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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are he highlights:

Cardinals 3, Nationals 2: Adam Wainwright outduels Aníbal Sánchez, which I’m sure is something I wrote in the recaps in 2010 one time. Wainwright lasted into the seventh and only allowed a couple of solo shots. Kolten Wong bunted in a run and Harrison Bader hit a two-run single that put St. Louis on top in the fourth and there they stayed. Wainwright also kicked a comebacker to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for a just-the-way-they-drew-it-up 1-3 putout to end a bases-loaded threat:

At 19-10, the Cards have the best record in the NL and they have won four in a row. Everything’s comin’ up Redbird.

Astros 11, Twins 0: Gerrit Cole struck out 11 and allowed only one hit in seven dominating innings as the Astros snapped Minnesota’s four-game winning streak. George Springer had an RBI double and homered. Carlos Correa knocked in three. Jake Marisnick hit a two-run shot and Alex Bregman went deep as well. The win was A.J. Hinch’s 392nd as Astros manager, which ties him with Art Howe for third on the all-time franchise list. He’ll pass Larry Dierker for second place with 435 at some point this year. Then he’ll only have Bill Virdon to catch, which will most likely happen next year. The Astros have had 23 managers. At the bottom of the list is a guy named Salty Parker, who played in 11 games for the Tigers back in 1936 and managed only 12 total games in the majors, 11 in 1967 and one in 1972. I bet he knew every greasy spoon diner from Bangor to Barstow, though.

Indians 7, Marlins 4: Former Columbus Clipper Carlos González hit a three-run homer, former Columbus Clipper Carlos Santana hit a solo shot and former Columbus Clipper Trevor Bauer struck out ten over seven innings to lead the Tribe to victory. Just dropping the Columbus stuff because people suddenly remember my city exists thanks to the hockey team and I figure I may as well try to expand the brand a little bit. Bauer didn’t pitch wonderfully — he was sloppy early — but he still posted his 60th consecutive start without allowing more than four runs. According to the good folks at Elias, that’s the second longest such streak for a pitcher since 1970. The longest is held by Greg Maddux. Elias didn’t say how long his was in the thing I read, but I’m gonna assume it was, like, 120 or some crap.

UPDATE:

Tigers 3, Phillies 1: Spencer Turnbull stymied the Phillies, allowing one over six and the Tigers pen tossed three shutout innings. Miguel Cabrera singled in a run in the third and Niko Goodrum homered him in seven pitches later for all the Tigers’ runs. Thing I just learned: Goodrum’s given first name is Cartier. He’s someone to . . . watch.

Mets 4, Reds 3: A long Todd Frazier homer gave the Mets a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth. With Edwin Díaz unavailable having pitched in the previous three games, the Mets relied on Jeurys Family for a two-inning save. The eighth inning went fine. The ninth, not so much, as Familia allowed two runs which forced extras. Peter Alonso saved his bacon in the tenth, however, hitting a walkoff sac fly. Jeff McNeil had four hits on the evening.

Red Sox 5, Athletics 1: Rick Porcello tossed eight shutout innings — it was the longest outing of any Boston starter all year — striking out eight. He was backed by homers from Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland and various and sundry other run-scoring events. Boston has won four of six.

Padres 4, Braves 3: Franmil Reyes was most of the Padres’ offense as he socked two homers and doubled in a run. Eric Hosmer homered too. That backed Chris Paddack who tossed six innings of two-run ball. Guy has high-90s heat and then shows you breaking stuff in the 70s. It’s sort of not fair.

Brewers 4, Rockies 3: Jesús Aguilar stayed hot, hitting a three-run homer in the seventh to pad what was then a 1-0 lead. It was necessary too as Colorado mounted a three-run rally in the ninth off of Junior Guerra, who Craig Counsell was pushing into this second inning of use. Unlike the Familia thing in New York it was not a save situation at the time, but not a good night if you wanted two-innings from your late game relievers, eh?

