The forecast isn’t exactly dire — most of the people down in Texas think the game will be played even if it’s delayed a bit — but there’s probably going to be rain tonight for Game 6 of the ALCS. My last check of Weather.com had it as a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms.
But even if the chance of a postponement is remote, I am trying to think of what I’d do if I was Ron Washington and there was a postponement. Let’s just call it a mental exercise: would I pitch Cliff Lee in a Saturday Game 6, going with my best shot at victory first, or would I stick with Colby Lewis, comforted by the knowledge that I had Cliff Lee in my back pocket for Game 7 on Sunday? Oh, and making sure that, if we did win, I’d have Lee available for Games 1, 4 and maybe even Game 7 of the World Series?
One of my favorite Leo Durocher quotes is “you don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” But what if it rains today?
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.