Rafael Betancourt is expected to come off the disabled list Friday and Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com reports that he’ll slide right back into the Rockies’ closer role despite fill-in Rex Brothers doing a fantastic job.
Betancourt has missed the past month with a groin injury, during which time Brothers has thrown 8.2 shutout innings while converting all three of his save chances. And overall this season Brothers has a 0.28 ERA (yes, zero-point-two-eight) in 32.1 innings.
It’s a nice problem to have, of course, and Betancourt has quietly been one of the best closers in baseball since taking over the job full time last season, saving 42 games with a 2.91 ERA and 79/21 K/BB ratio in 77 innings despite calling Coors Field home.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.