With just a handful of games left in the regular season, the Indians have certainly done their part to remain relevant both in the AL Central and Wild Card races. They defeated the White Sox by a score of 3-1 this afternoon, improving to 79-68, 5.5 games behind the division-leading Tigers and one game behind the second Wild Card-leading Rays. It is their seventh victory in their last ten games, picking up three games each on the Tigers and Rays in that span of time.
Starter Danny Salazar didn’t make it through the fourth inning, but recorded nine of his 11 outs via strikeout and did not allow any runs on four hits and two walks. Seven Indians relievers combined to allow just one unearned run over the final five and one-third innings. The offense got to White Sox starter Hector Santiago in the middle innings, scoring once in the fourth on an RBI single by Drew Stubbs, and twice in the fifth on a Ryan Raburn double and a Michael Brantley sacrifice fly.
As of this posting, the Tigers are just getting under way against the Royals, and the Rays will match up against the Twins in an hour. The Indians have become a very interesting team to follow with the regular season nearly complete.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.