You wouldn’t think the Reds would need more bullpen help, what with Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall leading a relief corps that has the best ERA in baseball, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Cincinnati has acquired Jonathan Broxton from Kansas City for minor leaguers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran.
Broxton signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals this offseason and took over as closer following Joakim Soria’s elbow injury. He’s saved 23 games with a 2.27 ERA, although his 25/14 K/BB ratio in 36 innings is sub par and well below the dominant numbers he once posted for the Dodgers.
Broxton gives the Reds a hard-throwing, late-inning bullpen option from the right side to go along with Chapman and Marshall from the left side. And the Reds now have seven relievers on the roster who’ve thrown at least 35 innings with a sub-3.50 ERA.
Joseph was the Reds’ third-round pick in 2009 and the 24-year-old left-hander has racked up 279 strikeouts in 208 innings as a minor leaguer to go along with a 3.50 ERA, reaching Triple-A this season. Sulbaran was their 30th rounder in 2008 and the left-hander has posted good strikeout rates with sketchy control as a starter, spending this season at Double-A as a 22-year-old. Neither is a top-ranked prospect, but the Royals did well to get them for a two-month bullpen rental.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.