Atlanta has been linked to various left-handed relievers leading up to the trade deadline and the Braves finally got their man, acquiring Scott Downs from the Angels for minor leaguer Cory Rasmus.
Downs has long been one of the best lefty relievers in baseball, posting a 2.27 ERA in 422 appearances since 2007, and the 37-year-old impending free agent has a 1.84 ERA in 29 innings this season. He’ll slide into a setup role in front of closer Craig Kimbrel.
Rasmus was a first-round pick in 2006, but has thrown just seven career innings in the majors at age 25. He has fantastic numbers at Triple-A this season with a 1.72 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 37 innings, but has also walked 5.4 batters per nine innings and projects as a middle reliever if his control remains an issue.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.