Ben Sheets was awful again Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays, allowing nine runs while failing to make it out of the fourth inning. Here’s what he said afterward:
My breaking ball is absolutely getting walloped every time I throw it. I wouldn’t say my location has been this bad maybe since my rookie year. I feel good, I feel healthy. To keep leaning on that crutch is kind of getting old. For me, I can’t even get a rhythm of having fun out there. Every pitch I’ve thrown so far this year has been bearing down, worried about my pitch, worried about this, worried about that.
Toronto knocked him around for eight extra-base hits, including three homers, and Sheets now has a 7.12 ERA and abysmal 16/16 K/BB ratio in 30.1 innings overall this season. His velocity is at career-low levels after missing all of 2009 following elbow surgery and Oakland’s one-year gamble looks more and more like $10 million flushed away.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.