Without the injured Mike Trout at the top of the lineup, the Angels got nothing going offensively Sunday and took a 2-0 loss to the Rays in Zack Greinke’s debut.
Greinke, who was acquired from the Brewers on Friday, was strong in striking out eight over seven innings, but Jeremy Hellickson was better, blanking the Angels on two hits over six innings. Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney — the last two former Angels — finished the Rays’ second shutout in two days.
The loss was Greinke’s first in a home start since July 31, 2010, when he was still a member of the Royals. He went 15-0 during his 23 starts at Miller Park as a member of the Brewers.
Greinke allowed both Rays runs after pitching scoreless ball for five innings. The Rays led off the sixth and seventh innings with doubles and scored one run each time. The second run came on a wild pitch.
Greinke has now gone six straight starts without a win. He’ll miss the four-game showdown in Texas this week and make his next start against the White Sox on Friday. That could work out for him; he had his best start of the year against the White Sox in interleague play, pitching nine scoreless innings back on June 22.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.