Quite the dispiriting opening to today’s Pirates-Rockies doubleheader. At least if you’re the Pirates or one of their fans.
Bucs’ starter James McDonald allowed only one hit in seven innings — the first hit coming in the seventh — and struck out eight and ended up allowing only one run. Despite this, the Pirates lost 2-1 and McDonald got a no-decision.
Not that McDonald was totally screwed by his teammates or anything. He allowed the leadoff walk to Carlos Gonzalez in the seventh and then threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners and led to the Rockies’ first run of the game. But still: it’s not like he had any margin for error. The Pirates got a Pedro Alvarez homer and that’s all.
McDonald now has a 2.78 ERA for the season, but has yet to win a game. Tough stuff.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.