What we're watching: Pedro's Philly debut

Leave a comment

– Hopefully, Tuesday’s incident took care of the bad blood between the Tigers and Red Sox, but with noted hothead Josh Beckett on the mound tonight, another flareup is a possibility. Kevin Youkilis, who charged the mound after being hit in a second straight game last night, chose not to appeal his five-game suspension, so he’ll sit tonight. It’s unclear whether the Tigers will regain the services of Miguel Cabrera, who left last night’s game after being hit in the hand by a pitch. Detroit has scratched Armando Galarraga from his scheduled start, so Zach Miner, who pitched in relief Monday, will get the nod.
– While Glen Perkins’ injury helped him out, Francisco Liriano could use a strong outing tonight if he’s going to stay in the Minnesota rotation. The Twins have lost each of his last four starts, during which he’s given up 19 runs — 15 earned — in 21 2/3 innings. He’s faced a difficult schedule over the span (NYY, TEX, LAA and CLE), but he’ll have no such excuse tonight against the Royals.
Game of the Night
Philadelphia vs. Chicago Cubs – Replacing Jamie Moyer in the rotation, Pedro Martinez will make his much-anticipated Phillies debut after striking out 11 and allowed three earned runs in six innings in his final minor league start. That’d be enough for Game of the Night honors on its own, but it will also be interesting to see Jeff Samardzija make his first major league start for the Cubs. He’s struggled as a major league reliever this year, posting a 6.29 ERA and a 13/12 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings. He was 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Iowa.

Dusty Baker on struggling Jonathan Papelbon: “He doesn’t look very good.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Washington Nationals looks on after coming out in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.  The Padres won 10-6.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.

Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.

On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.

Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”

The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.

Blue Jays trade Drew Storen to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Drew Storen #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the eleventh inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.

Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.