Rangers 5, Rays 1: Cliff Lee was ridiculous again, striking out 11, walking no one and topping it all off by rescuing those Chilean miners (note: I had a few last night so I may have this mixed up). It’s why the Rangers got him. It’s why everyone else covets him. It just blows my mind that he’s played on four teams in the course of two seasons. Yeah, I know there were reasons for him being moved each time he was moved, but if he was my pitcher I would hide him someplace and only allowe him to show himself for opposition domination purposes. Then he has to go back into safe keeping.
A nice season for the Rays ends badly. At times — especially early in the season — they played like the best team in baseball. At other times — middle of the summer; this series — they looked like a good but not great team. The dominant narrative of their winter will be the inevitable departure of Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford. I think they’ll survive those losses, but most people will cry doom. And then, once again, the Rays will surprise everyone.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.