Jim Leyland just did his little meet-and-greet with the media and said that Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit will not pitch in today’s potential elimination game. Or, to quote Leyland:
“I want to try to get through this game with Verlander and Coke”
I presume he means Phil, but for as dicey as this series is getting for the Tigers, who knows?
Seriously, though, he’s just facing facts here. Benoit and Valverde can’t have a thing left in the tank given how much they’ve been used lately. This is Justin Verlander’s game to win or lose. And to that end I put the over/under on how many pitches he throws at approximately three trillion. Really, we might just see his arm fall clean off in this game. And even as it dangles by a tendon, it’s probably the best option Jim Leyland has.
The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.
Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.
On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.
Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: