<span class="vcard">Aaron Gleeman</span>

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“Top Chef” goes to Fenway Park, with Dennis Eckersley and Dan Shaughnessy


I’m a big “Top Chef” fan and tonight’s episode will take place at Fenway Park in Boston, with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley as a guest.

Here’s a preview clip, in which Eckersley tells a story about the aftermath of Kirk Gibson taking him deep in the World Series and Padma Lakshmi responds by saying: “You should have played for the Yankees.”

HBT readers with keen eye may also spot Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, of whom we’ve never been particularly big fans. My sincere hope is that Tom Colicchio yells at him about something.

Reds exercise Johnny Cueto’s option for 2015

Johnny Cueto

UPDATE: The Reds have confirmed the report.


In a no-brainer move the Reds have exercised their $10 million option on Johnny Cueto for 2015, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.

Cueto was amazing this season, leading the league in strikeouts (242) and innings (244) while posting a 2.25 ERA and holding opponents to a .192 batting average.

His durability was a pleasant surprise after Cueto topped 200 innings just once in the previous six seasons and was limited to 60 innings last year. He’s posted a sub-3.00 ERA in four consecutive seasons, going 53-25 with a 2.48 ERA in 102 total starts during that time.

He’ll be eligible for free agency next offseason at age 29, leading to some speculation that the Reds may look to trade Cueto if they don’t think signing him to a long-term extension is possible. He’s about 30 healthy starts away from a massive payday.

Report: Joe Maddon and the Cubs “have been in discussions”

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics

As soon as the presumed marriage between Joe Maddon and the Dodgers was shot down by Andrew Friedman–at least for this year–speculation shifted to Maddon and the Cubs.

Now, the Cubs have a manager under contract for 2015 in Rick Renteria, but sure enough Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times reports that Maddon and the Cubs “have been in discussions this week” and “could have an answer by Friday.”

Previous reports had Maddon seeking something in the range of a five-year, $25 million contract and he made it clear that he’d prefer to manage again immediately rather than sitting out a year, so Chicago–with its stocked farm system and analytical front office–is the most obvious landing spot.

97+ mph pitches this season: Royals 2,287, Twins 1

speed limit 100

Parker Hageman of Twins Daily put together a list of how many pitches each team threw this season that clocked in at 97 miles per hour or faster.

He probably did so mostly to depress Twins fans, but it also works as a way to highlight the Royals’ pitching staff:


Kansas City threw 2,287 pitches at least 97 mph. Minnesota threw one pitch at least 97 mph.

(Lester Oliveros threw the Twins’ lone 97+ mph pitch, in September.)

Game 7 odds: Royals are slight favorites over Giants

gambling poster

Based on the betting odds the Royals are seen as a small favorite against the Giants in Game 7 tonight.

Exact lines vary depending on the source, but in general the Royals are around -140 favorites. Which means to win $100 on the Royals you’d need to bet $140 and the break-even win rate for such a bet would be 58 percent.

By comparison, the same Tim Hudson vs. Jeremy Guthrie matchup in Game 3 of the series on October 24 had the Giants as -125 favorites. That game was played in San Francisco, which is obviously one key difference.

My analysis of this series, and the playoffs in general, has basically been that everything is one big coin clip, so I’m of no real use here. I trust Hudson slightly more than I trust Guthrie, but being in Kansas City is a pretty big factor. What say you, HBT’ers?