Will the Dodgers acquire an ace?

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Dodgers starters had a 5.30 ERA over
eight starts during the playoffs, and were ousted from the NLCS after a
miserable performance by late-season acquisition Vicente Padilla in
Game 5. Relying on pitchers like Padilla and a rusty Hiroki Kuroda only
underscored their need for a legitimate ace pitcher this winter. But
just because general manager Ned Colletti is aware of it, don’t expect it to happen.


“There’s not a long list of guys where you would say, this guy would
make a dramatic difference,” Colletti said of the upcoming crop of
free-agent starters. “It’s a thin market. There are pitchers who would
make us better. But tremendously better?

“Every club needs an ace and we’re not unlike any club. We
might have one or two in the making [referring to Clayton Kershaw and
Chad Billingsley]. But the likelihood of an ace becoming available by
trade is very slim. And this [free-agent] class doesn’t have that type
of allure to it.

Pssst, Ned, let me introduce you to
this guy named Roy Halladay. I know he’s from Canada and all, but he
did start the All-Star game for the American League this year. Rest
assured, Colletti is using his best poker face here, as he should at
this juncture, but he has all the necessary pieces to get a deal done
tomorrow. Whether he has the sense of urgency remains to be seen.
Consecutive losses in the NLCS should be enough.


Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.