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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights


These are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 8, Rockies 3: The Braves are riding a three-game winning streak after out-slugging the Rockies during Colorado’s home opener. Rookie second baseman Ozzie Albies engineered his second homer of 2018 in the first inning, followed by Dansby Swanson‘s near-cycle and Brandon McCarthy‘s first career extra-base hit: a two-run double lined off of a 1-1 pitch from German Marquez in the fifth. If you haven’t been keeping track lately, the Braves have racked up a franchise-best 56 runs in their first seven games, good for the most in the league (and given a generous boost by their 15-run and 13-run outbursts over the last week, too).

Indians 3, Royals 2: There was no last-minute drama on Friday, no ninth-inning rallies or instant replay upsets to keep fans on the edge of their seats. In fact, it only took one inning to decide the victor — in the top of the first, Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda eked out two runs against Carlos Carrasco, followed by the Indians’ modest three-run spread in the bottom of the inning. From that point on, the game gelled into a perfect pitcher’s duel: eight shutout innings from both sides, capped by a strong showing from Andrew Miller in the eighth and Cody Allen‘s second save of the year.

Orioles 7, Yankees 3 (14 innings): The Orioles played the longest extra-inning game of their season on Friday, a 14-inning affair that saw two home runs from Manny Machado, Chris Davis‘ first homer of the season and an 11th-hour grand slam from Pedro Alvarez. One of the most peculiar moments, however, was saved for the 11th inning, when Orioles reliever Mychal Givens blocked Didi Gregorius as he charged toward home plate.

The Yankees challenged — Givens had clearly failed to give Gregorius a path to the plate — but the original outcome of the collision was upheld, as a) there is no protocol for a non-catcher obstructing the plate and b) Givens had not yet received the ball and was attempting to field it.

Blue Jays 8, Rangers 5: Marco Estrada looked nearly untouchable on Friday night, spinning six frames of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against a lackluster Rangers’ offense as the Jays kicked off their nine-game road trip. The only real blemish on his pitching line was Shin-Soo Choo‘s one-out home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, a 394-footer that finally put Texas on the board. With Estrada out of the game, the Rangers perked up a little — enough to mount a four-run rally in the seventh, that is — but couldn’t quite muster the effort needed eclipse the Blue Jays’ three-run lead.

Brewers 5, Cubs 4: “We’ve been a little bit of a high-wire act for a little over a year now,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters. “That’s exciting, it’s maddening, it’s frustrating. It’s entertaining baseball, I think — even on the nights it doesn’t work out.” He wasn’t wrong, at least when it came to Friday’s nail-biter against the Cubs. The maddening? Brandon Woodruff expended an unsightly 95 pitches through 3 2/3 innings, prompting an early exit in the fourth. The frustrating? Tied 4-4 in the seventh inning, the Brewers loaded the bases against Justin Wilson, only to be foiled by Lorenzo Cain‘s inning-ending strikeout versus Steve Cishek. The entertaining? Well, this:

Pirates 14, Reds 3: It’s little surprise that the Pirates have compiled their best start to the season since 1976, especially given their second double-digit performance against the last-place Reds on Friday. Trevor Williams secured his second win of the year with an incredible 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings, but managed to limit the damage to just two runs as the Pirates built up to an 11-run lead — just the way they scripted it.

Padres 4, Astros 1: Sure, leave it to the Padres to upset the Astros’ five-game winning streak. Five innings of one-run ball from Luis Perdomo? Four shutdown frames from the bullpen? Five consecutive hits in the fifth, punctuated by a one-out, two-run double from Jose Pirela? Yep, that’s definitely the way we saw this series going.

Angels 13, Athletics 9: Shohei Ohtani‘s third career home run — a second-inning, 449-foot shot off of Daniel Gossett — was the spark needed to light the Angels’ 13-run rally on Friday night.

Zack Cozart drove in two runs on a throwing error from Matt Chapman, Andrelton Simmons contributed a pair of runs of his own with a ground-rule double and RBI single, and Justin Upton collected his second dinger of the year. Ohtani didn’t limit himself to a single home run, either: he returned in the fifth to walk in a run, too.

Dodgers vs. Giants (postponed): Expect baseball-averse weather for the next day or so. The Giants will make up Friday’s postponement on Saturday, April 28. This was yesterday’s view at AT&T Park (via Twitter):

And this is today’s:

Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers

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The Cleveland Indians have traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. In exchange, Texas is sending center fielder Delino DeShields and pitcher Emmanuel Clase to the Indians. There are reports that the Indians will be getting more than just those two players, but no word yet. The deal is pending physical.

Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.

Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.

Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.

DeShields, 27, is a career .246/.326/.342 hitter (76 OPS+) and that’s about how he performed in 2019 as well. He was demoted to Triple-A Nashville in May. Clase, who will turn 22 before next season, pitched 21 games, all but one in relief, for the Rangers in 2019 and will still be considered a rookie in 2020. He has been used mostly as a reliever in the minors as well.

Pending what else the Tribe is going to be getting, this appears to be a light return for a pitcher who, despite his 2019 injuries, should be expected to come back and be a workhorse. Unless there is some real talent coming back, in addition to DeShields and Clase, it would seem to be a salary dump for Cleveland and a steal for Texas. It is likewise perplexing how any of the many, many teams who could use starting pitching — the Angels and the Mets, among others, come to mind — could not top the package Texas offered.

As for the Indians, the commitment to Kluber for 2020-21 is $31.5 million if you exercise next year’s option, $18.5 million if you don’t. He’s one year and a freak injury removed from goin 20-7 with a 2.89 (150 ERA+), 0.991 WHIP, and 215 innings pitched. Cleveland is coming off 93 wins and should contend. Why you trade Kluber in that situation, regardless of the return, is a question they should have to answer to fans who expect to see winning baseball.