Pirates 6, Rangers 4: Texas led 3-0 heading into the ninth but the Pirates rallied for three, with an RBI single from Adam Frazier and a two-run double from Josh Bell to force extras. In the 11th the Buccos rallied for three more with homers from Bryan Reynolds and Starling Marte. A Joey Gallo homer in the bottom of the 11th was all Texas could muster as an answer and that was not enough because that’s just how math works. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for Pittsburgh. I’m sure there were some quotes after that about how now they can get back on track and start playing well again like they did a couple of weeks ago and shake off that uncharacteristic losing stretch. God love baseball players for being intentionally oblivious to corrections and long arcs of probability and all of that.

Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 1: Zack Greinke won his fifth game of the year by allowing one run and pitching into the eighth, backed by a homer and an RBI single from Wilmer Flores. CC Sabathia made history with his 3,000th career strikeout in the loss. He’s only the third lefty in the 3,000 strikeout club. He’s not catching Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson, of course.

Unless . . .

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. . . this photo of him from last night suggests that he has the power to go all Dr. Strange and pitch as three guys at once. If he can do that — and if he doesn’t retire this year as planned — maybe he has a shot at ’em.

Dodgers 10, Giants 3: David Freese hit a three-run homer, Kiké Hernandez and Justin Turner hit solo shots. Turner’s was, somehow, his first dinger on the year. There was a delay in the start to this game due to a glitch in the replay system which prevented both teams from being able to watch plays in order to determine whether or not to challenge calls. As it couldn’t be immediately fixed, both teams retained their managerial challenges but were also given unlimited crew chief reviews if they requested one. We were probably lucky this was a blowout, then, because if it was close that might’ve really slowed things the hell down. As it was, the contest lasted only two hours and forty-five minutes.

Angels 4, Blue Jays 3: Brian Goodwin hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning. Jonathan Lucroy homered for the Halos as well. Local kid Griffin Canning made his big league debut for Los Angeles. He started out strong — he retired his first 10 batters and struck out five straight at one point — but couldn’t make it to the fifth. I’m sure the warm welcome felt nice, though. Brandon Drury hit his third homer in four games for the Blue Jays.

Cubs 6, Mariners 5: Chicago was down 5-4 in the eighth when Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer to save the day for the Cubs. Brad Brach pitched one and a third innings for the win and Steve Cishek got a four-out save, so let’s forget what I said above about how the multi-inning relief thing didn’t work out so good last night.

Orioles vs. White Sox; Rays vs. Royals — POSTPONED:

The rain falls hard on a humdrum town
This town has dragged you down
Oh, the rain falls hard on a humdrum town
This town has dragged you down
Oh, no, and everybody’s got to live their life
And God knows I’ve got to live mine
God knows I’ve got to live mine

William, William it was really nothing
William, William it was really nothing
It was your life

Ahoy, San Diego: 2019 Winter Meetings Preview

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Over the weekend the baseball world will descended on San Diego, California for the 2019 Winter Meetings. Let’s talk about what’ll go down there in the next week.

 

Free Agents

So far this has been a much brisker offseason than the past two, during which it seemed like no one signed between November and February. This year, however, we have already seen top-30 free agents Zack Wheeler, Yasmani Grandal, Cole Hamels, José Abreu, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Moustakas, and Michael Pineda sign, and a handful of others have inked pacts as well.

Still, there’s a lot of work to be done. Top free agent Gerrit Cole has had some heat around him lately, with the Yankees reportedly hot on his trail, and New York has at least had a conversation with San Diego native and resident Stephen Strasburg as well. Beyond them, Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner, Nicholas Castellanos, and Josh Donaldson are all looking for new employers as well.

At the end of October Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot ran down the top 111 free agents, from highest-ranked to lowest, to help you get a jump on who is available.

