The months-long wait is over, as free agent Craig Kimbrel has finally found a home, finalizing a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal was the first to break the news early Wednesday evening on an agreement between Kimbrel and the Cubs:
ESPN's Jeff Passan later reported the deal to be for three years at $43 million:
Today, Kimbrel was officially welcomed by the team:
The Cubs currently lead the NL Central by half-a-game despite having a true closer, so this is a big pickup by Chicago. Kimbrel fills that void as he's one of the best closers in the game, and on pace to be perhaps the most dominant one in Major League history. He's certainly trending in that direction. Only 31 and already with 333 saves and a 1.91 ERA. Simply dominant.
In his three seasons with the Red Sox, Kimbrel converted 108 of 119 save opportunities with a 2.44 ERA in 187 games, and struck out 14.89 hitters per nine innings (14.67 for career).
Kimbrel appeared in nine playoff games for the Red Sox last year, going six-for-six in save opportunities despite posting a 5.91 ERA in October.
At the beginning of the offseason, Kimbrel was seeking a six-year deal north of $100 million.
Chris Sale picked up his second win of the season on Wednesday night against the Royals, tossing a three-hit, no-walk, 12-strikeout shutout in an 8-0 Sox victory. He was simply dominant, with an immaculate inning on top of it, his second of the season.
The Red Sox's ace is now just the second pitcher in Major League history to record two immaculate innings in a season. Lefty Grove is the other, having done so for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1928.
Sale struck out Kelvin Gutierrez, Nicky Lopez, and Martin Maldonado in the seventh inning to, once again, accomplish the rare feat and tie history:
While improving his record to 2-7, Sale also lowered his ERA from 4.35 to 3.84, in what was his 16th career complete game and third career shutout.
Sale's ERA in his last nine starts is 2.43, after struggling to an 8.50 mark in his first four of this season. In addition, he's struck out 10 or more in seven of those nine starts, something he didn't do in those first four.
It's safe to say Sale is back. After a rough start, the ace of the Sox is feeling good and has figured it out. He's the punchout master.
The Bruins have their backs against the wall against the Blues, trailing 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday night in St. Louis.
Incredibly, Boston's "perfection line" of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak haven't recorded a single five-on-five point in the entire series.
For Marchand, he's now failed to record a five-on-five point in 11 straight Stanley Cup Final games, dating back to Game 7 in 2011.
There's at least one more chance for the top line to get it going. Game 6. See you then.
The Red Sox beat the Royals 7-5 on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium to sweep the three-game series, and for their fourth straight win.
Boston improved to 33-29 on the year while Kansas City dropped to 19-43, currently tied with the Orioles for baseball's worst record.
Mookie Betts hit his 10th home run of the season for Boston, a two-run shot in the third off Danny Duffy (who Betts homered three times off of in the same game last year) which tied the game at two. For Betts, it was his first homer of June.
Christian Vazquez's two-out, two-run triple in the seventh increased the Red Sox's lead from one to three runs, as he came around to score the team's final run on a wild pitch the same inning; Vazquez now has 22 RBIs on the season.
Ryan Weber started on Thursday for the Red Sox, recording just four outs while allowing two runs on five hits. In order, Colten Brewer (six), Marcus Walden (five), Ryan Brasier (three), Josh Taylor (three), Heath Hembree (three), and Matt Barnes (three) recorded the final 23 outs for Boston, one night after Chris Sale's three-hit shutout.
The Red Sox won 8-3 on Tuesday night, and 8-0 on Wednesday behind Sale's brilliant 102-pitch effort.
Boston begins a four-game weekend series (doubleheader on Saturday) tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. The Rays are 1.5 games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East, while the Red Sox begin action down 6.5 games.
After taking a puck to the face in Monday's Game 4, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was reported to have a broken jaw the next day while hardly being able to speak.
However, that didn't stop the tallest man in NHL history from playing in Game 5, showing just how tough he is.
Big Z received by far the biggest applause from the Bruins faithful during the starting lineup announcements:
Chara logged 16:42 of ice-time for the Bruins in their 2-1 loss, the third most from their defensemen; he also recorded two shots and four hits.
There is no denying the warrior-like mentality of Chara, a future Hall of Famer.
Down 3-2 in the series, Chara and the Bruins will look to force a Game 7 in TD Garden by first taking care of business on Sunday night at Enterprise Center.
The St. Louis Blues took a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final last night, winning 2-1 despite being out-shot 39-21 by the Bruins.
A key moment in Thursday night's match occurred just midway through the third period, as Bruins fourth-liner Noel Acciari was the victim of an obvious slewfoot from fellow center Tyler Bozak. No penalty was called, Acciari was injured on the play (he didn't return to the game), essentially giving the Blues a 5-on-4 as they ended up scoring to take a 2-0 lead:
Incredibly, the NHL's official Twitter account didn't even bother showing what actually happened prior to the goal scored by David Perron:
Jake DeBrusk scored his fourth goal of the playoffs and first of the series with 6:26 left in the third to make it a 2-1 game. Although getting some solid chances to score down the stretch, the Bruins were simply unable to find the equalizer.
Boston out-shot St. Louis 17-8 in the first period, and 14-7 in the third.
On three power-play opportunities, the Bruins were unable to score; the Blues failed on one such chance.
Ryan O'Reilly opened the scoring with his third goal in two games 55 seconds into the second period, back-handing one past Tuukka Rask on a nice behind-the-net feed from Zach Sanford:
It was O'Reilly's second straight game with a first-minute goal in a period, as he scored 43 seconds into Game 4.
Unsurprisingly, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was not happy with the blown non-call:
Boston dressed seven defensemen in the game as David Backes sat out; Steven Kampfer was added to the blue line along with the six that took the ice in Games 3 and 4.
With their backs against the wall, the Bruins will look to force a Game 7 on Sunday night in St. Louis.