Yesterday Cole Hamels was quoted as saying that it was unfair that the Phillies had the early games in the division series:
“In being the defending world champs, I think it’s kind of a little weird that we kind of get both games at 2 o’clock. I don’t think it’s fair. I definitely don’t think it’s fair for the fans because this is all about home-field advantage or just baseball in general. I understand TV ratings, but I think, at the end of the day, most players would rather play when they’re both comfortable, and that’s kind of what we’re trained at, either 1 o’clock or 7 o’clock . . .”
He’s probably right that the Phillies, as champs, are deserving of better slotting, but is this about fairness, as Hamels said, or is it about the fact that, over the course of his career, Hamels is 10-13 with 4.66 ERA in day games vs. 38-21 with a 3.27 ERA at night?
Either way, given what Cliff Lee did yesterday — and given that the Phillies set a record for attendance (and it was a rowdy crowd to boot) — I’m guessing he’s going to just bite his tongue about this going forward. Beat the Rockies today, Cole, and you’re all but assured of nothin’ but night games.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.