some reason is necessary for his season to be successful. He still pitched pretty good baseball. The Mets just can’t score and Cliff Lee is still friggin’ good.

Orioles 10, Mariners 4: Nate McLouth hit a leadoff homer. Matt Wieters hit one too. No, not a leadoff homer. That would be ridiculous because you can’t have two of those. Oh, and Adam Jones and Chris Tillman each had great games too, which has to make the Mariners a little unhappy. I’m sure they have an Erik Bedard poster up someplace, though.

Giants 2, Rockies 1: Brandon Crawford doubled, tripled and scored on Wilin Rosario’s 20th (20th!) passed ball of the season. Madison Bumgarner walked five dudes but Colorado just couldn’t capitalize.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: A nearly four hour rain delay because (a) the Pirates are still technically in contention; and (b) there is no room in baseball’s hastily-constructed schedule this year to play a makeup game if necessary. That led to everyone wanting to go home, which led to Kevin Correia striking out six and pitching seven shutout innings. Folks, if your game starts after 10:30 at night, you’re doing something wrong.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.