A minor programming note to pass along, as Major League Baseball has announced that every World Series game between the Rangers and Cardinals will begin at 8:05 p.m. ET.
This is welcome news in that the scheduling for the World Series last year was mostly hit or miss. We had one 8:20 p.m start due to NFL coverage on FOX, three 7:57 p.m. starts and one 6:57 p.m start.
This still isn’t a perfect set-up, as an afternoon game on a Saturday would be fantastic for fans, but as long as it isn’t 9 p.m. in the second inning, I’ll take it. Though with the way the starting pitching has fared for both teams recently, that might happen, anyway.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.