Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera exited his Game 1 appearance after just one batter while in obvious discomfort and manager Ned Yost just announced that he’s been diagnosed with a “slight” flexor strain.
Yost told reporters “he’s fine” but odds are Herrera won’t be pitching again this season. Flexor strains often lead to a more serious diagnosis and sometimes lead to Tommy John surgery. If nothing else the Royals are not going to want to take any chances with the 24-year-old right-hander.
Herrera, who averaged 98.1 miles per hour with his fastball this season, has a 2.56 ERA in 215 career innings and was part of the Royals’ spectacular late-inning bullpen trio with Wade Davis and Greg Holland.
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright just plunked Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig in the shoulder and when Adrian Gonzalez came to the plate next he started jawing with catcher Yadier Molina, at which point both benches cleared.
There’s history dating back to last year’s playoffs, when Joe Kelly broke Hanley Ramirez’s ribs with a pitch. This time didn’t seem obviously intentional, but Gonzalez clearly thought there was something going on. Puig, for his part, wasn’t nearly as upset as Gonzalez.
Warnings have been issued, so if Clayton Kershaw hits anyone he’s at risk for ejection.
Oh, and Puig came around to score on a Ramirez single, tying the game at 1-1.
Here are the lineups for Game 2 of the Royals-Angels series in Anaheim:
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Mike Moustakas
SP Yordano Ventura
Ned Yost sticks with the same lineup he used in Game 1 and in the Wild Card Game. Game 1 hero Mike Moustakas continues to bat ninth and temporary Wild Card Game goat, Yordano Ventura, gets the start after being used (or misused) for a rare relief appearance.
RF Kole Calhoun
CF Mike Trout
1B Albert Pujols
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
3B David Freese
LF Josh Hamilton
DH C.J. Cron
C Chris Iannetta
SP Matt Shoemaker
Mike Scioscia is sticking with the same lineup as Game 1 despite facing a right-hander instead of a left-hander, which means Chris Iannetta over Hank Conger behind the plate and C.J. Cron at designated hitter. Josh Hamilton, who had a rough Game 1 and tweaked his back crashing into the outfield wall, is back in left field and batting seventh. Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker will be seeing his first game action since September 15.
Zack Greinke’s personality rubs some people the wrong way, but I’ve always found him charming and weirdly funny and … well, this is just pretty great:
Greinke is set to start Game 2 against the Cardinals after throwing 202 innings with a 2.71 ERA and 207/43 K/BB ratio during the regular season.
When the Diamondbacks fired Kevin Towers as general manager Tony La Russa talked about possibly keeping him in the organization in a different role, but the team just announced that Towers will be leaving.
La Russa previously fired manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell, and if Towers wants to keep working in a front office he can no doubt find a more comfortable place than somewhere the boss relieved him of GM duties.
Towers’ flaws were frequently on display in recent years, but he’s got a long history in high-profile gigs and has a lot of supporters across baseball. My guess is that he’ll land a special assistant role or something similar, perhaps with an eye on getting another shot at the GM chair somewhere.