After playing hero in Game 3 of the ALDS on Wednesday night, Raul Ibanez is being a thorn in the Orioles’ side again today.
Thanks to an RBI single by Ibanez in the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees have jumped out to a 1-0 lead over the Orioles in Game 5.
Mark Teixeira singled to lead off to the bottom of the fifth inning for the first hit of the day off Jason Hammel. After realizing that he wasn’t being held on by Mark Reynolds at first base, Teixeira then successfully stole second base, bum calf and all. Ibanez followed with a slow roller through the middle to bring him around to score. The interesting part is that if Teixeira was held on, the Ibanez grounder likely would have resulted in a double-play.
Sabathia is looking pretty tough thus far, holding the Orioles to just one hit and a walk while striking out four. If he’s at the top of his game, one run might be enough.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.