In the least shocking bit of news you’ll hear this week, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will send ace Adam Wainwright to the mound to start Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.
Wainwright has been nothing short of excellent for the Cardinals, dating all the way back to 2006. In 55.2 innings of work in the playoffs, Waino has a 2.10 ERA with 62 strikeouts and seven walks. During the 2013 post-season, he has gone at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs in all three starts.
While it would have been fun to see, there was no chance that 22-year-old phenom Michael Wacha would have gotten the nod in Game 1 despite being the Cardinals’ best pitcher throughout the 2013 playoffs, statistically speaking. In 21 innings over three starts, Wacha has a 0.43 ERA with 22 strikeouts and four walks.
The Red Sox have not announced their Game 1 starter yet, but it is expected to be lefty Jon Lester, who started Game 1 both in the ALDS against the Rays and in the ALCS against the Tigers.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.