Quote of the Day: Farrell on Daisuke, WBC

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Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, on Daisuke Matsuzaka’s chances of pitching again this season after landing on the disabled list with shoulder weakness:

Our every intention will be to get him back this year. Now, I say
that with no end time frame that says on August 1, he’s going to be
back in our rotation. There are going to be objectives that he’s going
to have to meet along the way here both in terms of strength and
conditioning, both from a body standpoint and from a shoulder
standpoint. … I think it’s important to clarify, there are reports
out there that Daisuke is suffering from a sore shoulder. That is far
from the truth.

He does have some deficiencies in strength that goes back to the
preparation for a full season that in this case has not been afforded.
And when you ramp up too quick, you fatigue it, and then trying to come
back, you’re working it to get back in shape and there’s just not ample
time or format to do that. Fortunately with [John] Smoltz coming to us,
we have that time on our side and we’re going to take the time needed
to get Daisuke right to the pitcher he was the past two years.

In other words, don’t expect to see Matsuzaka any time soon. His injury
allows Boston to add John Smoltz to the rotation without having to
trade Brad Penny and the Red Sox’s incredible pitching depth–along
with Smoltz and Penny, they also have Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden
at Triple-A–leaves them with no real incentive to bring Matsuzaka back
before he’s clearly ready.

Interestingly, Farrell went on to blame the World Baseball Classic
for Matsuzaka’s shoulder problems, saying: “I think it’s clear now that
there have been two of these tournaments, that the season performances
of the pitchers who participate in that tournament take a step
backward. It’s not just Daisuke.”

Piscotty returns to Cardinals lineup after concussion

Stephen Piscotty
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.

Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.

What to watch for on the final day of the regular season

Cole Hamels
AP Photo/LM Otero

Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …

American League Wild Card


This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.

American League West


As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.

American League Best Record


If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.

National League Wild Card


Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.

Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.