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Good morning baseball fans!
The Nationals scratched Stephen Strasburg from his start on Monday night against the Dodgers because of an upper back strain.
Boston needs starting pitching help, and they are asking about Gerrit Cole and Jose Fernandez.
A look at the numbers would suggest that the Cardinals should shake up the bullpen.
If the Cardinals weren’t sweating every single game in pursuit of a Wild Card berth or if they didn’t have a viable alternative, you might be tempted to let him figure this out all on his own, or maybe just give him a few days off from the close’s role. But the Cardinals are sweating every game, and they do have a viable alternative in the person of Seung Oh. Oh has not yet been trusted in the extreme pressure situations for as long as Rosenthal has been: the average leverage index when he’s entered games this year (gmLI) is just 0.95 — and just 1.05 over the last 30 days. But in the last 14 days, that has ramped up. His gmLI during that stretch is 1.47. Oh has been more than up to the challenge in this time, and really has been all season.
The Cardinals have lost their last five games, and make no mistake, there is plenty of blame to go around. They’ve only scored 10 runs in those five games, and it’s hard to win when you’re averaging two runs per game. But that doesn’t mean the team should ignore what’s going on with their closer. Trevor Rosenthal has been at the head of a middling bullpen, and his failure on all fronts this season should lead Mike Matheny to make a change, at least until Rosenthal can figure out how to make hitters swing at his pitches again.
The Red Sox out righted Rusney Castillo to Triple-A.
Jon Jay is drawing interest from Blue Jays, Red Sox and the Royals.
Chicago placed Dexter Fowler on the disabled list.
A reunion between Carl Crawford and the Rays is possible.
Miami is also another team that is exploring the pitching market, with Jake Odorizzi being one name they are interested it.
Here is a roundup of news from around the American League Central.
Ricky Nolasco has struggled since he joined the Twins.
As frustrating as it may be for Nolasco to have a poor defense behind him, it's unlikely that they make up the entire difference. It is kind of difficult to find other reasons for the decline, though. Batters are pulling his pitches at a really high rate, but they've really always done that. His plate discipline numbers haven't really changed over the last three seasons, his groundball rate has been almost exactly his career average, and his strike rate is unchanged. One potential problem is the hard-hit rate, which at 32.0 percent is moderately higher than his 27.6 percent rate from 2006-2013. That feasibly makes all batted balls — whether grounders, fly balls, or line drives — more difficult to field.
It still feels like there must be some poor "luck" or sequencing involved in such a wide margin between his run prevention and fielding independent numbers. Regardless, Nolasco's FIP underperforming track record, combined with very poor defense and harder hit balls, goes a lot of the way toward explaining the difference. Add in some unfortunate sequencing for flavor, and you've probably gotten most of the way there.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1986, Bo Jackson stunds the sporting world when he signs with the Kansas City Royals instead of playing in the NFL.