– The Rays and Yankees have split the first two games of rain-shortened
three-game series, and Andy Sonnanstine and Andy Pettitte will go in
the deciding game tonight. Sonnanstine is 4-5 with a 7.07 ERA, but he’s
turned in two nice outings in no-decisions against the Bombers this
year, allowing four runs in 12 1/3 innings. Pettitte, who was matched
up against Sonnanstine on April 15, has also faced the Rays twice and
received two no-decisions. He gave up eight runs in 13 1/3 innings
between those two outings. Carlos Pena has owned Pettitte, going
11-for-33 with four homers against the left-hander.
– Scott Feldman, who has picked up victories in each of his last
three starts, will try to improve to 6-0 by beating the Blue Jays. He’s
yet to pitch seven innings in any of his starts, but he’s been getting
great bullpen support, even when the runs haven’t really been there.
Casey Janssen, who is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts since joining
Toronto’s rotation, will be the opposing starter. He was solid in his
first two outings, but he needs to bounce back from a poor showing
against the Angels last week in order to guarantee his continued
presence in the rotation.
– Nate McLouth gets to take on his former team just five days after
being sent from the Pirates to the Braves. He’s one of four former
Pirates on the Atlanta roster, which is pretty unusual for a team that
has 13 players either homegrown or at least having never played for
another major league organization. Mike Gonzalez and Jeff Bennett were
both drafted by the Pirates, and David Ross also served a stint in the
Game of the Night
San Francisco vs. Florida – Just four days after picking up win No.
300, Randy Johnson will go for No. 301 on short rest. He’s allowed
three runs — two earned — in 17 1/3 innings over his last three
starts, and he’s 8-1 with a 1.78 ERA against the Marlins in his career.
The opposing pitcher will be 22-year-old Sean West, who has a 3.31 ERA
in three starts since being called up last month. West is 6-foot-8, so
tonight’s matchup will rank tied for second on the list of tallest
opposing starting pitchers. The matchup between the 6-foot-10 Johnson
and the 6-foot-9 Daniel Cabrera ranks as the biggest. Cabrera versus
fellow 6-foot-9 hurler Mark Hendrickson had stood alone in second.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.