Tony La Russa to overmanage his 5000th game tonight

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Ah, I kid La Russa, because he’s a kidder.  Wait, no he’s not. He’s one of the more humorless managers in recent history. Hmmm, how about I kid Tony La Russa because I’m just not that big a fan.

But even if I’m not a fan I do admire and respect his accomplishments, which will have him in Cooperstown someday.  It’s pretty astounding that he has lasted as long as he has with as much success as he has in a job that just seems designed to chew dudes up and spit them out.  Bobby Cox managed my favorite team and Joe Torre won more rings, but really, I think I’m more impressed with La Russa and his track record than I ever was with Cox or Torre.  La Russa has never wanted for talent or backing, but he never had the kind of luck , money or backing that Cox and Torre in Atlanta and New York, respectively.

Over at the Post-Dispatch today there is a nice story by Bryan Burwell about La Russa and his very long and very successful run in the majors. A good read about a guy who stands a great chance of being the last guy with this kind of staying power in Major League Baseball history.  Almost makes me want to go back up and change that cheapshot headline.

Almost.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.