What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s afternoon action

Associated Press

As the season goes on Bill will normally be doing this in the late afternoon to preview that night’s action. A lot of times, however, when there are a ton of day games, I’ll do one of them late in the morning. Today is one of those days with a ton of day games, so let’s check them out too, shall we?

It feels like the Pirates and the Tigers have been playing each other all season, and they tip things off for an early getaway day game at 12:35PM EDT. It’s Jordan Zimmermann, who was great in his first 2016 start, against Gerrit Cole who was not so great in his first start of the season. Despite all of Zimmermann’s time in the NL, he has never beaten the Pirates, though. Only two starts. Stupid unbalanced schedule. Meanwhile, Cole has won six of his last seven decisions against AL teams. He’s 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 11 career interleague starts. One of those wins came against the Tigers, who he has faced twice. Of course head-to-head records like that are sort of meaningless. It’s not 1930 anymore. Teams get new dudes every year.

The rest of Thursday afternoon’s action:

Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole) 12:35 PM EDT, PNC Park;

San Diego Padres (Drew Pomeranz) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Vince Velasquez) 1:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Chicago White Sox (Mat Latos) @ Minnesota Twins (Ervin Santana) 1:10 PM EDT, Target Field

Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) 1:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia) 1:45 PM EDT, Busch Stadium

San Francisco Giants (Matt Cain) @ Colorado Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa) 3:10 PM EDT, Coors Field

Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran) @ Washington Nationals (TBA) 4:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

TBA has never won a big league game, but I like his chances against the Braves.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.