What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s action

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It’s almost the end of September, so everyone’s eyes are on the standings. Wednesday night will feature two games between division rivals: Red Sox/Orioles and Giants/Dodgers.

The Red Sox have taken the first two games of their four-game set against the Orioles at Camden Yards, widening their NL East lead to four games over the Blue Jays and five games over the Orioles, now in third place. Clay Buchholz, who has had a miserable 2016, will make the start tonight against Ubaldo Jimenez at 7:05 PM EDT. Buchholz returned to the rotation earlier this month and two of his three starts since have been solid. Jimenez has had a similar season as Buchholz: struggling, getting demoted to the bullpen, then returning to the rotation in strong fashion. In five starts since getting moved back into the Orioles’ starting rotation, Jimenez has a 3.28 ERA.

Meanwhile, the Giants and Dodgers have split the first two games of their three-game set. Matt Moore will toe the rubber tonight against Kenta Maeda at Dodger Stadium in a 10:10 PM EDT start. The Dodgers hold a five-game lead with 11 games left to play, so it’s a lead that seems safe.

Other games with playoff implications tonight: Braves/Mets, Royals/Indians, Yankees/Rays, Nationals/Marlins, Tigers/Twins, and Pirates/Brewers. Now’s a good time to get MLB.tv if you don’t have it already.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) @ Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jerad Eickhoff), 7:05 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Ryan Weber) @ New York Mets (Bartolo Colon), 7:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Alex Cobb), 7:10 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Robert Stephenson) @ Chicago Cubs (John Lackey), 8:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver) @ Texas Rangers (Derek Holland), 8:05 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Buck Farmer) @ Minnesota Twins (Jose Berrios), 8:10 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke) @ San Diego Padres (Luis Perdomo), 9:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenta Maeda), 10:10 PM EDT

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.