Bronson Arroyo tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros last night in his final start of the season and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that after the game the veteran right-hander “talked like a guy counting on starting Game 1 of the NLDS”:
It’s going to be in a hostile environment, probably Philly. I’m going to have to be on my A game to beat those guys. I think if you ask anyone we’d rather face anyone but Philly. But whoever comes along we’ve got to beat them.
Fay notes that the Phillies would be a particularly difficult matchup for Arroyo because he struggles against left-handed hitters and their lineup is loaded with potent left-handed bats in Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez, plus switch-hitters Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins.
Arroyo is 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 33 starts overall this season, but that includes holding righties to a .185 batting average and .576 OPS while lefties hit .285 with a .786 OPS. And his career splits are similarly extreme, with a .684 OPS versus righties and an .819 OPS versus lefties.
Perhaps not surprisingly Arroyo is 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA in eight career outings against Philadelphia, although he hasn’t faced the Phillies since 2008.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.
According to an official team announcement, the Nationals have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Pedro Avila.
Norris, 27, batted a career-low .186/.225/.328 in 458 PA with the Padres in 2016. He hit career highs with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases, but his dismal production rate through the second half of the season spelled the end of his time in a starting role in San Diego. Norris’ departure from the Padres also confirms 24-year-old Austin Hedges‘ spot on the roster, as reported by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell:
Heading to San Diego is 19-year-old right-handed starter Pedro Avila, who was acquired by the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. The 19-year-old spent his first season in Single-A Hagerstown and went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 2.42 K/BB rate in 93 innings.