Giants’ right-hander Matt Cain has been selected as the fifth and final starter for the club’s 2017 rotation, according to MLB.com’s Chris Haft. The news comes as little surprise, despite the emergence of lefty rotation candidate Ty Blach this spring.
Blach made a convincing case for the No. 5 spot, giving up no more than two runs in all but one of his Cactus League outings and finishing the spring with a 4.22 ERA over 21 1/3 innings in camp. Cain, by comparison, labored through 25 1/3 innings with a 7.82 ERA, striking out 19 batters while allowing 23 runs. Those numbers come on the heels of one of Cain’s more disappointing runs with the Giants; in 2016, the veteran right-hander produced exactly 0.0 fWAR, lasting 89 1/3 innings with a 5.64 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 as he split duties between the rotation and bullpen.
Still, Cain is due $20 million in 2017 as he rounds out a five-year contract extension with the Giants. That, Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle says, is likely a significant factor that helped shape the back end of manager Bruce Bochy’s rotation, though things could change quickly if Cain struggles out of the gate. Blach, meanwhile, will wait in the bullpen, where Bochy estimates he’ll see some long relief opportunities and potential spot starts as the season wears on.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.
Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.
Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.