And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 12, Red Sox 3: The Tribe’s bats had a nice night with Yan Gomes, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn all racking up multiple RBI. Oh, and you may or may not have heard this, but Terry Francona, currently the Indians’ manager, used to be the Red Sox manager and this was his first time back in Boston since he was fired and some people were talking about it and stuff. Kinda surprised me, too!

Angels 5, Royals 4: Trout, Pujols and Trumbo hit homers. The Angels have won five in a row. The Royals have lost 13 of 18. It’s almost like that great spring training record they had didn’t have a ton of predictive value for the long haul of the regular season.

Tigers 7, Twins 6: Miguel Cabrera had his sixth homer in four games. Later Jim Leyland screwed up and had Torii Hunter bunt in front of Cabrera, leaving first base open and thus taking the bat out of the most dangerous hitter in baseball’s hands when Ron Gardenhire walked him. Thankfully for Leyland Prince Fielder is pretty dangerous himself, singled and drove in the winning run.

Blue Jays 12, Orioles 6: Orioles starter Kevin Gausman — that kid who used to eat powdered donuts between every inning — had a rude welcome to the majors,  Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam and  J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four.

Pirates 4, Cubs 2: Four in a row for Pittsburgh. And 11 of 13 overall. The anti-Royals, I guess.  Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two RBIs.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.