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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mariners 4, White Sox 3: On a day when a lot of bullpens woofed up a lot of leads, the David Robertson and the White Sox get the award for the biggest woof. Leading 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Robertson allowed three singles and a walk, making it 3-1 with two outs and two on. Then Adam Lind came in to pinch it. On the second pitch he saw he jacked a three-run homer. Ballgame. It was bad enough that Robertson blew the lead, but it also blew a game in which Chris Sale gave up only one hit in eight shutout innings. He was at 100 pitches even and was on nine days rest from actual work — a game in which he threw only 88 pitches — and five days rest from his one inning of work in the All-Star Game. He had thrown more than 100 pitches in 14 of his other 18 starts this season. I guess hindsight is 20/20 but I also guess that Sale could’ve brought this one home if Robin Ventura was inclined to allow it.

Royals 7, Indians 3: Corey Kluber pitched seven shutout innings. Then Cleveland relievers Bryan Shaw and Jeff Manship gave up seven runs in the eighth. This was the second worst train wreck to affect Cleveland last night. Jarrod Dyson‘s grand slam was the topper that inning. After that Dyson homer Melania Trump said “In a year that has been so improbable the impossible has happened!” She’s so eloquent.

Yankees 2, Orioles 1: An A-Rod homer and a Brian McCann sac fly should not be enough offense to hold up against the Orioles, but it was on this night. Ivan Nova allowed one run over six and the Betances/Miller/Chapman troika did what it was designed to do, tossing three shutout innings. Are they still calling them “No-Run DMC?” Did that ever really stick beyond the first month or so of the season? I don’t feel like your relief corps gets a nickname when two-thirds of it are on the trading block, but if they really want me to call them that I will.

Athletics 7, Astros 4Yonder Alonso drove in three runs, Khris Davis hit his fourth home run in his last three games, Kendall Graveman got his fifth straight win and the A’s won their third game in the past four. Hi, I’m Craig, and I invented the one-sentence game story. You may call it lazy and reductive, but since I call it a “disruptive sportswriting model” and have a Mountain View, California P.O. Box address, the company I formed to market it — SribeEx — is now valued at $3.4 billion. God, people are suckers.

Marlins 3, Phillies 2: The Phillies took a 2-0 lead into the top of the ninth before Christian Yelich doubled in a run and Marcel Ozuna singled in Yelich. In extras Martin Prado hit a 400-foot homer in the 11th and A.J. Ramos locked it down. The Marlins had been 0-40 when trailing after eight innings before this one. There’s still a lot of time to go in the season but they’re starting to take on the air of a ~frisky~ team that could be dangerous if they make the playoffs. BTW: Jose Fernandez struck out 14 in six an a third innings.

Cubs 5, Mets 1: Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer in the third, Jon Lester pitched one-run ball into the eighth and the Mets never really threatened. Steven Matz is 0-5 in his last nine starts.

Tigers 1, Twins 0: Justin Upton‘s homer was the only scoring here as Matt Boyd and three Tigers relievers combined for a shutout. The homer reminded me of a time several years ago when Upton started out hot with the Braves and someone decided to make a Twitter account that did nothing but tweet when Upton homered. After Upton cooled off he stopped doing it so someone else started it up. He gave up after 11 tweets and only got to tweet “yes” once:

That’s not any sort of commitment. That’s what’s wrong with the younger generation, really. They never finish what they

Reds 8, Braves 2: A five-run fourth inning powered by three homers was all the Reds really needed here. Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez each hit two-run shots that frame and Zack Cozart hit a solo homer. Fun fact: Braves reliever Mauricio Cabrera threw a pitch 103.8 mph, according to MLB’s Statcast system. That’s the ninth-fastest pitch in the two-season history of Statcast. 1-8 are all Arolids Chapman pitches.

Cardinals 10, Padres 2: Mike Leake struck out 11 dudes in six innings and didn’t walk anybody. In his last start he struck out 10 dudes and didn’t walk anybody. “He’s able to make big pitches in big situations,” Mike Matheny said, continuing a streak of 10,000 straight player/manager quotes about “making pitches” that are basically completely unilluminating.

Rockies 7, Rays 4: The Rays have lost 11 in a row. Trevor Story hit his 22nd homer. The Rockies bullpen bent a good bit late but never broke.

Angels 9, Rangers 5: The Rangers had a 4-0 lead but the Angels steadily chipped back and took the lead. After the Rangers regained the lead, 5-4, the Angels chipped again, going ahead 6-5 in the seventh. Then Mike Trout provided some insurance with a three-run homer. The bad news: that 4-0 deficit came while Nick Tropeano was on the hill for the Angels. He was just activated from the disabled list July 4, but had to leave two innings and four runs in due to elbow soreness. He’ll undergo an MRI today.

