Tigers ace Justin Verlander gave up five runs in four innings against the Giants in Game 1 of the World Series.
That’s as many runs as probable Game 4 starter Max Scherzer has allowed in his last four starts combined. The last time Scherzer allowed five runs in a start was July 30. Including his two postseason outings, he’s 9-2 with a 2.49 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.
No, none of that makes Scherzer a better pitcher than Verlander. But he’s pretty obviously a better bet on long rest than Verlander would be on three days’ rest in Sunday’s Game 4.
Tigers pitching has been just fine so far. In fact, aside from Verlander and Jose Valverde in Game 1, it’s been great. The team simply needs to score some runs. If Detroit is going to come back from a 3-0 deficit, it has a much better chance of happening with Scherzer, Verlander, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez all going on normal or extra rest these next four games than it would with Verlander on short rest, Scherzer and Fister the next two games and then Verlander on short rest again.
So, please, no more Verlander talk. Not until Game 5 anyway.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.