After a week off I have no idea what in the hell is going on. Some dude tried to convince me on Twitter last night that Texas A&M has petitioned to join the AL Central and I’m inclined to believe him. That’s what happens when you get in the car with the kids, drive 450 miles, plop in front of a gorgeous expanse of clean blue water and just turn your brain off for a week.
Usually the Weekend Wrap feature catches me up to date after a couple days off, but there’s no hope for me catching up from the whole vacation. But heck, two or three days is better than nothing, so let’s give it a whirl:
- Carlos Zambrano went crazy, quit on his team and is now in deep with management. This is not a repeat from, like, every year for the past decade.
- CC Sabathia gave up a bunch of homers on Friday night too, and all he’s going to do is shake it off, pitch better next time, remain a good teammate and collect millions and millions of more dollars. What’s so hard about that again?
- Rest in Peace Ernie Johnson.
- Rest in Peace Cole Hamels’ Arm.
- Bryce Harper may be emotionally immature, but boy howdy is he OK physically.
- This is just begging for one of those body-switch movies a la “18 Again” or whatever that thing is in which Jason Bateman is currently debasing himself.
- The Diamondbacks have a machine that prints up tomato can corner infielders.
- “Is Mr. Torre gone?” “Yes, Scott. He’s gone. He can’t hurt you anymore.” “OK then. I’ll sign.”
- I know a lot of good people who are out of work. And then I read something like this.
- Someone should introduce Freddy Garcia to carry out food.
- The Logan Morrison demotion is rather interesting. Especially given that everyone involved is talkin’ about it.
- Your team’s fans suck.
- Dan Uggla’s hitting streak is over. In other news, hitting streaks are kinda overrated. For example, Ted Williams hit better than Joe DiMaggio did over the course of the latter’s 56-game streak. Splinter just bunched his together more erratically. So what? Makes me wish that Uggla hit in 57 games so we could all finally admit that such things are more curios and coincidences than actual badges of greatness. DiMaggio was great for a lot of stuff. 56 straight games with a hit is pretty minor on the merits.
And we now return you to your regularly-scheduled obsessive blogging.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.