If 2020 season is canceled, which players would be hurt the most?

Miguel Cabrera
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Last week, I went over a few teams that stood to be hurt most if there were to be no 2020 season as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Today, we will look at some players who may be adversely effected by a lost year.

Milestones

Players chasing milestones, especially those towards the end of their careers, would be stymied by a lost season. Tigers DH and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is the first one that comes to mind. He is 23 home runs short of joining the 500 home run club. Though he hasn’t hit more than 16 in a year since 2016, he would likely have at least hit a few this year and would have had an easier time getting there in 2021. He turns 37 years old in 10 days. Cabrera may be under contract through 2023, but it is not clear that his age and his health would allow him to play regularly such that he would be able to reach 500 home runs if the 2020 season were to be canceled. (Cabrera is also 185 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.)

Mike Trout has 285 home runs for his career. It’s almost a given that he would get to 300 and beyond in 2020. He is currently one of only 13 players with at least 250 home runs through his age-27 season. The only players with more: Álex Rodríguez (345), Jimmie Foxx (302), Eddie Mathews (299), and Ken Griffey Jr. (294). Trout likely would have also reached 1,000 runs for his career, as he is currently at 903. Losing a full season could really make a difference where he winds up on the all-time leaderboards at the end of his career.

Veteran catcher Yadier Molina will be a free agent at season’s end, though he and the Cardinals have expressed interest in a contract extension. He turns 38 this summer and is 37 hits shy of 2,000 for his career. Even if this season never happens, Molina will likely join the 2,000 hit club in 2021 whether or not he signs a multi-year extension. Molina is also 84 RBI shy of 1,000 and 21 doubles shy of 400.

Free Agents

Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts and Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto headline the free agent class heading into the 2021 season. Even if there eventually is a 2020 season, or something resembling it, teams are losing money across the board and that will result in stinginess in the free agent market. Make no mistake, Betts and Realmuto, as well as Trevor Bauer, Marcus Semien, and Marcus Stroman will still get paid handsomely, but they likely won’t get as much as they would following a typical year. The players that really stand to get hurt are the mid-tier free agents, whose cost won’t match their relative upside — players like James McCann, Howie Kendrick, Yuli Gurriel, DJ LeMahieu, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Turner, Michael Grantley, Marcell Ozuna, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jay Bruce, and Josh Reddick.

2020-21 Draftees and International Free Agents

At the end of March, MLB and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement on a deal covering issues including service time, pay during the pandemic, and the amateur draft. In exchange for players on active rosters getting credit for a full year of service time whether or not there is a 2020 season, the league got the right to shorten the 2020 draft to five rounds and the 2021 draft to 20 rounds. The league also gained the right to delay the start of the 2020 and 2021-22 international signing periods.

The MLBPA effectively sold out what will be their future union members. A shortened draft this year and/or next year would mean that players who would otherwise have been drafted this year will go undrafted and thus will either become unsigned free agents or return to the draft next year as part of a crowded pool of players. Likewise, pushing back the international signing period will add more players to the market at the same time. This, obviously, benefits ownership as a surplus of labor diminishes those laborers’ leverage.

Bounce-back Candidates

Players coming off of injuries or otherwise down years in 2019 were hoping to use 2020 to bounce back, reestablishing themselves in the league. Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani didn’t pitch at all last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was hopeful to rejoin the starting rotation at some point in the first half of a normal 2020 season. We learned yesterday that Ohtani is expected to throw off a mound “soon.” If a 2020 season does happen, it likely wouldn’t begin for another couple of months at minimum, which should afford him enough time to get into pitching shape.

Ohtani’s teammate and perennial Gold Glove Award candidate Andrelton Simmons played in only 103 games last season due to an ankle injury. He mustered a meager .673 OPS as well, compiling just 1.9 WAR, his lowest total in any season since debuting in 2012. In 2017, he peaked at 7.8 WAR and put up 6.3 the following season. Simmons will become a free agent after the 2020 season, so he most certainly needed a healthy and productive 2020 to maximize his leverage on the market.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto, now 36 years old, is coming off of the worst offensive season of his career. He hit .261/.357/.411 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in 608 plate appearances, continuing a downward trend. He registered a 167 adjusted OPS as recently as 2017, but that declined to 126 in ’18 and 98 last year. The Reds, back to being competitive, were definitely banking on a bounce-back year from Votto. (Votto, by the way, is also 56 RBI short of the 1,000 milestone for his career.)