And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Diamondbacks 13, Phillies 8: Arizona and Philly combined to hit record 13 home runs. The previous record of 12 homers was held by the Tigers and White Sox (May 28, 1995) and by the White Sox and Tigers (July 2, 2002). Eight came from Arizona (two each from Eduardo Escobar, two from Iidemaro Vargas and one each from Jarrod DysonKetel Marte, David Peralta, and Alex Avila). Five from Philly: Two from Scott Kingery and one each from Jean Segura, Rhys Hoskins and Jay Bruce.

A new record for homers in a season was set in 2017 with 6,105. That was over 400 more than the previous record, set in 2000. The pace for 2019 — before last night’s barrage — was 6,504 homers. If you think that’s great, well, that’s a matter of personal taste. If you think that’s not a function of the baseball being different than it was a few years ago you’re either lying to yourself or, if you’re an MLB official, lying to fans.

Cardinals 4, Marlins 1: Michael Wacha tossed six shutout innings and the Cards scored two runs on a throwing error off a sac bunt attempt with a third unearned following soon after. Wacha had three double plays turned behind him. No homers were hit. I suppose the Baseball Gods gave us this game as cosmic offset for the Phillies-Diamondbacks game.

Braves 13, Pirates 7: Then the Baseball Gods were back to their usual business, with seven homers in this one, five of which were swatted by the Braves. Two came from Ozzie Albies and one each from Nick Markakis, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman. Acuña’s was a grand slam and he and Markakis each drove in four. The barrage came after Pirates starter Joe Musgrove hit Josh Donaldson — grazed his jersey, really — in the first inning, leading to the benches clearing. There wasn’t any intent there. The whole dustup seemed to happen solely because Donaldson didn’t like how Musgrove was looking at him as he went to first base. Here’s Donaldson after the game:

“I feel like he came down the mound afterward. I looked away to try to give him a chance to look away from me. He kept coming down the mound and looking at me and obviously he had a problem with something.”

Really, dude? You stopped going to first base and ended up getting ejected because a guy was looking at you? I wonder if he got briefed on the finer points of red assery by Madison Bumgarner before this game. As for Musgrove, he got ejected for dropping his glove which the umpire called “aggressive.” Dude, if Josh Donaldson is coming at me I’m dropping my glove, not as an act of aggression but as an act of defense, giving me another fist in case I need it. This isn’t hockey.

Anyway, I didn’t watch this one because, for some dumb reason, Pirates games are blacked out in Ohio. When I looked at the box score and saw that Kevin Gausman got pulled in the third I thought it was because he plunked someone in retaliation. Nah, he just sucked. Again. Unsung hero of the game was Sean Newcomb, who came on to relieve Gausman and tossed four and two-thirds of one-hit, shutout ball.

Rockies 6, Cubs 5: If you want home run quantity the Dbacks-Phillies game, or maybe the Pirates-Braves game, was your bag. Here’s a home run of quality, at least if distance is quality, from Ian Desmond:

That seventh inning moon shoot was the longest in baseball this year. It also broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh. Chicago would tie it back up in he bottom of the eighth but Ryan McMahon‘s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth — which came after Daniel Murphy doubled and then stole third — would put Colorado back up to stay. The Rockies have won nine straight at home.

Rays 6, Athletics 2: Charlie Morton tossed seven shutout innings to go to 8-0 on the year and Brandon Lowe homered again. It was Morton it’s 11 straight wins without a loss overall. For Tampa Bay it’s a one-half game lead in the AL East over the rained-out Yankees.

Rangers 4, Red Sox 3: Boston blew a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, wasted an outstanding Chris Sale start (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 10K, 0 BB) but tied it up and forced extras thanks to a Brock Holt RBI single. An Elvis Andrus RBI single in the 11th gave the game to Texas, however.

Nationals 12, White Sox 1: Anibal Sánchez allowed only one run over six and the pen allowed bupkis. Trea Turner tripled and scored and also homered for the second straight game and Kurt Suzuki hit a late grand slam to make an easy win even easier. Unfortunately all of that was overshadowed by a woman getting struck by an Eloy Jiménez foul ball and taken to the hospital. A couple of weeks ago Major League Baseball said it would keep “examining” the issue of extending the netting. I presume this will cause them to offer another action-free quote. For my part, Bill’s words from last night are pretty much all that needs to be said on the matter:

In the meantime, the league will continue to promote exit velocity and utilize all kinds of distractions at the stadium as players hit baseballs harder than they ever have before, and fans are left defenseless. All stadiums in Japan have protective netting all the way down the foul lines and fans don’t even notice it. The most expensive seats at all MLB parks are already behind netting. The players want more netting. Seems like a pretty simple fix, really.

Angels 5 Dodgers 3: The Dodgers rode another excellent Hyun-Jin Ryu start (6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) to a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh but the Angels would tie it on a two-run homer from Mike Trout off of Dylan Floro. In the eighth they’d score two more via a hitless rally fueled by a Joe Kelly meltdown. Kelly walked three — one intentional — tossed two wild pitches and had an additional throwing error. He now has a 1-3 record and a 7.59 ERA. The Dodgers are probably the best team in baseball right now but their bullpen is a weak spot they’ll have to address sooner rather than later.

Mets vs. Yankees — POSTPONED:

In the city lights
I swear I hear you call my name (call my name)
There’s nothing right
I’m stuck here while you’re miles away (miles away)
In New York raining
In New York raining
It’s too much my babe I need you
It’s too much my babe I need you

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

Jacob deGrom
USA Today

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.