Padres pick Jon Garland as Opening Day starter

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Bud Black announced that Jon Garland will the Padres’ Opening Day starter, with Chris Young and Kevin Correia following him in the rotation.
“We just feel pretty good about these three guys,” Black told Corey Brock of MLB.com while refusing to name the Padres’ fourth and fifth starters. Clayton Richard and Matt Latos are expected to claim the final two spots in the rotation.
Garland getting the Opening Day nod is surprising because he’s never started Game 1 before in nine previous seasons and just signed with the Padres as a free agent in January, whereas Young has been the team’s best non-Jake Peavy starter for most of the past four seasons and Correia had twice as many wins as anyone else on the pitching staff last year.
Garland has a 6.37 ERA in four starts this spring after going 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA and 109/61 K/BB ratio in 33 starts split between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers last season.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.