And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 6, Phillies 3: Wilmer Flores hit a three-run homer in the sixth to break a 3-3 tie and to help put Bartolo Colon in the win column for the the seventh time this year. Colon also singled and actually ran the bases and stuff. Like this:

 

Yankees 14, Royals 1: Jeremy Guthrie got shellacked, giving up eleven runs while recording only three outs. It’s the first time a pitcher has allowed 11 runs while recording three outs or fewer in eight years. It’s also the first time a pitcher allowed four home runs while recording three or fewer outs in ten years. Three RBI a piece for Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Brian McCann and Stephen Drew. It was just the Yankees’ second win in 12 games. It should count for two or three at least, you figure.

Pirates 4, Marlins 2: Charlie Morton scattered eight hits and allowed two runs over seven innings in his first action of the year. According to the AP game story Morton is said to have gone on “a six-week journey to rebuild his delivery from the ground up” as he recovered from offseason surgery. Morton once famously remade his delivery to be just like Roy Halladay. I wonder who he picked this time. Is there a big glossy catalog to be leafed-through in a big shiny and futuristic delivery-remaking clinic from which you can choose? “I want to be . . . Fergie Jenkins this time!” “Excellent choice, Mr. Morton!” Or is it more of a back-alley kind of place, like how Jack Nicholson was patched up to achieve his Joker look in the Tim Burton Batman?

Blue Jays 6, White Sox 0: Drew Hutchison with The Maddux. Which is not, contrary to popular opinion, a performance in which he yelled “F**K!” so loud from the mound that it was picked up by TBS microphones and ignored by Skip Caray, followed by him peeing on the feet of his teammates in the shower. I mean, yes, those are classic Maddux trademarks. But I’m referring to the fun stat created by Jason Lukehart three years ago and which MLB and its Twitter feed continuously reference these days without any acknowledgment that Lukehart made it up. Oh well. As for Hutchison, he gave up only four hits, struck out eight and didn’t walk a soul.

Dodgers 6, Braves  3: L.A. hit three homers in the eighth inning — Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero and Jimmy Rollins did the honors — to key the Dodgers’ win. Ethier also drew a bases-loaded walk. Braves starter Williams Perez allowed only that walked-in run and scattered seven hits in six innings. The homers came off of Nick Masset who, apparently, gets to stay in no matter how many homers he gives up in close games. Must be a weird provision of his deal or something.

Angels 4, Padres 3: Tied at three in the ninth with two men on, Bud Black decided to intentionally walk Mike Trout to pitch to Albert Pujols with the bases loaded. While walking the bases loaded to pitch to Pujols was unthinkable back during the Bush Administration, it’s pretty defensible these days, at least to get around Trout. But Pujols made Black pay by hitting a game-winning single to left field.

Rockies 5, Reds 4: Nolan Arenado homered, had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run with a sac fly in the ninth off of Aroldis Chapman. That’s nine straight losses for Cincinnati. Three wins in a row for Colorado.

Orioles 4, Astros 3: I guess Dallas Keuchel was going to lose eventually. Not that the Orioles totally murdered him. As a team they only got six hits in the whole game and went down in order in six of their eight innings at the plate. But when two of those six hits were two-run homers — from Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce — and when your four pitchers don’t walk anyone and pitch out of trouble enough times, it’s sufficient.

Giants 8, Brewers 4: Weirdness abounded in this one. Carlos Gomez has a gold glove and a stellar defensive reputation, but he also had two errors in one inning to help fuel the Giants’ seven-run rally in the sixth. Also weird: Khris Davis hit a home run in the first, after which he was called out for allegedly failing to touch home plate. The Brewers challenged that call and he was then called safe. Davis homered again in the third inning. This time, when he scored, he stomped on home plate. I may have slid.

Twins 7, Red Sox 2: Ricky Nolasco pitched well and Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer. The Twins are 26-18 and are only two games back of the Royals in the AL Central. If the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs as the first Wild Card in the American League. And I’m not sure if the season ending on May 26 for some reason would be any more surprising than the Twins actually finishing the season in the playoffs. If they do make the playoffs, though, can we agree to officially abolish preseason predictions for eternity? Because it’s unseemly for people to pretend they’re experts and have any special, authoritative insight into a pursuit as random as baseball.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Denard Span and Wilson Ramos homered. Kris Bryant homered in a losing cause. Really, those three hits were the whole game.

Athletics 4, Tigers 0: Jesse Hahn pitched a four-hit shutout to give the A’s their third win in a row. This despite his infield committing three errors behind him. Marcus Semien’s made it 17 for him on the season. The A’s have 49 overall, leading the league.

Rangers 10, Indians 8: Six wins in a row for the Rangers and the end of a six-game winning streak for the Indians. This game marked the return of Josh Hamilton, though he didn’t do much. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but he did walk and score once. Prince Fielder hit his fourth homer in four games and is now at .365/.417/.575 on the year and is on pace to hit 32 homers and drive in 126. Last year, when everyone said his bat would come alive in Texas? They were right. Just a year and a healthy Prince Fielder too early.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Jhonny Peralta with the walkoff homer in the 10th. This was the Cards’ eighth extra-innings win this year, which leads all of baseball. And, given that most analysts believe that, over time, extra innings wins tend to be heavily influenced by luck and random chance, it is evidence that the Cardinals possess black demon magic from an unholy source powering their success.

Mariners 4, Rays 1: Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs, so I guess he’s not dead. Factoid of the day courtesy of the Associated Press:

This was the first-ever matchup of major league managers who played in the Little League World Series. McClendon was with Gary, Indiana, in 1971, while Cash was part of the 1989 Tampa, Florida, team.

Alrighty then.

 

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.