Kevin Gregg was unable to find a taker this offseason and remains unsigned, but 35-year-old right-hander has not retired and in fact told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times that he’s “ready to go” and “just waiting for an opportunity.”
Gregg saved 33 games for the Cubs last season and certainly thinks he could help their bullpen again this year, telling Wittenmyer he’d be willing to sign an incentive-laden contract and start out as a setup man. There are certainly plenty of worse relievers than Gregg with big-league jobs right now, some of them even in high-leverage roles.
However, being critical of the team’s management at the end of last season surely didn’t help his chances of returning to the Cubs this year. Oh, and Gregg also took a shot at people who don’t believe in the supposed aura surrounding the closer role:
A lot of guys think anybody can pitch the ninth–especially sabermetrics guys who come up with a stat for everything. They think everybody can pitch the ninth inning, but, for some reason, those last three outs aren’t the same.
Of course, “sabermetrics guys” would use Gregg’s career as an example of how “those last three outs” are basically the same. He has 177 career saves despite a 4.07 ERA and was repeatedly given closing gigs despite no one ever really thinking he was a closer-caliber pitcher. More so than just about any other pitcher in baseball history Kevin Gregg is what “sabermetrics guys” talk about when they say the closer mystique is overstated.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.