Good night, Jose Valverde. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Mostly for opposing hitters:
This was inevitable. Valverde appeared in 20 games this season. His ERA is sitting at 5.59. He’s got nine saves but three blown saves and two day ago he was lit up like a pinball machine while doing mopup duty in a loss to the Orioles. Jim Leyland had clearly lost confidence in him. Heck, he only turned to him in the first place out of desperation.
It’s hard to see anyone wanting to take a chance on Papa Grande at this point. My guess is that he’ll be released outright by the Tigers in a few days and, at best, get a minor league deal from someone desperate for a live arm. A live arm which throws laser-straight fastballs and walks dudes at the worst possible time.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.