Clay Buchholz had his longest outing since coming off the disabled list while David Ortiz joined some special company as the Red Sox hammered the Orioles 12-3 last night at Camden Yards. In doing so, John Farrell’s club is one step closer to clinching the best record in the American League.
While Buchholz didn’t have his best stuff, he held the Orioles to three runs over seven innings. He threw 113 pitches in the victory, his second-highest total of the season. He’ll finish the regular season at 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA over 16 starts. With his neck and shoulder issues in the past, the Red Sox have to feel pretty good about him going into the postseason.
David Ortiz, Daniel Nava, and Jonny Gomes all homered in the victory. For Ortiz, he now has his seventh career 30-homer, 100-RBI season. That ties him with Ted Williams for the club record.
With a 97-63 record, the Red Sox have at least clinched a tie for the best record in the AL. The Athletics currently sit at 95-65 with two games to go.
Your Friday box scores:
Red Sox 12, Orioles 3
Pirates 4, Reds 1
Brewers 4, Mets 2
Rays 3, Blue Jays 6
Tigers 2, Marlins 3
Angels 3, Rangers 5
Royals 6, White Sox 1
Phillies 0, Braves 1
Indians 12, Twins 6
Cubs 0, Cardinals 7
Yankees 3, Astros 2
Nationals 8, Diamondbacks 4
Athletics 8, Mariners 2
Rockies 0, Dodgers 11
Padres 3, Giants 7
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.