Posted in Baseball

An almost perfect knight

Jon Lester had the postseason experience, but last night our Dark Knight arose to the occasion and was better than the hype.

Matt Harvey flirted with a perfect game into the fifth inning and pitched into the eighth inning, striking out nine while limiting the Cubs to just two runs on four hits. Meanwhile, Lester gave up solo home runs to Daniel Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud among eight hits over 6 2/3 innings en route to his fifth career postseason loss. (At least one baseball columnist suggested that the Cubs might want to stop payment on Lester’s next paycheck.)

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The New York Mets’ 2015 season will have at least four more games, beginning tonight.

Matt Harvey will face Jon Lester in a battle of “supposed to be” aces (let’s face it, Jacob deGrom and Jake Arrieta are their respective teams’ true aces) … which should be pretty fun, assuming every Cubs baserunner (or the lack of Mets baserunners) doesn’t leave me looking for the bottle of antacids.

Let’s go Mets!

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What does the Yankees’ lack of interest in this year’s top free agents mean?

Yankee Stadium (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Yankee Stadium (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

If I were New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, I’d be very happy if everybody got sucked into following the tawdry tabloid saga of Alex Rodriguez this winter. The more “A-Rod is the devil” stories come out, the less time anyone will have to pay attention to the multitude of problems Cashman needs to solve this winter to get the Yankees into the playoffs in 2015.

Right now, the Yankees’ starting rotation depth chart is Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Shane Greene and David Phelps (I guess), with Ivan Nova a possibility sometime later in the season. Cashman has indicated that he’d like to re-sign free agent Brandon McCarthy, who would slot in behind Tanaka and Pineda.

When healthy, Tanaka and Pineda are very talented. But every time Tanaka throws a pitch, you’ve got to wonder if it will be the last before he needs Tommy John surgery and Pineda has started just 13 major league games in the past three years. Sabathia is no longer the ace the Yankees thought they were adding when they signed him and his workload will always have to be carefully monitored due to a knee condition. Anybody care to bet that the three pitchers will each start 30 games next year? I’m not so sure I’d count on the trio combining to start 30 games.

The good news is that this problem should be relatively easy to fix. While their aren’t many quality free agent hitters available this winter, starting pitching is a strength with Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields all on the market.

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Trade deadline day: This had better be Oakland’s year

Jon Lester (Photo credit: Keith Allison)
Jon Lester (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

The Oakland Athletics are certainly making all the moves to build a powerhouse playoff rotation this year, aren’t they?

Not content with picking up Jeff Samardzjia (and Jason Hammel) from the Cubs to go along with Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, Oakland has reportedly sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Lester (and Jonny Gomes.)

I’m pretty sure this will be the biggest “star power” deal of the day, but I agree with Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron that it will have far less of an impact for Oakland than the earlier Samardzjia trade.

Boston got the best possible return they could imagine for Lester, considering he’s a two month rental. And who knows, maybe they aren’t teasing their fan base – maybe they really will re-sign him during the off-season. (We can all be sure Lester won’t be staying in Oakland after October.)

Meanwhile, Baltimore is said to be interested in Bartolo Colon and Washington has reportedly inquired about Daniel Murphy. I expect both will still be Mets after 4 p.m. today, but you never know what might happen.