Author: Bill Baer

James Shields
AP Photo

Padres decide to skip James Shields’ final start


Per the Padres’ official Twitter, interim manager Pat Murphy has announced that James Shields won’t make his final start of the 2015 season on Sunday. The Padres, 74-85 entering Friday’s action, have nothing left to play for so there’s no reason to risk an injury, however small.

Shields, 33, signed a four-year, $75 million deal with the Padres in February. He finished with a 3.91 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP and a 216/81 K/BB ratio over 202 1/3 innings.

The Padres will use their bullpen to get through Sunday’s season finale in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

Jake Arrieta sets MLB record with 0.75 second-half ERA

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta finished out the regular season with six shutout innings against the Brewers, extending his scoreless innings streak to 22. He scattered two hits while walking none and striking out seven, leaving with a 5-0 lead. It’s his 20th consecutive quality start.

As STATS notes on Twitter, Arrieta’s 0.75 post-All-Star break ERA is an MLB record. His 1.77 overall ERA is the lowest by a Cubs starter since 1919, the Dead Ball Era. Along with the 1.77 ERA, Arrieta is likely to push his major league-leading wins total to 22 and he has a 236/48 K/BB ratio in 229 innings.

Zack Greinke, Arrieta’s competitor for the NL Cy Young Award, starts Saturday night for the Dodgers. Greinke is 18-3 with a major league-best 1.68 ERA and a 192/39 K/BB ratio over 214 2/3 innings.

Video: Watch Kris Bryant lip sync a song from Frozen

Kris Bryant
AP Photo

As part of a hazing ritual, Cubs players were made to dress up as “pretty princesses”, which included third baseman and NL Rookie of the Year candidate Kris Bryant dressing up as Elsa from the animated movie Frozen.

Bryant’s girlfriend Jessica Delp posted a video, which she says had been taken prior to the clubhouse dress-up, in which she and Bryant lip-sync the song “Love Is An Open Door” from the movie.

Someone should sign him up for Spike’s Lip Sync Battle.

ASU Sorority asks the Diamondbacks and FOX Sports to donate to a domestic violence charity

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On Wednesday, the broadcast team on FOX Sports Arizona made fun of the members of a sorority group, who were busy taking selfies during the Diamondbacks’ game against the Rockies. The women were roundly made fun of on social media.

While the women could have rightly taken offense to most of the criticism being levied, they used the opportunity to give back to a good cause. They were offered free tickets to Friday night’s game between the Diamondbacks and Astros. However, on Facebook, they turned the tickets down and instead urged the Diamondbacks and FOX Sports to give those tickets to families at A New Leaf, a charity that supports victims of domestic violence. They also urged readers to donate to A New Leaf, as October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Kudos to the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at Arizona State University for handling this situation with aplomb. Would that the same could be said for baseball commentators and fans.

Chris Sale sets new White Sox single-season record with 270th strikeout

Chris Sale
AP Photo

With a second-inning strikeout of James McCann, White Sox starter Chris Sale set a new single-season strikeout record for the White Sox at 270. The record was previously held by Ed Walsh, who struck out 269 in 1908. Walsh needed 464 innings as opposed to Sale’s 203.

Prior to the strikeout, Sale allowed a solo home run to Jefry Marte. It’s the 23rd homer the lefty has allowed, tying a career-high. Sale entered the start carrying a career-high 3.48 ERA after finishing at 2.17 last season.