After two long days of no baseball, the World Series will get underway on Tuesday.
Kershaw finished off the Dodgers’ NLCS Game 7 win over the Brewers on Saturday with a scoreless ninth inning, so he’ll be pitching on just two days’ rest. However, he threw just 15 pitches in that appearance and that didn’t stop him from going through a workout on Sunday at Fenway Park.
Sale will be pitching on nine days’ rest, as his last outing came back on October 13 in Game 1 of the ALCS. He had to be pushed back from a scheduled ALCS Game 5 start because of a stomach issue that was definitely not belly button ring-related. The illness caused Sale to lose some weight, but he threw a bullpen session without issue Saturday and said he’s “back on track and back to normal.”
The only other pitching matchup that’s set in stone is Game 2, which will feature Hyun-Jin Ryu versus David Price. Walker Buehler will toe the slab for the Dodgers in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium and will be opposed by either Nathan Eovaldi or Rick Porcello. Whoever of Eovaldi or Porcello doesn’t start Game 3 will be set up for Game 4 against Rich Hill.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday that Matt Kemp will start at designated hitter and David Freese will also be in the lineup (presumably at first base) for Game 1. Neither comes as a surprise, as Freese has been the regular first baseman against lefties and Kemp has crushed southpaws this year and isn’t a strong defensive outfielder. Yasiel Puig has often been benched against lefties due to his reverse splits, but he could start in right field after his NLCS Game 7 heroics.
Steve Pearce will start at first base for the Red Sox as he typically does against lefties and Sandy Leon will catch Sale as usual. Eduardo Nunez figures to start at third base if his ankle is OK. The Red Sox’ most interesting lineup decision will come when they lose the DH spot in Dodger Stadium. J.D. Martinez will play the outfield and to make room for him the club is considering putting Mookie Betts at second base, where he hasn’t started a game since 2014.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get this series rolling.
D-backs Re-Sign Escobar
Impending free agents don’t officially hit the open market until five days after the World Series. However, they can re-up with their current team until then and that’s what Eduardo Escobar did Monday.
The Diamondbacks announced the re-signing of Escobar to a reported three-year, $21 million contract. Escobar is coming off a career-best offensive season, having posted a .272/.334/.489 batting line with 23 home runs and 84 RBI across 151 games for the Twins and D-backs. He hit .268/.327/.444 with eight bombs and 21 RBI over 54 games after being acquired by Arizona at the trade deadline.
General manager Mike Hazen said that the team views Escobar as an everyday player, but where he plays and whether it will be at one position is yet to be determined. Jake Lamb is coming off a terrible 2018 campaign and had shoulder surgery in August, so Escobar might settle in as the regular third baseman. That could potentially free the D-backs up to trade Lamb or perhaps Paul Goldschmidt. The club has also discussed the possibility of moving Ketel Marte to center field, which would free up second base for Escobar.
Of course, a lot of Escobar’s value lies in his ability to play multiple positions, and there would seem to be plenty of at-bats available to him between third base, shortstop and second base. Getting Escobar – who will turn 30 in January – on a relatively modest deal looks like a sensible move for the Snakes.
Mesas to Miami
The moves were telegraphed as the Marlins built up more and more international spending money over the last several weeks, and on Monday they made official the signing of two big international free agents.
Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. were introduced at a press conference Monday at Marlins Park. The two brothers sat alongside chief executive officer Derek Jeter as the Hall of Famer spoke glowingly about the potential of the Cubans while also reiterating the organization’s desire to become players on the international market after they ignored it for so long.
Victor Victor, 22, is considered the big prize, as he signed for a reported $5.25 million and was ranked by various evaluators as the top international talent in the current signing period. The center fielder is considered to be a strong defender and could potentially fit toward the top of a batting order. He could begin next season at the Double-A level, although the Marlins will take a look at him in spring training before making any decisions.
Victor Jr., 17, signed for $1 million and is obviously not as close to the majors. Also an outfielder, Victor Jr. was a switch-hitter in Cuba but is expected to hit exclusively from the left side as he begins his pro career in the Marlins system.
Quick Hits: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday that he's been in touch with Adrian Beltre but Beltre has not made a decision yet on retirement. The GM added that they will work something out to bring him back if he decides to keep playing … The Seibu Lions said Sunday that they would post Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi this offseason if Kikuchi requests it … Seunghwan Oh is expected to pitch for the Rockies in 2019 after a previous report indicated that he was considering returning to Korea … Jim Bowden of The Athletic has reported that the Red Sox are expected to add Steven Wright (knee) to their World Series roster … Brodie Van Wagenen had his second interview for the Mets' vacant managerial job on Monday. Fellow finalists Doug Melvin and Chaim Bloom will have their second interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively … Rocco Baldelli had a second interview for the Twins’ managerial vacancy Monday … Joe Espada interviewed for the Blue Jays' managerial vacancy Monday …