Earlier this week Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com wrote that the Angels were likely to decline their 2013 options on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana while focusing on re-signing Zack Greinke to a huge long-term deal.
Gonzalez cited “a source familiar with the team’s thinking” and … well, Haren thinks whoever that source is has “dumb timing” and “stupid timing.”
Here’s more, via Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN Los Angeles:
Whatever source familiar with the Angels’ thinking said it, I think it was probably dumb timing for them to say something. We have 10 days left, two weeks left. I think the last thing myself or Ervin are thinking about is our status for next year. We’re focused on the task at hand. I thought it was really stupid timing for something like that to come out.
He’s right, of course, although it’s important to note that “a source familiar with the team’s thinking” doesn’t necessarily mean someone in the Angels organization and in fact the phrasing actually suggests the person isn’t in the Angels organization. In which case they probably don’t care about the timing and what impact it could have on the Angels’ playoff chances.
Haren also made it clear that he wants to remain with the Angels beyond this season, saying “of course I want to come back” and “of course I want to stay.” He went on to say that he understands how the team may have lost confidence in him this season, but cited his strong track record and added: “If I don’t come back, I’ll go somewhere else and help that team out.”
Based on that track record choosing his $15.5 million option instead of a $3.5 million buyout would be a no-brainer, but based on the 32-year-old’s 4.32 ERA and back problems this season the decision on Haren is much tougher.
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.