UPDATE: We spoke too soon. Dusty Baker will miss another game because of an irregular heartbeat. Chris Speier will continue to fill in for Baker.
10:30 AM: Good news: Ken Rosenthal reports that Dusty Baker, who has spent the last two days in the hospital due to an irregular heartbeat, is expected to manage the Reds tonight.
The final determination should be made later today, but it sounds like he’ll be leaving Chicago and should be back in Cincinnati tonight for the Reds-Dodgers tilt. Between his return and the Reds clinching last night, I would expect mucho applause.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.