And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 8, Reds 6: Down 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Allen Craig launched his first career grand slam to rally the redbirds. Matt Holliday had a three run homer. The win puts the Cards a half game ahead of the Pirates in the Central. Cincinnati is three and a half back.

Dodgers 6, Cubs 2: Zack Greinke blanked Chicago into the ninth and retired the first two batters but then a double, a hit-by-pitch and a double ended his night one out shy of the shutout. Still, not too shabby. He added an RBI and raised his average to .340.

Royals 11, Rays 1: A makeup of a May Snowpocalypse game. This one, in contrast, featured a 93 degree starting temperature and Kansas City late August steam. Joe Maddon was ejected in the fourth for arguing balls and strikes, his team already down 5-0. I would bet my first born that 85% of his reason for doing that was to be “forced” into the air-conditioned clubhouse. This move is known in baseball circles as a “Bobby Cox Special.” Or at least it should be, because he pulled that one all the time.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 2: Tallying up the future Hall of Famers’ nights: A-Rod hit his 650th homer, Jeter came back with an 0 for 3 night and Ichiro had a rare outfield error which led to a big inning for Toronto. Well, A-Rod probably won’t make the Hall of Fame but it’s not my fault that the voters are dumb. Jose Reyes walked and scored in the third and doubled and scored in the fifth. This was the Jays’ first win over New York after losing ten straight.

Phillies 2, Mets 1: Cliff Lee outdueled Zack Wheeler, tossing eight innings of one-run ball while striking out seven. It was his first win since early July. Not that that’s his fault. Still can’t get much run support.

Rockies 6, Giants 1: Juan Nicasio threw six shutout innings and added an RBI single and Todd Helton homered. Helton is three hits shy of 2,500 for his career.

Athletics 8, Tigers 6: Oakland kept getting a two run lead only to see the Tigers tie it. So then they changed things up by upping it to a four-run lead, which was too much for Detroit to overcome. Coco Crisp was 3 for 6 with a homer and a couple driven in. Miguel Cabrera hit his 43rd homer and drove in his 130th. His average actually went down a point to .359. Which — and I know this sounds kind of crazy — sounds higher than .360. Like, when I was a kid and I’d see an average in the .350s on baseball cards it seemed really high while something in the .360s seemed like — something else. Maybe because things start to seem unreal and comic-booky in the .360s? Maybe even numbers like sixes don’t have some visceral effect that odd numbers like fives? But it’s sort of like seeing a big loud muscle car pull up to a red light next to a finely-tuned sports car. You know the sports car is the superior machine, but the loud engine on the muscle car is more impressive on some weird level.

Um, sorry. I don’t know where that came from.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1:  Brandon McCarthy got his first win since May, allowing only an unearned run in seven innings on five hits. Paul Goldschmidt tripled in a run and knocked in another on a fielder’s choice.

Astros 10, White Sox 8: Chris Carter had two homers and drove in four. Jordan Lyles — normally a starter — got the save. Houston had a five run lead at one point an lost it before powering back for the win. And I do mean powering: they hit five homers in all.

Rangers 8, Mariners 3: A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer an Alex Rios had two hits and drove in two. This box score also reminded me that Rios plays for the Rangers now. Every year there are one or two dudes who got dealt at the deadline who I totally forget got dealt. Rios is one this year.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”