Mike Scioscia gives Ernesto Frieri a vote of confidence

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Ernesto Frieri’s 2014 season continued to be a nightmare with Saturday night’s appearance against the Braves. Staked to a 5-1 lead at the start of the ninth inning, Frieri allowed four runs on three singles, a triple, and a ground-rule double before he was yanked from the ballgame. The outing bumped Frieri’s ERA up to 5.46.

Frieri was demoted from the closer’s role towards the end of April, but returned to closing duty after a successful string of appearances in non-save situations in May. It would seem Frieri is once again in danger of losing his job, but manager Mike Scioscia gave Frieri a vote of confidence, saying is no change in how he’s handling the bullpen, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Frieri has allowed runs in two out of his last five appearances. Overall, along with the ugly ERA, Frieri has an 0-3 record with two blown saves and a 36/7 K/BB ratio in 28 innings.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves