What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s action

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Call this a crazy, off-the-wall prediction, but I think number 42 is really gonna come up big tonight. Indeed, I guarantee you that number 42 will get the win AND drive in the decisive runs in EVERY SINGLE GAME.

The most notable game where number 42 will play a part, of course, will be the Dodgers-Giants tilt. Notable for the dignitaries present, the history of Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers and the fact that the game will be on national TV, but also notable for the matchup. Once again Madison Bumgarner will face off against Clayton Kershaw. It’s never really become Juan Marichal-Sandy Koufax, but it’s about as good as we have in terms of pitcher/team rivalries these days.

Kershaw is the better pitcher overall, but Bumgarner has had the edge head-to-head. Last time out he held the Dodgers to one run on six hits over six innings while walking one and striking out eight. For his part, Kershaw pitched an eight-inning no-decision but allowed a home run to Bumgarner as the Dodgers won in extra innings. Overall Bumgarner is 4-2 in head-to-head matchups while Kershaw is 2-4, but Kershaw has the lower ERA and WHIP. Bumgarner gets more help and, of course, he helps himself.

The other matchups:

Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis) @ Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks), 2:20 PM EDT, Wrigley Field;

Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke), 7:05 PM EDT, PNC Park;

Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 7:05 PM EDT Yankee Stadium;

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park;

Atlanta Braves (Williams Perez) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT, Marlins Park;

Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field;

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Cleveland Indians (Cody Anderson), 7:10 PM EDT , Progressive Field;

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello), 7:10 PM EDT, Fenway Park;

Baltimore Orioles (Vance Worley) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington;

Detroit Tigers (Mike Pelfrey) @ Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel), 8:10 PM EDT, Minute Maid Park;

Los Angeles Angels (Garrett Richards) @ Minnesota Twins (Tommy Milone), 8:10 PM EDT, Target Field;

Cincinnati Reds (Tim Melville) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez), 8:15 PM EDT, Busch Stadium;

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill), 10:05 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum;

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 10:10 PM EDT, Dodger Stadium;

Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke) @ San Diego Padres (James Shields), 10:40 PM EDT, Petco Park.

Hinch, Luhnow, will be eligible in 2021 even if there are no games in 2020

A.J. Hinch (left) and Jeff Luhnow (right)
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You no doubt recall that former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow were given the one-year bans and were subsequently fired in January due to the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It’s possible, however, that each of them could be back in baseball without having missed a single game.

That’s the report from Buster Olney of ESPN, who has learned that Hinch and Luhnow will become eligible in 2021 even if there are no games played in the 2020 season. The reason: Hinch and Luhnow’s suspensions are tied to “the end of the 2020 postseason.” In contrast, players who are suspended for PED offenses for violations of the league’s domestic violence policies are suspended for a set number of games. Their suspensions will not begin until games begin and, if the number of games in the 2020 season ends up being fewer than the number of games in their suspension, it will carry over to 2021.

It would not shock me a bit if another team hired Hinch at some point down the road. And, despite the league’s finding that Luhnow fostered a “toxic” environment in the Astros’ front office, I would not be at all surprised if he were hired as some sort of advisor down the road and, potentially, found himself running a team again. His tenure in Houston was discovered to be objectively awful from an ethical perspective, but (a) he won; and (b) he cut costs, and those are the two biggest priorities for most teams. Not necessarily in that order.