Jason Motte had never had a two-inning save before the Cardinals asked him to get six outs in a two-run game after Wednesday’s long rain delay. Not only did he do the job, but he made it a breeze, retiring every Giant he faced as St. Louis won 3-1.
In so doing, Motte became just the second different National League reliever to record a two-inning save in the postseason in the last 10 years. Brad Lidge had three of them for the Astros between the 2004 and ’05 NLCSs, all of them against the Cardinals.
Motte was also the first pitcher since Mariano Rivera in the 2005 ALDS to go six up, six down in a postseason save chance. The last NL reliever to do it was Arizona’s Byung-Hyun Kim in the 2001 NLCS against the Braves.
But that’s all gravy. What the Cardinals care about is that Motte needed just 19 pitches to dispose of the Giants in Game 3, meaning he should be fine to go an inning in Game 4 if the need arises.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.