Probably worth noting at this point that the Milwaukee Brewers are unstoppable. They’ve won 19 of 21 games. When this nice little run began in late July they were tied with the Cardinals for first place. Now they lead by seven and are close to putting the NL Central away. They’re 47-15 at home for cryin’ out loud.
With the exception of the Cardinals, against whom Milwaukee is 4-2 during this stretch, the competition hasn’t been stellar. Six games against Houston. Three each against Chicago, L.A. and the fading Pirates. But the Brewers can’t make the schedule and they’re taking care of the business they need to take care of in astonishingly efficient fashion. And hey, the Cards play the same guys, so it’s not as if it’s unfair somehow.
It’s not totally locked up yet — we still have nearly a month and a half of baseball to be played — but it sure seems like the NL Central “race” is about to be a thing of the past.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.