C.J. Wilson was up in the bullpen during the seventh inning, but Ron Washington is putting Cliff Lee back out there in the bottom of the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead.
Lee has allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings so far tonight, striking out nine and walking none. He has thrown 74 out of 100 pitches for strikes.
The left-hander has established an ALDS record by notching 19 strikeouts over his two starts during the series. The previous record was 16 by Randy Johnson (1995, 1997) and Mike Mussina (1997).
The strikeouts are just dandy, but Lee hasn’t done the Rays any favors during this series. He hasn’t walked a batter in his 14 innings of work.
Lee is slated to face Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist and Carl Crawford in the bottom of the eighth. Bartlett is 3-for-3 with a double on the night. Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day are up in the bullpen should he run into any trouble.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.