Four games? That’s it? Blimey.
Sox 6, Rays 1: Clay Buchholz continues Boston’s string of nice
starts as the Sox (a) beat the Rays for the first time in five tries;
and (b) move to four games over .500 for the first time all season.
David Ortiz homered for the fifth time in his last nine games.
White Sox 7, Indians 2: John Danks allowed two runs and six hits in five innings for the Sox. Justin Masterson lost his 11th straight start dating back to last August. Cleveland: you may want to go with another plan. Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for second on the all-time hit list for shortstops. I’ll have more on that later this morning.
Blue Jays 6, Angels 0: Brett Cecil allows zippo on two hits in seven and a third as the Jays shut out the Angels. Cecil is 4-1 on the road with a 2.67 ERA. He’s 0-1 at home with a 10.13 ERA at home. Which raises the question: why does Brett Cecil hate Canada?
Reds 7, Pirates 5: Aaron Harang scored from first on an Orlando Cabrera double. That is, 6’7″ 260 pound — officially anyway — Aaron Harang lumbered in from first. Watching the video of it is much improved if you do a bunch of Curly “whoop whoops!” as he’s running. Yeah, that’s kind of Chris Bermany, but it really does work here. The Reds are once again tied for first place.
A real slate of ballgames tonight, thank goodness.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.