Well, this should be fun.
Delmon Young won the ALCS MVP after batting .353 (6-for-17) with two home runs, a double and six RBI against the Yankees, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland won’t have the luxury of the DH spot during the World Series in National League parks. However, he’s prepared to sacrifice some defense in order to keep him in the lineup.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Leyland plans to play Young in left field in National League parks. Of course, the Cardinals or Giants will have home field advantage in the World Series since the National League won the All-Star Game back in July, so the Tigers could play as many as four games on the road.
We could see Young removed for a late-inning defensive replacement, but Leyland appears determined to roll with him as a regular. Andy Dirks has started in left field for all nine of the Tigers’ postseason games, but he could share playing time with Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry in right field in National League parks.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.