What we're watching: Pedro's Philly debut

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– Hopefully, Tuesday’s incident took care of the bad blood between the Tigers and Red Sox, but with noted hothead Josh Beckett on the mound tonight, another flareup is a possibility. Kevin Youkilis, who charged the mound after being hit in a second straight game last night, chose not to appeal his five-game suspension, so he’ll sit tonight. It’s unclear whether the Tigers will regain the services of Miguel Cabrera, who left last night’s game after being hit in the hand by a pitch. Detroit has scratched Armando Galarraga from his scheduled start, so Zach Miner, who pitched in relief Monday, will get the nod.
– While Glen Perkins’ injury helped him out, Francisco Liriano could use a strong outing tonight if he’s going to stay in the Minnesota rotation. The Twins have lost each of his last four starts, during which he’s given up 19 runs — 15 earned — in 21 2/3 innings. He’s faced a difficult schedule over the span (NYY, TEX, LAA and CLE), but he’ll have no such excuse tonight against the Royals.
Game of the Night
Philadelphia vs. Chicago Cubs – Replacing Jamie Moyer in the rotation, Pedro Martinez will make his much-anticipated Phillies debut after striking out 11 and allowed three earned runs in six innings in his final minor league start. That’d be enough for Game of the Night honors on its own, but it will also be interesting to see Jeff Samardzija make his first major league start for the Cubs. He’s struggled as a major league reliever this year, posting a 6.29 ERA and a 13/12 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings. He was 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Iowa.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.