 

Trades

Free agent signings notwithstanding, we are in an age in which a lot of teams are in cost-savings mode. For that reason some big, MVP-caliber names are reportedly on the trading block, including Mookie Betts of the Red Sox, Francisco Lindor of the Indians and, perhaps, Kris Bryant of the Cubs and Nolan Arenado of the Rockies. Beyond them, there has been chatter about the Dodgers dealing Joc Pederson, the Tigers dealing Matthew Boyd and the Pirates and Rockies shopping anyone worth a bag of balls.

Whether any of those big names switch teams, it’s already been a pretty active trading season so far, and it would not be at all surprising of the transaction wire is humming in the next week. We, of course, will have near-instant breakdowns of every deal that goes down, so make sure you keep a window open with this site on it and hit refresh early and often.

 

Managers on Parade

 

Trade deals and free agent negotiations take place behind closed doors, so we can only talk about those once they happen. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press.

We have a boatload of new managers this year, all of whom have had their happy little press conferences back in their home cities so far. The press availabilities at the Winter Meetings are a bit more in depth and, quite often, feature managers giving more detailed answers to their philosophies and their plans as they prepare for the 2020 season.

New at the little tables and under the bright lights this year: Jayce Tingler with the Padres, Mike Matheny with the Royals, Gabe Kapler with the Giants, David Ross with the Cubs, Derek Shelton with the Pirates, Joe Maddon with the Angels, Carlos Beltrán with the Mets, and Joe Girardi with the Phillies.

And, yes, the tradition like no other continues this year, as I will be ranking all 30 of the current managers on the basis of handsomeness. Here’s last year’s rankings. The new rankings will go up first thing Monday morning. It’s the silliest thing I do all year and, for better or for worse, it’s the thing I’m best known for. What a life I have.

 

Hall of Fame Vote

The Modern Baseball Era Committee — formerly known as the Veterans Committee — will meet on Sunday to vote in, or not vote in, new inductees for the Hall of Fame. For the past two weeks I’ve been profiling the candidates. Here are those profiles:

Committee members get four votes each. If I had four I’d give them to Whitaker, Evans, Simmons, and Miller, but you never know what the real voters will do. We’ll have the results up on Sunday evening once the vote is made public.

 

Major League Baseball vs. Minor League Baseball

One thing a lot of people don’t know about the Winter Meetings is that it’s put on, primarily, by Minor League Baseball as an organization and the vast majority of the people on the ground at the Winter Meetings either run or work for or are trying to sell stuff to minor league teams. Almost every team’s owner comes and brings along some staffers. Coaches, trainers, scouts, and other team employees who spend most of their year out in the bushes as opposed to back at the big club’s home base attend meetings and hobnob with one another.

Normally that’s all pretty routine. This year, however, it probably won’t be thanks to Rob Manfred’s plan to contract 42 minor league clubs and rearrange a great many more of them across levels and leagues.

As we noted earlier today, that scheme has set off a political firestorm and is no doubt the top agenda item and point of concern for every single minor league official and employee at the Winter Meetings. There are, reportedly, already meetings going on in San Diego about all of this. Expect some news about it at any point in the next week. At this point I’d expect anything from Manfred totally scrapping the plan, to him doubling down on it, to reports of general acrimony and possible legal action and everything in between.

 

The Boring Business of Baseball 

Outside of the transactions, the Hall of Fame stuff, the managers and the minor league contraction intrigue, we’ll likely have more mundane Winter Meetings business. Most people at the Winter Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings. There is no single rule change that everyone is talking about at the moment, but something will likely pop up. Sometimes we’re completely surprised with that kind of stuff.

 

The Rule 5 Draft

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am Pacific time on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected, but by next summer you may very well know some of them who are either picked or who were made available this week. Max Muncy could’ve been had by anyone a couple of years ago, went un-picked and all he’s done is rake like crazy for the team with the most wins in the National League. Given that even the combined minds of 29 front offices didn’t think he was worth a roster spot last year, you’ll be forgiven for not having any idea about the guys in this year’s Rule 5. But, if you want to at least attempt to be prepared for it, here’s a good place to start.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at the Hyatt Manchester in San Diego — and maybe a few other places around town — bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event.