Props to ESPN: Red Sox-Tigers tilt to be shown tonight

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When the Tigers opted to schedule a split-doubleheader with the Red Sox on Sunday following Saturday’s rainout, they left the second game to fall under MLB’s blackout rules.  ESPN has exclusive coverage of Sunday night games, and since they were showing Atlanta-Cincinnati, no one was going to get to see what figured to be a pretty outstanding Josh Beckett-Justin Verlander matchup.

ESPN, though, has given both FOX Sports Detroit and NESN permission to air the game.  We imagine there was some cash involved in the deal, but who cares?  ESPN deserves plenty of credit for giving fans the choice to switch broadcasts tonight.

The Phillies are considering making a play for Jake Arrieta

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Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies are considering free agent starter Jake Arrieta.

That may seem kind of weird on the surface given that the Phillies, as Heyman notes, are considered to be at least a year from contention. Thing is, though, we really never know for sure when a team will definitely be in contention, do we? We’ve seen a handful of teams’ rebuilding efforts bear competitive fruit ahead of schedule in recent years, including the current World Series champion Houston Astros. They made the dang playoffs a year after losing 92 games, when everyone thought their true competitive window was several years away. Arrieta’s Cubs were much the same way, improving by 24 wins in 2015 to make the playoffs, in large part because of . . . acquiring Jake Arrieta.

Whether Arrieta, who is coming off of a 14-10, 3.53 ERA season, would be interested in the Phillies is unknown, but if I’m a Phillies fan, I’m happy that my club is being aggressive and is at least considering it.