What we're watching: Beckett looks to bounce back

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– Brad Penny makes his first start for the Giants in a big game against Philadelphia. The Phillies won a sterling contest 1-0 last night, as Cole Hamels pitched a two-hit shutout to outduel Jonathan Sanchez. That allowed the Rockies to reclaim a one-game lead in the wild-card race. The Giants will likely need a strong outing from Penny if they hope to hang in there against J.A. Happ, who is 10-3 with a 2.63 ERA. Penny turned in just one quality start in his last five trips to the mound for Boston. He was released by the Red Sox after going 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts.
– The Red Sox will be looking for Josh Beckett to bounce back against a Rays team he’s struggled against lately. The former 20-game winner has allowed 20 runs over his last three starts, taking his ERA from 3.10 to 3.80. He’s 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA against Tampa Bay this year, and he gave up 10 runs in 9 1/3 innings versus the club in the ALCS last year. His opponent tonight might just be the one pitcher in the league the Red Sox least like to see: Matt Garza. Garza is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts versus Boston this year. Including last year’s postseason, he’s 7-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 12 career starts against the Red Sox.
Game of the Night
Los Angeles vs. Seattle – Well, technically it’s a late afternoon game in Seattle, but that’s good enough for us East Coasters. Scott Kazmir will make his Angels debut in a showdown against Cy Young contender Felix Hernandez. Kazmir had his high strikeout game of the year in his final start for Tampa Bay before being traded for three prospects. He allowed one run in six innings and fanned 10 against Toronto to finish off a month of August in which he went 3-1 with a 5.10 ERA. Hernandez is aiming for his first win of the year against the Angels after going 0-1 with a 4.38 ERA in his first two starts.

The Tigers decline Anibal Sanchez’s 2018 option

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From the “this does not surprise us in the very least” department, Tigers GM Al Avila announced today that the club is declining its $16 million option on right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez had a terrible year in 2017, going 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 2017. That’s a long slide down from his 2013 season, in which he won the AL ERA title, going 14-8 and posting an ERA of 2.57 in the first year of his five-year, $80 million deal. Since then he’s gone 28-35 with a 5.15 ERA. He never started 30 games or more over the course of the contract.

The declination of the option does come with a nice parting gift for Sanchez: a $5 million buyout. Which is pretty dang high for a buyout, but that’s how the Tigers rolled three or four years ago.