Cleveland came into today’s game against Boston with the majors’ best run differential at plus-65, but that number took a beating at Progressive Field as the Red Sox scored 14 runs in the first six innings and coasted to a 14-2 victory.
Mitch Talbot took the brunt of the damage in his first start since April, giving up seven runs in the first inning and eight runs in three innings overall as his ERA rose from 1.46 to 5.87 in 76 pitches.
Boston wasn’t done when Talbot exited after three innings either, knocking around reliever Frank Herrmann for six more runs.
Carl Crawford went 4-for-4 to raise his batting average from .212 to .229, call-up Drew Sutton had three hits starting in place of the injured Kevin Youkilis at third base, and everyone in the Red Sox’s starting lineup had at least two hits except Jed Lowrie, who somehow managed to go 0-for-5 while his teammates went 20-for-40.
Since starting the season 2-10 (including 0-6) the Red Sox have now gone 25-12. They’re four games behind the Indians for the best record in the league.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.