Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and GM John Mozeliak met with Scott Boras over the weekend, and that the team and Matt Holliday are “on the brink of a deal.” Tony La Russa acknowledged that a deal should be done this week, though he did say “At some point you have to go in one direction or the other,” suggesting that if it doesn’t get done very soon, it’s not going to happen at all.
Why? Because basically this is a situation in which the Cardinals are the only real player here. Yes, Boras has tried to create the illusion of competition, but St. Louis is ultimately bidding against itself if it does any significant additional bidding. Mozeliak knows this. Boras does too. As such, what’s likely happening now is not overall deal framework, but creativity around the edges — escalator clauses, vesting options and the like — all designed to allow one side or the other to spin the deal to their respective constituencies as a winner.
At this point, all I’m really interested in knowing is how close to right Jim Bowden was in all of this.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.