Ron Roenicke: Interleague play is unfair

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The Brewers look to be in a dogfight with the Cardinals in the NL Central all year. It’s hard enough to compete with the Cardinals, however, without being saddled with a tougher schedule. But a tougher schedule is what Milwaukee has, thanks to an interleague slate that includes trips to Boston and New York, a series against the Rays, and two series against the Twins for Milwaukee, while the Cardinals face Kansas City, Toronto and Baltimore.

In light of this imbalance, I have a hard time disagreeing with a thing Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said yesterday when asked about interleague play:

“It’s not fair. Interleague play is not fair. That’s all there is to it. I like interleague play. I think it’s really good. It’s good for the fans; I enjoy it as a coach and manager. I think the players enjoy playing different teams. So we all like it. The question is how in the world do we make this thing fair for everybody? That’s really difficult because of the different teams you have in different divisions. How do you divide those things up fairly for everybody? How do you do that?”

It’s probably too crazy to expect baseball to go back to purely balanced schedules given the gate and TV ratings brought by divisional rival games like the Yankees and the Red Sox. Such a state of affairs already means that teams competing for the wild card in different divisions have different schedules.  But compounding matters with schedules of radically different difficulty between teams competing for the same division is simply unacceptable, and Ron Roenicke has every right to complain about it.

 

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.