Despite shot at strikeout record, Brewers scratch Yovani Gallardo

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Brewers pitchers are nine strikeouts away from topping the 2003 Cubs for the most in major league history with 1,404. It’s apparently not something worth striving for, however. They’ve opted to scratch Yovani Gallardo from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Padres.

There’s nothing wrong with Gallardo, the team’s lone 200-strikeout guy. All indications are that the Brewers just figure he’s pitched enough this year and there’s no sense running him out there with nothing to play for.

Gallardo has made 33 starts and thrown 204 innings this year. He threw 207 1/3 innings in the regular season last year and 19 more in the playoffs, so it’s not as though he’d be setting any new precedents by making another start.

With Gallardo out of the mix, the Brewers are expected to go with a bullpen day and use several relievers to get through the finale against San Diego. Perhaps they’ll get the nine strikeouts anyway. They’ve averaged 8.67 strikeouts per game this season.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves