The first two games of the World Series were dominated by pitching, but we’ll likely see something very different as the series moves to Texas for Games 3, 4 and 5.
According to ESPN Park Factors, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was the top run-scoring park and home run park in the majors this season compared to Busch Stadium, which was 25th and 28th in the majors, respectively. With the addition of the designated hitter under American League rules, there will be no easy outs. Also, while temperatures hovered right around 50 degrees in St. Louis, they should be in the mid 70s tonight in Arlington. These two sites couldn’t be much different.
And then we have tonight’s starting pitchers. Matt Harrison and Kyle Lohse. Harrison hasn’t pitched more than five innings in either of his two starts this postseason while Lohse has been terrible, allowing nine runs (eight earned) over 9 2/3 innings. One possible advantage for the Cardinals, Harrison wasn’t nearly as effective with Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate during the regular season (4.39 ERA over 14 starts) as he was with Mike Napoli (2.60 ERA over 17 starts), who will start at first base tonight.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweeted a little earlier that only one World Series in the past 36 years (Braves vs. Indians, 1995) have begun with three straight one-run games. If it happens tonight, my guess is the score will be a lot closer to 10-9 than 2-1.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.