There’s speculation that the Red Sox may still trade for a veteran starting pitcher solely to have him pitch what could be a win-or-go-home game Wednesday, but barring that manager Terry Francona announced Jon Lester will start Game 162 on short rest.
Not only would Lester be pitching with just three days off between starts, he’d be doing so after coughing up eight runs in 2.2 innings against the Yankees on Saturday. He hasn’t thrown a Quality Start since shutting out the Blue Jays for seven innings on September 11, allowing 16 runs in 13.2 innings over three outings.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.