A first place team goes into Midwestern town, gets its butt handed to it and leaves town barely clinging on to its division lead. That describes the Braves’ series against the White Sox, but it also describes the Twins and Brewers pretty well too.
The Twins aren’t quite as bad off as Atlanta — they still technically have a lead in their division — but it’s only by a single precious game following their 5-0 drubbing by the Brew Crew. This one was the Yovani Gallardo show, as he shut out the Twins, notching 12 strikeouts and giving up only five hits in the process. The Brewers got their runs behind twin two-run dingers from Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder in the third inning and a Corey Hart RBI single in the fourth.
The Twins have now lost five of their last seven and have the Tigers and the surging White Sox breathing down their necks.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.