Last month general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that the Phillies had no interest in signing Pedro Martinez, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer both report that the team will indeed watch the future Hall of Famer work out in the Dominican Republic this week.
Martino speculates that Amaro has changed his stance on Martinez after
failing to find a palatable trade solution for a veteran starter, while
Zolecki suggests that the Phillies are simply “covering their bases in
case Martinez has enough life left in his arm to help.”
Martinez has remained steadfast in his demand for a prorated $5
million contract, which while enough to scare teams off in April or May
would add up to a relatively modest $2.5 million investment at this
point in the season. In other words, showing any kind of decent stuff
in this week’s workout could lead to Martinez finally being signed.
However, his previous workout sessions apparently have not been
impressive, with various sources reporting that his fastball topped out
in the mid-80s. Martinez went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts last
season while averaging 87.7 miles per hour with his fastball, but his
Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) was 4.61 and shows that
he wasn’t as bad as the ugly ERA.
If healthy he’s certainly still capable of being a solid fourth or
fifth starter for a contending team, but the decision for the Phillies
revolves around whether dropping a few million bucks on a question mark
makes more sense than relying on young starters or giving up some
non-monetary assets in a trade for a less risky veteran.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.
In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.
In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.
Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.