Rays get to Rivera again

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Stat of the day: After his latest adventure
against the Rays this afternoon, Mariano Rivera has now allowed an un
Rivera-like nine runs this season after yielding 11 all of last season.

Of course, it’s well-documented that he’s already served up five
homers in just 23 1/3 innings this season. That’s the most he’s allowed
in a season since 2001 — but, of course, that was over the course of
80 2/3 innings. Pretty alarming, no? Following offseason shoulder
surgery, there were some early and obvious concerns about his velocity,
however he was throwing his cutter at about 93 MPH this week, pretty
much where it was before the procedure.

Bad outings from relievers tend to inflate statistics — and after
his last blowup against the Rays on May 7, giving up back-to-back
homers for the first time in his career, Rivera had a season-high 3.97
ERA. But since then, Rivera had allowed just one run over his last 11
1/3 innings pitched, including five consecutive scoreless appearances
leading into Saturday. He entered today’s game with a 2.38 ERA, the
lowest it’s been since April. Also, his trademark control remains
intact, with a 28/2 K/BB ratio thus far.

Yeah, I know, the sports-talk radio folk are gonna say Rivera just
isn’t the same pitcher. And maybe he isn’t. It makes for great drama,
especially when a fanbase has been spoiled for this long. But in a
bullpen full of Tomko’s, Robertson’s and Coke’s, Rivera is the least of
their problems.

Ian Kinsler could be traded this week

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Tigers general manager Al Avila said today that he may trade Ian Kinsler during the Winter Meetings.

The Tigers are rebuilding to it makes sense that they trade the veteran Kinsler. Earlier this offseason he had been linked to the Mets and Angels. There is a lot of competition for the Tigers in trading Kinsler, though, as the Marlins are thought to be shopping Starlin Castro. Neil Walker is likewise available as a free agent.

Kinsler, 35, batted .236/.313/.412 with 22 homers and 14 steals over 139 games this past season. He’s owed $11 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract. He can probably be obtained for the cost of the contract.

In other news, Kinsler wears number 3 for the Tigers, who today announced that they will retire number 3 for Alan Trammell, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame. A Kinsler trade would, at the very least, save the team an awkward conversation.