OK, so maybe he’s not being punished for talking out of school. Brandon Beachy will get the start for the Braves tonight against the Phillies. Jair Jurrjens has been scratched with a bum knee. It’s Beachy’s big league debut.
I kind of like Beachy, actually. He just turned 24. Between AAA and AA this year he’s 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA, mostly out of the pen. The thing I like the most is that he has struck out 148 dudes in 119 innings while walking only 28.
Still, let the record reflect that in this week’s three-game series, the Phillies will be running out pitchers with 765 starts among them. The Braves will be running out a trio with 59 combined major league starts. Fifty-two of those starts are from the old man of the group, Tommy Hanson. Against the best team in baseball according to some marginal ranking systems.
Let the record also reflect that, once this news was announced a few minutes ago, my Phillies Phriends on Twitter had the same, simultaneous response: oh, god, the last thing the Phillies need is to face some rookie we’ve never seen before. Dash Treyhorn’s response may have had a bit of hyperbole to it, but I sense real dread: “The Phils would have a better shot against King Felix than a rookie making his MLB debut.”
Such anxiety for a fan base that should have very little of it these days. Further evidence of it was on display when, after ranking Philly first in today’s Power Rankings, the primary response was “you tryin’ to jinx us?” This from people who get really angry whenever I call Philly fans insecure.
But hey: no pressure. The champion-presumptive of Major League Baseball is going nuclear by throwing its three best starters against a faltering team who are throwing out a trio of starters who probably have shaved six times combined.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.