Entering a 1-0 game with one on and two outs in the eighth, Kerry Wood walked three straight batters to tie up Thursday’s matinee between the Cubs and Nationals.
It wasn’t a case of Wood completely losing the strike zone, but he did keep just missing after getting to two strikes on both Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth. Werth’s walk with the bases loaded proved to be the equalizer, denying Ryan Dempster a chance at a victory after a strong outing.
The Cubs have themselves pretty good rotation depth and a lineup without any huge holes, but the bullpen could be a disaster. Closer Carlos Marmol was a mess last year and he gave up seven runs in 8 1/3 innings this spring. Wood is bound to get hurt at some point. Right now, their other four relievers are James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp (who failed to make the Mariners this spring) and Lendy Castillo (a Rule 5 pick from the Phillies who has only been pitching for two years). It’s easy to envision them losing a lot of games late this year.
Update: Marmol ended up taking the loss in this one, though incredibly enough, no walks were involved. With two outs in the ninth, Marmol gave up a shot to right that David DeJesus got all turned around on, resulting in a double for Chad Tracy. Ian Desmond went on to single him in, giving the Nats a 2-1 lead they were able to hold on to (barely) in the bottom of the ninth.
Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.
It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with MLB.com’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.