Cardinals starter Joe Kelly hit 98 MPH with his fourth pitch of the game, striking out Jacoby Ellsbury looking. It might have been a harbinger of things to come. Kelly retired the first nine Red Sox he faced, using a hard, tailing two-seam fastball to induce six ground outs and three strikeouts.
Ellsbury got his team’s first hit when he snuck a grounder past a diving Matt Carpenter into right field to lead off the fourth inning against Kelly. David Ortiz drew a two-out walk, but Daniel Nava struck out to end the inning, failing to capitalize on his team’s first opportunity to get on the board.
Kelly has needed just 51 pitches to get through the first four innings. It’s quite the development as the Red Sox have succeeded throughout the 2013 post-season by taking pitches and driving the opposing starter’s pitch count up early.
Setting their rotation for the beginning of the ALDS versus the Blue Jays, the Rangers announced that right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 and left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 2.
Gallardo posted a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts this season, but averaged just 5.6 innings per start and hasn’t completed six or more innings in a start since mid-August. Clearly the Rangers will be hoping for five or six innings from him before turning it over to the bullpen.
Hamels, on the other hand, averaged seven innings in his 12 post-trade starts for the Rangers, including tossing a complete-game against the Angels in the regular season finale. He’s obviously the Rangers’ best starting pitcher, but because Hamels was needed to clinch the division title in Game 162 he’s not available to start Game 1 of the playoffs.
In the seemingly never-ending trend of front office officials getting new titles, the Cleveland Indians just announced that General Manager Chris Antonetti has been promoted to President of Baseball Operations and Mike Chernoff is now the GM.
Antonetti has been the Tribe’s GM for the past five years and is moving up in the wake of team president Mark Shapiro moving on to Toronto. Shapiro, however, also held business side responsibilities which Antonetti will not assume. Meaning, as before, he will be the top guy on baseball ops decisions, albeit with a grander title.
Chernoff has been an assistant GM for five years and has been with the organization for the past 12 years. As many new GMs these days he will, functionally speaking, still be an assistant when it comes to baseball decisions.