Agent says Ben Sheets plans to pitch in 2010

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At the general manager meetings in Chicago earlier this week Doug Melvin was asked about the status of former Brewers starter Ben Sheets and replied that “no one has heard from” him after a lost year following elbow surgery.
In an effort to clear up Sheets’ status agent Casey Close told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the 31-year-old right-hander is doing “very well” in his rehab and plans to be ready for spring training.
“We have already heard from a number of teams inquiring about Ben’s health and availability for 2010,” Close said. “I will tell you that he has a very good chance to be one of the most impactful free agents, without question.”
When healthy Sheets has long been one of the best starters in baseball, posting an ERA under 4.00 every year from 2004-2008. However, after becoming a free agent last offseason he managed only an incentive-laden two-year offer from the Rangers and then a pre-signing MRI exam revealed a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Clearly teams will need to do some serious homework on Sheets’ health before pursuing him, but in terms of risk versus reward he’d be very attractive on a one-year deal light on guaranteed money and heavy on incentives. Prior to going under the knife Sheets had a 3.09 ERA, 158/47 K/BB ratio, and .241 opponents’ batting average in 2008.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.