How quickly opinions change.
Down 2-0 in the World Series entering this busy sports weekend, some Rangers fans were pushing for the club to start ace left-hander Cliff Lee in Game 4. But that kind of talk mostly took place before Texas won Game 3 and now it appears that manager Ron Washington will stick to his guns.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says that Tommy Hunter will start tonight’s Game 4 in Arlington, Texas and that Lee will be held off until Game 5.
It’s the right move. Lee has never pitched on three days’ rest in the postseason and wasn’t exactly a world-beater in his first 2010 Fall Classic start back in Game 1. The extra day should help and he should dominate on the familiar Texas mound.
Hunter will need to be at his best tonight to accomplish the same goal. He’s made two starts in these playoffs and allowed six runs in 7.1 innings.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.