Not only does Philadelphia have the best record in baseball at 98-58, the Phillies are going to lead MLB in attendance for the first time in team history.
Their final home game was yesterday and it was their 204th straight sellout dating back to 2009. Overall they finished the season with 3,680,718 fans or an average of 45,441 per game.
That puts them slightly ahead of the Yankees with 3,505,511 and 44,942 per game, and as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com notes Yankee Stadium has a much larger seating capacity at 51,000.
In their final season at Veterans Stadium in 2003 the Phillies drew 2.26 million fans. In the eight seasons at Citizens Bank Park they’ve never drawn fewer than 2.66 million fans and their last five seasons are 3.11 million, 3.42 million, 3.60 million, 3.78 million, and 3.68 million.
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.
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.