And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 9, Braves 8: I wrote this one up yesterday and would prefer not to re-live it. The long version is here. The short version: the Red Sox are really good and they can beat you even if they rest their MVP candidates on getaway day, even if they spot you six or seven runs. And my God, where does Brandon Phillips get off making his season debut in September and hitting a go-ahead, come-from-behind two-run homer when the Sox are down to their last out? And here’s a fun fact, at least if you were not rooting for Atlanta: before this game teams were 0-487 when down by six or more runs entering the eighth inning. Now they are 1-487. Good effort, Braves!

Marlins 2, Phillies 1: The Braves suffered one of the most back-breaking losses of the season but the Phillies could not capitalize on it because, apparently, no one really wants to win the NL East. Sandy Alcantara tossed seven shutout innings against them, allowing only three hits while Austin Dean knocked in two, one with a single, one on a fielder’s choice. Not bad for a guy whose name would seem more at home in some bad, derivative neo-western novel or, perhaps, erotica.

Indians 3, Royals 1: Corey Kluber wins his 18th game of the season after striking out 10 and allowing only one run on two hits while working into the seventh inning. Brad Keller of the Royals lost, but let us tip our caps to him for somehow giving up 11 hits over seven innings and still allowing only one earned run. Or don’t. I don’t care. I just find it interesting when guys live out on a thin line like that. Tell me now, what is he, supposed to do?

Cardinals 7, Nationals 6: Matt Adams was with the Nationals until a couple of weeks ago — and he has struggled since returning to St. Louis — but he came back to Washington last night and smacked two home runs. That’s gotta feel great for Nats fans who, I assume, did not fill the seats at Nats Park because they were all waiting in line to buy season tickets for 2019. Yairo Munoz also homered and Marcell Ozuna had four hits.

Pirates 3, Reds 2: Colin Moran doubled in a run and Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli hit back-to-back RBI singles in the third to snap a 1-all tie and give the Pirates the cushion they needed. Their starter, Jameson Taillon, allowed one run while scattering eight hits over five innings. The Reds stater, Homer Bailey, took the loss and is now 1-14 on the season. What’s more, the Reds are 1-19 when he pitches. In other news, Bailey is in year five of a six-year, $105 million contract that most people were even surprised he got at the time and which now stands as one of the worst deals in the game.

Blue Jays 10, Rays 3: Yesterday, the morning after seven Rays pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout, I wrote a big thing on the Rays’ strategy of bullpenning. Last night the Rays went with a guy who is projected to be a more traditional starter in Tyler Glasnow. He was knocked out in the first inning after allowing seven runs, so maybe expect some more bullpenning from the Rays going forward. Aledmys Diaz hit a three-run homer in that first frame for the Jays. Devon Travis had two hits in the inning. Kevin Kiermaier had two homers in a losing cause for Tampa Bay.

Mets 7, Dodgers 3: Zack Wheeler took a comebacker off the bat of Justin Turner in the fourth inning that required him to go get X-Rays and and a CT-scan after the game but he nonetheless stayed in the game and finished off seven innings of three-run, three-hit ball. Wilmer Flores knocked in two and Amed Rosario got three hits for the Mets. New York finishes up a nine-game road trip that took them to both Chicago to face the Cubs and L.A. to face these Dodgers and finished it at 5-4. Indeed, they’ve been fairly respectable for a couple of months now, relatively speaking.

Rockies 5, Giants 3: The Rockies take advantage of the Dodgers’ loss thanks to Trevor Story‘s three-homer night. They were all solo shots but I don’t think we’ll hold that against him. One of his homers was an absolute moonshot that StatCast is saying went 505 feet.* Just a real big boy bomb:

Cubs 6, Brewers 4: Chicago salvages one against their division rival — psst! someone ask Cole Hamels if it’s OK to call the Brewers a rival — and push their lead back up to four games in the NL Central. Daniel Murphy hit a homer and had three hits in all. Kyle Schwarber hit a long homer of his own. Ben Zobrist knocked in two. Jose Quintana gave up two runs in six and two-thirds.

Angels 9, Rangers 3: Mere hours after Shohei Ohtani learned that he’d be having Tommy John surgery he hit two homers on a 4-for-4, three-RBI night while scoring three times and stealing a base as the Angels’ DH. Billy Eppler shot the idea down in no uncertain terms yesterday, but I wonder who, if anyone, in the Angels organization has advocated to simply make him a full-time position player rather than mess around with his elbow. Not saying that’s what I’d do — I have no idea — but it’s a defensible position, I bet. Anyway, Andrelton Simmons also homered for the Angels and drove in three runs as their very weird and very disappointing season winds to an eventual close.

Tigers 10, White Sox 2Ronny Rodriguez hit a two-run homer and Jeimer Candelario, Mikie Mahtookand JaCoby Jones each hit solo shots as the Tigers beat the poop out of Sox rookie Michael Kopech (3.1 IP, 9 H, 7 R). Detroit has won three of four.

Astros 9, Twins 1: Alex Bregman‘s fantastic season continued as he homered, doubled and knocked in five. Evan Gattis went deep too and Framber Valdez and five relievers held Minnesota to one run on six hits. Houston has won five in a row and 12 of 15.

Athletics 8, Yankees 2: Oakland keeps pace by beating up on Luis Severnio for six runs — five earned — on six hits in two and two-thirds. Two of the A’s four first-inning runs came on Severino wild pitches. Matt Chapman and Steven Piscotty each knocked in a couple. Mike Fiers took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a two-run homer to Gary Sanchez. The cake was baked by then, however.

Mariners 5, Orioles 2Nelson Cruz and Denard Span hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth to take a one-run lead and Span knocked in another run for some insurance in the seventh. Mitch Haniger also went deep for Seattle as Mike Leake allowed only two unearned runs in six innings of work. No Mariners engaged in in-house brawling in this game either. At least that we know of.

*Earlier this recap made reference to a box score showing it at 460-something feet, which it did, but the box score I look at for such things has updated to 505. I don’t think I was hallucinating that, but either way, it is now consensus that it was a 500-plus foot homer. 

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.