Rafael Dolis’ reign as Cubs closer was short and ugly, and today the 24-year-old rookie was demoted back to the minors after being stripped of ninth-inning duties.
Dolis’ departure coincides with Carlos Marmol’s sooner-than-expected return from a hamstring injury, as the Cubs deemed him ready to come off the DL after he tossed back-to-back scoreless innings on a rehab assignment at Triple-A.
In a dozen appearances since taking over for Marmol at the beginning of this month Dolis blew two of his five save chances while posting a 7.71 ERA in 11.2 innings, walking nine batters.
Chicago has so few save opportunities to go around that officially naming a closer isn’t exactly a top priority for manager Dale Sveum, but he indicated that James Russell will get first crack at the gig with Shawn Camp looming as another option. Of course, that was before Marmol returned from the DL and while he’ll start off in a middle relief role it’s not hard to see the Cubs turning back to him as closer.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.