If the season ended today, two things would happen: (1) we’d all be really surprised and would demand explanations; and (2) we’d have the Rangers facing the Rays in the ALDS, just like they are tonight.
And we’d likely have tonight’s matchup as well: Cliff Lee vs. David Price, which considering the struggles Tim Lincecum is now going through, tops the Ubaldo Jimenez-Lincecum matchup from last month and stands out as the matchup of the year.
Maybe the most intriguing thing about the matchup is that each starter has had trouble with the opposition. Two of Lee’s first four starts this season came against the Rays, and he lost both of them. Price hasn’t faced the Rangers this season, but he’s 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in three starts against Texas.
Every time I hype up a matchup like this it ends up being a dud. Here’s hoping my luck changes, because there are only eight games tonight, and I really want this one to be good.
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.