And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 4, Rangers 0: A three-hit shutout for Sonny Gray, who ups his records to 4-1 and lowers his ERA to 1.76. Seventy-three of his 108 pitches went for strikes and the hits were only singles. His counterpart, Yu Darvish, turned in his shortest major league start ever. Three and a third innings, while allowing four runs and six hits while throwing 83 pitches and walking two.

Padres 6, Giants 4: Rene Rivera drove in five. When I saw the box score and it just said “R. Rivera,” I thought of Ruben, who played for the Padres for several years. And yes that was over a decade ago, but some things just stick in your mind. Like bad baseball players we all somehow thought would become good baseball players simply because they had a couple of decent tools. The 90s were terrible, man.

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 5: Troy Tulowitzki homered, had two doubles and drove in three. Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer and has a 12-game hitting streak. The Rockies are averaging 5.48 runs per game, leading all of baseball.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $150,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $200 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Angels 6, Indians 3: It was 3-3 in the eighth when Mike Trout hit an RBI single and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run triple. I’m a year younger than him and I’m pretty sure if you asked me to run 270 feet I’d die. Joe Smith got the save. His first since taking over closer duties.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3: Khris Davis hit a run-scoring triple in the 12th. This after he struck out four times. So, yes, a Golden Sombrero, but it had a nice pretty band on it.

White Sox 7, Rays 3: Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer, Adam Eaton had a two-run double and Marcus Semien doubled in the winning run. The Chisox took three of four from the Rays.

Cubs vs. Reds: POSTPONED:  We can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry. And talk about precious things. But the rain that flattens my hair. These are the things that kill me.

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.