– Josh Beckett and Felix Hernandez both have opportunities to become
the AL’s first 12-game winner tonight. Beckett goes first, and one has
to like his chances with a home start against the A’s on the schedule.
He beat the A’s on Oakland on July 7 and is 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA in nine
starts at Fenway this season. King Felix will pitch against the Blue
Jays in a 10 p.m. EDT start. The Marlins have won each of his last
eight starts, even though they’ve average just 4.4 runs per game in
those contests. He’ll be going up against Ricky Romero, who is 8-4 with
a 3.44 ERA.
– The Yankees capitalized on a 10-game homestand to build a 2 1/2-game
lead over the Red Sox. Now they’ll play nine straight on the road,
beginning with a series in Tampa Bay. A.J. Burnett, riding a four-game
winning streak, will take on James Shields in the opener. He’s 1-0 with
a 3.21 ERA in two starts against the Rays this year. Shields hasn’t won
since June 20 and is 1-6 with a 5.73 ERA against the Yankees in his
career. This will be his first start against the Bombers in 2009.
Game of the Night
L.A. Dodgers vs. St. Louis – After falling out of first place in the
NL Central on Sunday, the Cardinals will look to Chris Carpenter to
help them bounce back against the team with the best record in
baseball. Carpenter would be 4-0 this month if not for Ryan Franklin’s
blown save last Wednesday. He’s 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career
starts against the Dodgers. Starting for the Dodgers will be Randy
Wolf, who has turned in 13 quality starts this year — including five
in a row — yet has just five wins to show for his 3.45 ERA.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.