The time of play was “only” five hours. Tack on a two and a half hour rain delay, however, and it pushed the end of this game to 2:45 AM. By the end of it all there was hardly anyone in the stands,* the Angels announcers were wearing wrestling masks and Daisuke Matsuzaka was taking the loss in his first ever relief appearance, losing it in the 13th inning on a two-run, bases loaded single by Bobby Abreu.
And the best part? These two teams get to turn around and play a day game today. First pitch is 1:35. There is no word if Bud Selig is going to impose a one-game moratorium on the greenies ban. Because really, stuff like this is why they were so popular in the first place.
Know what else used to be popular? A balanced schedule that meant that a west coast team like Anaheim visited Fenway more than once, thereby allowing more opportunities for makeup games. If that were still the case today, they probably would have called last night’s game for rain and made it up later. As it is, they can’t, because the Sox and Angels have no more common off days and the Angels won’t make it back to Fenway. Progress isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
But hey: at least Anaheim fans can get their own wrestling masks soon.
*Some people thought that, during the game, NESN was intentionally avoiding crowd shots which would reveal how empty Fenway Park was. If that is the case — and if anyone was watching, chime in — it’s kind of sad. I know Fenway is a hot ticket and all, but only those who have zero obligations on a Thursday morning or the truly deranged could be expected to stay through all of that nonsense. If NESN was trying to hide that simple fact they probably need a perspective infusion.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.