Jordan Zimmermann strikes out the side in seventh inning to keep score tied vs. Cardinals

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Jordan Zimmermann was knocked around for five runs over three innings back in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals on Monday, but he was called on for the first relief appearance of his major league career in Game 4 this afternoon. And he was at the top of his game.

Zimmermann struck out the side to keep the score tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. He got Pete Kozma and Kyle Lohse swinging and Jon Jay looking to complete his perfect frame. The Kozma strikeout was on a 97 mph heater.

Facing elimination, Ross Detwiler came up huge for the Nationals today, allowing one run on three hits and three walks over six innings while striking out two. Loshe has allowed just two hits and hasn’t walked a batter for the Cardinals. His only mistake was a solo homer by Adam LaRoche in the second inning. Looks like we’re headed for some more late-inning postseason drama.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.