Blame Theo Watch: Jon Morosi piles on

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Once was interesting. Twice was eyebrow raising. But the third “Blame Theo” article in a little over 24 hours means we have a full-fledged phenomenon on our hands.  The lastest: Jon Paul Morosi from Fox, who says “Epstein, for all his skills as a general manager, failed to accumulate the pitching depth required to win the American League East.” He goes on:

Epstein has been on the job for nearly a decade, and yet Lester is the only homegrown pitcher to have a 200-inning season for the Red Sox in that span. For an organization of these resources and smahhhts, there’s no way that should be the case.

He ends by noting that the Rays have all kinds of pitching depth and that that’s what separates them from the Sox. At least he does note that, for now anyway, the Sox are still two games up on the Rays.

Look, I’m not going to say Epstein is perfect, but dear lord, I can’t recall a single instance where the general manager has been held so pointedly responsible for an otherwise well-constructed team suffering a boatload of injuries and sub-par performances from people who were not at all expected to have sub-par performances.

Especially before it becomes clear that the team’s failings, whatever the cause, have cost them anything of consequence.

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.