– A pair of surging seven-game winners will face off with the White Sox
in Minnesota tonight. John Danks has pitched seven scoreless innings in
back-to-back victories and has a 1.51 ERA over his last five starts.
Nick Blackburn is coming off his third complete game of the season, a
6-2 win over the Tigers. He was on the mound when the Twins walloped
the White Sox 20-1 on May 21. Since that date, he’s 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA
in eight starts.
– Tim Lincecum fall apart a bit after six no-hit innings on
Thursday, so perhaps Dan Haren is still a candidate to start for the
Nationals League in the All-Star Game. A stellar outing tonight against
the Marlins wouldn’t hurt his chances, and the Diamondbacks could
certainly use the strong effort after their pen gave up 14 runs in
Thursday’s loss. A win could be tough to come by, though, as Ricky
Nolasco has been on fire for Florida. He’s won each of his last four
starts, and he has a 1.54 ERA and a 45/7 K/BB ratio in six starts since
returning from the minors.
Game of the Night
N.Y. Yankees vs. L.A. Angels – Joba Chamberlain may not have given
up more than three earned runs in any of his last 11 starts, but he was
still lit up last time out, when he surrendered eight runs — three
earned — in 3 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays. He’s pitched seven
innings just twice all year, and his average against is up to .273
because of the 18 hits he’s given up in nine innings his last two times
out. Fortunately, he won’t have to face the Angels’ best player this
season or the team’s best player over the last several years after both
Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero landed on the DL on Friday. Joe
Saunders, who has also struggled of late, will get the ball for
Anaheim. He’s given up 13 earned runs over nine innings in his last two
starts, taking his ERA from 3.66 to 4.44.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.