And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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source: Getty Images

Yankees 7, Mariners 2: Felix Hernandez needed only six pitches to get through the first inning. He needed only nine pitches to get through the second. In the third he set the Yankees down in order once again, again on six pitches. Then this started happening:

That’s why they play the game. Hernandez’s line on the night: four and two-thirds innings pitched, six hits, seven runs, five walks and the loss. Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam off of him. The lessons: (1) watch the whole game; and (2) don’t read what people say on Twitter. Basically, ever. It’s an awful, awful website which will suck your entire life away.

Braves 8, Diamondbacks 1: Speaking of homers coming in bunches, get a load of Freddie Freeman, who has hit three in the past four games. He had three hits in all, as did Andrelton Simmons, who has a ten-game hitting streak. Chip Hale, after the game, explaining his team’s poor performance:

“We played tonight, unfortunately, like a team that played 17 innings yesterday and lost and traveled home, which is my fault, the coaches’ fault. We didn’t have them ready to play. I will take the blame on that. It is embarrassing to me. It is not the way a team that I would ever want to coach would play a game. It’s just sloppy, dead baseball and I apologize for that.”

He then disembowled himself with his family’s sword, handed it to bench coach Glen Sherlock who served as his kaishaku and completed the seppuku. Importantly, he did it all the right way.

Dodgers 11, Rockies 4: L.A. smacked four home runs. One by Howie Kendrick, who drove in four. It actually could’ve been a bigger beating here as the Dodgers had 18 hits and drew five walks. Heck, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times last night and the only time he scored was on his solo homer. Clayton Kershaw even went 3-for-4 with run driven in. The only damage to Kershaw came on a Nolan Arenado two-run homer. He’s homered in three straight.

Angels 7, Rays 3: Both L.A. teams hit four home runs. Unless you’re one of those tiresome folks who insist that the Angels — formerly known as the California and Anaheim Angels and currently residing in Anaheim — aren’t really an L.A. team. But, as current events helpfully remind us, when someone changes their name, they should be accorded the same respect received by anyone who has changed their name. They want to be the Los Angeles Angeles? They’re the Los Angeles Angels. If you insist on calling them what you think their name really is or should be, you’re being a jerk.

Brewers 1, Cardinals 0: Carlos Gonzalez’s first inning RBI was all that happened on the offensive side of the game. Beyond that it may as well have been the high-mound, no-offense 1960s. Well, except for the part where it took eight pitchers to put up all of those goose eggs. I wouldn’t bet my children’s lives on this, but I would bet an awful lot on there never once being a nine inning, rain-free 1-0 game which required eight pitchers to finish between the years of, say, 1900 and 1990.

Astros 5, Orioles 2: Down one heading into the seventh, Houston scored four that frame, getting to a tiring Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Brad Brach. This was the Orioles’ first game outside of the Eastern Time Zone all season which is kind of crazy. Bring back the balanced schedule.

Cubs 5, Marlins 1: Jason Hammel has pitched 67 innings this year. He has 69 strikeouts and only 7 walks. Nice. Here he struck out 11 and allowed only one run in six and two-thirds, walking no one, naturally. He had a little extra mojo here due to not having pitched in eight days, but it’s not like he’s needed it lately.

Mets 7, Padres 0: Jacob deGrom didn’t break a sweat, tossing eight shutout innings while allowing only two hits. The kid may be good. How good?

OK, you can read Twitter sometimes. There is some decent information on there. Andrew Cashner struck out 12, didn’t walk anybody and still didn’t make it through five innings. Which, well, OK! By the way, the Mets are in a virtual tie for first place with the Nats again.

Pirates 4, Giants 3: Neil Walker hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the fifth and Gerrit Cole struck out nine and allowed only two unearned runs. He’s 8-2 with a 1.90 ERA. I know wins are lame, but Cole is on a pace for 25 of them which really doesn’t happen much anymore.

Blue Jays vs. Nationals; Twins vs. Red Sox: POSTPONED: The breaker’s roar

On an unseen shore,
In the teeth of a hurricane,
Oh, we struggle in vain
A hellish night,
A ghostly light,
Appears through the driving rain,
Salvation in a human chain

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.