– Actually, we’re probably not going to tune in, but surely many will
be watching Manny Ramirez’s return from a 50-game suspension tonight
against the Padres. The disgraced slugger went 3-for-10 with a homer
and three walks in five minor league games.
– Zack Greinke, Kevin Slowey and Tim Wakefield are all possibilities
to become the AL’s first 11-game winner tonight. Greinke has won two in
a row after going 0-2 with two no-decisions in his previous four
starts. He’ll get the White Sox, a team he’s 5-8 with a 4.20 ERA
against in his career. Slowey is coming off his worst start of the year
(5 ER in 3 IP vs. St. Louis). He’ll pitch against a Detroit club that
he beat with six innings of one-run ball back on May 12. He’s 3-0 with
a 4.75 ERA in four career starts against the Tigers. More on Wakefield
in a minute.
– Alfredo Figaro followed up a decent first start with a poor second
outing, so now the Tigers have decided to see if they can catch
lightning in a bottle with 23-year-old Lucas French, who will make his
first major league start against the Twins after going 4-4 with a 2.98
ERA, 71 H and 72/20 K/BB in 81 2/3 IP for Triple-A Toledo. French’s
stuff is below average, but he’s left-handed and throws strikes. If he
can get Twins hitters to offer at his curve, he might have some luck.
Game of the Night
Seattle vs. Boston – Pitchers don’t get a whole lot more different
than Felix Hernandez and Wakefield. Those two will face off as the
Mariners begin a three-game series in Boston. King Felix has been
dominant in his two career starts at Fenway, turning in one of his
three career shutouts and pitching six scoreless innings in the other
outing. He’s 3-1 with a 3.05 ERA in six starts against the Red Sox
overall. Wakefield carries a four-game winning streak and a 6-0 mark at
home this season into the start. He could really use that 11th win
tonight in order to strengthen his bid for making the All-Star team for
the first time in his career. Hernandez is already pretty close to a
lock for the squad.
Horrible news: Miami Marlins ace starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boat crash off of Miami Beach late last night.
No details have been released yet, apart from the fact that Fernandez was one of three people killed. The Marlins have issued a statement confirming Fernandez’s death, stating that the organization is devastated and that their thoughts and prayers were with Fernandez’s family. Today’s Marlins game against the Braves has been canceled.
Fernandez was only 24 years old. Though only in his fourth season in the majors, he was easily one of the best and most exciting pitchers in the game. In his four seasons he won 38 games and posted a fantastic ERA of 2.58 while striking out 11.2 batters per nine innings. He was an electric presence on the mound and was poised to become one of baseball’s most highly-paid and entertaining superstars.
His baseball exploits seem trivial now, however. His loss at such a young age, tragic. Our thoughts today are with Fernandez’s family, the Marlins organization and those who knew and loved him.
Another day, another division title in the bag. The Nationals coasted to a 6-1 finish over the Pirates on Saturday evening; coupled with a Mets’ loss later that night, the NL East title was theirs for the third time since 2012.
The Nationals put up a three-spot in the first and fourth innings, scoring five of six runs on productive outs while Washington starter Joe Ross tossed 2 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in his second start off the disabled list. Prior to the game, manager Dusty Baker seemed reluctant to delegate a set number of pitches to the right-hander, opting instead to base Ross’s workload on his performance.
Washington’s bullpen carried the team the rest of the way, combining for 6 ⅓ scoreless frames to preserve their five-run lead. When Anthony Rendon snared a liner from Andrew McCutchen to end the game, all eyes turned to the clubhouse TVs:
Murphy had sufficient cause for worry: After trailing 10-0 through four innings, the Mets returned with an eight-run drive that culminated with Jay Bruce‘s solo shot in the ninth inning. Had Bruce hit the home run after Philadelphia closer Michael Mariot issued a pair of walks, and not before, the Mets would have edged out the Phillies, 11-10. Instead, their late-game rally ended on a fastball down the middle, and the Phillies’ 70th victory confirmed the Nats’ place atop the NL East.
While Max Scherzer donned his two-toned goggles and Bryce Harper braved the champagne showers in U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky’s swim cap, Baker was already thinking about Sunday’s start. Against the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, Baker announced his plans to start 24-year-old A.J. Cole, whose seven starts have yielded a 4.68 ERA and 0.2 fWAR in 32 ⅔ innings this year.
Cole hasn’t displayed the sharpest stuff in his sophomore season, touting a high 3.03 BB/9 and 1.93 HR/9, but with the division locked down and the Cubs in sole possession of home field advantage through the NLCS, the Nationals have bigger concerns as the playoffs draw near.