And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Exciting stuff as a the season enters its final four days.

  • The Brewers beat the Cardinals, and that loss by St. Louis clinched a playoff spot for both the Cubs and Milwaukee. Chicago maintains a one game lead over the Brewers in the loss column in the NL Central;
  • Meanwhile, the Rockies won their sixth in a row and the Dodgers lost, putting Colorado ahead of L.A. by a half game — one in the loss column — in the NL West;
  • The Dodgers maintain a one-game lead over St. Louis for the final Wild Card; and
  • The only other thing left to determine is home field in the Wild Card game in the American League, which the Yankees currently have over Oakland by two games in the loss column.

The Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, and Dodgers are all off tonight. Then it’s a three-game sprint to figure it all out. In the meantime, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rockies 14, Phillies 0: Rockies starter German Marquez struck out the first eight Phillies batters of the game and ended up striking out 11 while allowing only three hits in seven shutout innings. He needn’t have been so dominant given that his teammates jumped all over Nick Pivetta and the Phillies pen, with David Dahl, Trevor Story, Ian Desmond and Drew Butera all going deep. The Rockies have outscored the Phillies 34-4 in the first three games of this series and, the Geneva Convention notwithstanding, have to play again today. Colorado has won six in a row and now leads the NL West.

Cubs 7, Pirates 6: Alberto Almora hit a walkoff single in extra innings but the Cubs were going to celebrate regardless thanks to that Cardinals loss clinching them a playoff spot. They didn’t do the full champagne thing — they’re waiting to win the division for that — but happiness is happiness. This game may not have even gone to extra innings, however, if it were not for a fan taking a foul ball from Anthony Rizzo:

It wasn’t fan interference — fans have a right to balls in foul territory — but it nonetheless gave Francisco Cervelli new life which allowed him to reach on a rally-starting double that tied the game up and sent it into the ninth. Good that the Cubs fans have that out of their system. I’d hate to see what happened if one ever — perish the thought — interfered with a Cubs fielder during a playoff game. That might make the news!

Twins 11, Tigers 4: Johnny Field homered twice. More like Johnny Hit, am I right? Jorge Polanco hit a bases-loaded triple. This one was actually close until the fifth inning and it, probably, should’ve remained close then, but something nutty happened. With men on first and second, a Twins batter hit a hard liner to second base. It looked like it would be — and probably should’ve been — a triple play. Batter out on the line-out, runners at both first and second doubled off base. The Tigers appeared to get the guy on second, but then the throw to double off the guy on first went wild. On top of THAT, the Twins used replay to reveal that the Tigers fielder wasn’t touching second base when they tried to double off the lead runner, meaning that only the batter was out:

Still alive, Twins hitters went on to score five runs that inning.

Red Sox 19, Orioles 3; Orioles 10, Red Sox 3: After the first game I tweeted something like “I wonder if the Orioles should just forfeit the nightcap and go out to dinner instead.” Then they go out and beat Boston handily in Game 2. Goes to show you that you never know what’s gonna happen in baseball and that there’s no such thing as momentum. In the first one the Red Sox hit five homers and nine doubles, Mookie Betts joined the 30/30 club and Xander Bogaerts knocked in his 100th run on the season. In the second game, Chris Sale left trailing 3-2 but then it was all Baltimore. Trey Mancini drove in three. Adam Jones hit the go-ahead RBI double. Renato Nunez and John Andreoli each knocked in a pair.

Nationals 9, Marlins 3: This may have been Bryce Harper‘s last home game as a National. When asked about whether he’ll be thinking about it before the game he joked that he’d have plenty of time because, given how much it has rained in DC lately, there will probably be delays. The game was, of course, washed out early depriving Dave Martinez the chance to take Harper out of the game while he was in the outfield in the ninth to get an ovation. As it was he finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Fellow Nats outfielder Victor Robles, however, homered, doubled, went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs.

Blue Jays 3, Astros 1: Seven Blue Jays pitchers combined to allow one run on five hits while Randal Grichuk and Reese McGuire went deep. The Astros lost but they still did the champagne celebration after the game since, late the previous evening, Oakland lost, thus giving Houston the AL West title. I suppose that’s rather weird, but to be honest, getting bombed on bubbly after a loss is not the worst way to put that loss behind you.

Royals 6, Reds 1: Rookie starter Heath Fillmyer struck out nine in seven and a third innings of one-run ball and also got his first big league hit and RBI. Alex Gordon went 2-for-4, drove in two and homered. Adalberto Mondesi tripled, scored two runs and stole two bases. Kansas City won its third straight and fourth in its last five games. The Reds have lost five in a row.

Brewers 2, Cardinals 1: Travis Shaw knocked in both Brewers’ runs to give Milwaukee its third straight win over the Cardinals, its fourth win in a row and, most importantly, helped them clinch a playoff spot.

Mets 3, Braves 0: Jacob deGrom, I believe anyway, clinched the Cy Young Award with yet another dominant outing, two-hitting the Braves over eight innings and striking out ten. That lowers his ERA to 1.70 on the season that, a 10-9 record notwithstanding, is moronic to deny earns him the hardware. He also ends the season with 269 strikeouts to only 46 walks. He gave up only ten dingers. He pitched only one game — way back on April 10 — in which he gave up more than three earned runs. On that day he gave up four. Just silly dominance. Hand him his trophy.

Rays 8, Yankees 7: Both clubs scored three in the first and both clubs scored four in their final inning at the plate, but the Rays got an extra run across in the third via a Tommy Pham homer which made the difference. Aaron Boone said before the game that he wasn’t sure if Masahiro TanakaJ.A. Happ or Luis Severino would start the Wild Card game against the A’s next week, but if this was Tanaka’s audition he flunked it, giving up four runs and six hits and not making it out of the fifth. Three of Tampa Bay’s runs were unearned.

Indians 10, White Sox 2: Shane Bieber tossed six scoreless innings, Francisco Lindor hit a leadoff homer and Edwin Encarnacion finished 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, driving in four runs as the Indians cruised. Josh Donaldson walked four times. Indians backup outfielder Erik Gonzalez was beaned and was down on the ground for a long time, but eventually got up and walked off the field. He’s being evaluated. You hate to see that ever happen, but it’s not good at all to see it happen to a guy having a cup of coffee in a meaningless game.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 2: L.A. slides out of first place thanks to Zack Greinke allowing two runs over six — he also singled in a run — and the Snakes getting homers from Socrates Brito, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta. Ross Stripling was shaky as hell for the Dodgers. It’s the first time the Dodgers have lost consecutive games in over two weeks, but given how tight things have been all year in the West, it’s not like there was much margin for error.

Angels 3, Rangers 2: Shohei Ohtani hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth giving the Angels the victory and a three-game sweep. He also had an RBI single. Andrew Heaney struck out 10 while allowing two runs over seven innings.

Athletics 9, Mariners 3: Matt Olson hit a grand slam and Khris Davis hit his 47th homer on the year to help the A’s pull a game closer to the Yankees for home field in the Wild Card game. Oakland is 41-21 since the All-Star break, which is the best record in the bigs in that time.

Padres 3, Giants 2:  Travis Jankowski — who, I contend, has one of the most football player name in baseball, not counting all of those Tylers and Wades who could be young quarterbacks — hit a homer and had three hits in all. Beyond that, I’m trying to decide which of the games last night was the most meaningless, cosmically speaking, in all of baseball. Reds-Royals is probably the closest competition, though don’t sleep on Nats-Marlins.

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

Jacob deGrom
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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.