Red Sox trade Manny Delcarmen to Rockies for pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller

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Earlier this week the Rockies were said to be looking for some bullpen help and this afternoon they acquired reliever Manny Delcarmen from the Red Sox for Single-A pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller.
Delcarmen was one of the Red Sox’s best relievers in 2007 and 2008, combining to throw 118 innings with a 2.81 ERA, .197 opponents’ batting average, and 113/45 K/BB ratio, but has a 4.60 ERA and 76/62 K/BB ratio in 104 innings since then and slipped down the bullpen pecking order this season.
His velocity has declined a bit from 2007/2008 while his strikeout rate fell and his walk rate rose, but Delcarmen still has good raw stuff and seems capable of rebounding into a useful setup man in the National League. He’s also under team control for two more seasons as an arbitration eligible player, so the Rockies may have brought Delcarmen in as much for 2011 and 2012 as for this season. They’re currently seven games back in the NL West and 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race.
Chris Balcom-Miller was the Rockies’ sixth-round pick last year and has posted incredible numbers in the low minors so far with a 2.72 ERA, .194 opponents’ batting average, and 177/26 K/BB ratio in 166 innings between rookie-ball and low Single-A. He’s a long way from potentially reaching the majors, but represents a nice haul for a player who had clearly fallen out of favor in Boston.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.