The Angels’ rotation hasn’t been the force we expected it would be this season, even after the Zack Greinke trade last month, but Jered Weaver has managed to be the exception. Until last night, that is.
Weaver was tagged for a career-high nine runs over just three-plus innings as part of a 12-3 loss to the Rays. He served up a solo homer to B.J. Upton in the first inning and a solo shot to Ben Zobrist in the second before allowing the first seven batters to reach base in the fourth. He was replaced by LaTroy Hawkins, who allowed two inherited runners to score on an RBI single by Upton.
Weaver had a start against the Yankees on May 30 where he left in the first inning with a back injury, but otherwise this was his shortest outing of the season. His ERA jumped from an AL-best 2.22 to 2.74 with the clunker. He was handed just his third loss of the year.
Many have assumed that the Angels would at least get one of the Wild Cards in the American League and that may still happen, but they are far from a sure thing right now. With losses in seven out of their last 10 games, they sit at 62-58 on the year, seven games behind the Rangers in the American League West and 2 1/2 games back for the Wild Card. The team’s starting rotation has a 6.00 ERA this month.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.