It’s about a month and a half too late, but the Cubs added some additional pitching depth on Thursday, picking up Rodrigo Lopez from the Braves for Ryan Buchter.
After failing to make the Braves out of spring training, Lopez, 35, was 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Gwinnett. Pitching for a Diamondbacks team that needed someone to soak up innings, he went 7-16 with a 5.00 ERA last year. He led the NL in losses and in homers allowed with 37, but he did exactly what Arizona needed him to.
The Cubs certainly could have used some of his six-inning and three- or four-run starts with Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner on the shelf the last two months. Their replacement have been terrible: Casey Coleman is 2-4 with a 7.32 ERA in eight starts, and James Russell came out of the pen to go 0-5 with a 9.33 ERA in his five starts. He’s since been replaced by veteran Doug Davis.
Wells is finally back for the Cubs this week, but with Matt Garza down, Lopez figures to go right into the rotation. He’ll battle Davis for the right to stay there after Garza returns.
Buchter, a 24-year-old lefty, had pitched 10 1/3 scoreless innings for Single-A Daytona this season, striking out 17 and walking three. The caveat is that those numbers came after he was demoted from Double-A Tennessee, where had a 6.55 ERA and a 13/11 K/BB ratio in 11 innings. He’s a long shot to have a career as a reliever.
The Yankees’ offense finally woke up, scoring eight runs in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night while the pitching kept the Astros’ offense at bay. That came after scoring a total of two runs against Astros pitching in the first two games. For a recap of the Yankees’ scoring in Game 3, click here.
CC Sabathia wasn’t dominant, but he executed pitches when he needed to most, preventing the Astros from capitalizing on their opportunities. Overall, he gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five on 99 pitches. He’s the first pitcher, age 37 or older, to throw six shutout innings in the postseason since Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2009 NLCS. Monday’s start also marked Sabathia’s first career scoreless outing in the postseason — it was his 22nd postseason appearance.
Astros starter Charlie Morton couldn’t escape the fourth inning, when he allowed a run and loaded the bases before departing. Will Harris allowed all three inherited runners to score on Aaron Judge‘s three-run home run to left field. Morton was ultimately charged with seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen held the fort after the sixth. Adam Warren worked a scoreless seventh. Warren returned in the eighth and retired the side in order, despite yielding a pair of well-struck balls to deep center field.
In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked both hitters he faced to start the frame. Unsurprisingly, manager Joe Girardi had a short leash and brought in Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle gave up a single to Cameron Maybin then struck out George Springer, but walked Alex Bregman to force in a run. Kahnle got Jose Altuve to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game in an 8-1 victory, giving the Yankees their first win of the series.
The ALCS continues on Tuesday at 5 PM ET. The Astros will start Lance McCullers and the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the hill.