Last night featured round one of what should be a compelling NL East battle between the Braves and Nationals. While the Nationals had the early advantage behind an excellent effort from Ross Detwiler, the Braves came roaring back in the late innings for an eventual 6-4 win in 10 innings.
After scoring one run in the seventh and eighth innings, the Braves evened things up in the ninth against Drew Storen, who was being asked to close with Rafael Soriano unavailable. The big blow of the inning was a wild throw by Ryan Zimmerman which sailed past second base and allowed two runs to score. The Braves pulled ahead in the 10th inning with a two-run homer by utility infielder Ramiro Pena. How’s that for unlikely heroes?
The Braves have now won seven straight games and currently own the best record in the majors at 9-1. Stephen Strasburg will try to get the Nationals back in the win column this afternoon while Tim Hudson is on the mound for Atlanta.
Your Friday box scores:
Giants 3, Cubs 4
White Sox 0, Indians 1
Reds 5, Pirates 6
Orioles 2, Yankees 5
Phillies 3, Marlins 1 (10 innings)
Blue Jays 8, Royals 4
Brewers 0, Cardinals 2
Astros 5, Angels 0
Dodgers 0, Diamondbacks 3
Tigers 3, Athletics 4 (12 innings)
Rockies 7, Padres 5
Mets 16, Twins 5
Rangers 1, Mariners 3
Rays/Red Sox – postponed
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.