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.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.