Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy leads the NL in wins

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I’m not much for pitcher wins, as they involve so many factors beyond how well someone pitched, but with Justin Verlander getting all kinds of attention for reaching 20 victories it’s at least worth noting that the NL wins leader is now Ian Kennedy.

Kennedy picked up his 17th victory with seven innings of one-run ball against the Padres yesterday, lowering his ERA to 3.03 and improving his K/BB ratio to 161/49 in 187 innings.

Kennedy, who was acquired from the Yankees in the massive three-team deal that also saw Curtis Granderson go to New York in December of 2009, has won eight of his last nine starts while the Diamondbacks take control of the NL West.

And while his win total is on the fortunate side his overall performance is no fluke, as Kennedy is a former first-round pick and top-ranked prospect whose career was derailed by injuries. He was plenty good last season with a 3.80 ERA and 168/70 K/BB ratio in 194 innings for Arizona and now he’s emerged as a potential Game 1 playoff starter at age 26.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.