Freddy Garcia

Freddy Garcia is likely to land the Yankees’ fifth starter job

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So far this spring Bartolo Colon has pitched way better than Freddy Garcia has, with the former having a better ERA, allowing fewer hits, striking out more guys and only walking one in 15 innings of work.  But as you so often hear this time of year, spring stats should all but be ignored. The Yankees are ignoring them, George King reports in the New York Post, as they are leaning heavily toward naming Garcia the team’s fifth starter.

What it comes down to for Joe Girardi is health and durability. Yes, Colon looks good now, but he also didn’t pitch last year. The sharpness may be the result of playing winter ball, but maybe he runs out of gas soon after the season starts. Garcia, in contrast, is nothing if not durable.  Not mentioned, but also worth noting, is that Garcia suggested earlier in spring training that he’d not be inclined to be a relief pitcher, so the Yankees making him a starter may allow them to keep both Colon and Garcia, perhaps making Colon a long man.

As I’ve said in the past, championships tend not to be won or lost on the strength of fifth starters. Even in the rare instances where a team does use one guy as the fifth starter all year, that guy tends not to be anything special. The Yankees will likely be fine with Garcia. Or Colon. Or both. Or those two and two other guys splitting starts.

Video: Aledmys Diaz hits a grand slam in remembrance of Jose Fernandez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.

Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”

Here’s the video.

AL East still mathematically undecided as Red Sox lose, Blue Jays win

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.

The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.

Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.