MLB on Sling TV: Cubs at Dodgers, and Angels at Tigers on FS1; Saturday’s Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks
(All times Eastern, starters subject to change)
Chicago Cubs (Hammel 13-6, 3.07) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (TBD tk) 4pm ET on FS1
Jason Hammel got lit up in his last start, surrendering 10 runs (6 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks in just 3 ⅓ innings, as the Rockies jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first, en route to an 11-4 trouncing of the Cubbies. Hammel was victimized by 3 errors in the opening frame, but that doesn’t change the fact that he still gave up 4 singles, a double, and a home run in the inning. It marked the second time in 9 starts that he gave up a 10 spot, the previous indignity proving to be little more than a bump in the road, as he went 6-0 over his next 7 starts with a 1.26 ERA.
As for the Dodgers, on Friday morning they were still unsure about who to send to the hill on Saturday. On Friday it was to be Bud Norris, Thursday it was Ross Stripling, Wednesday was Rich Hill, Tuesday was Kenta Maeda, Monday was Scott Kazmir, before that was rookie Jose Urias… Who knows? What we do know is that the Dodgers just traded away backup catcher AJ Ellis, who had been Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher since 2012, for Carlos Ruiz. It seems a strange move given that Kershaw and Ellis were so close that they wept together upon saying goodbye. Ellis caught 118 of Kershaw’s 142 starts since 2012, with the big lefty posting a 1.97 ERA. Yes, Ruiz is clearly the better hitter, but we’re talking about maybe another 50 regular season at bats, plus the post-season – Ruiz isn’t so much better that it’s worth risking upsetting your best player, who is also trying to back from an injury. Weird.
The Cubs headed into the weekend series at 81-45, with a very comfortable 14-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. Chicago could go .500 the rest of the way and still 98 games – that’s insane. The Dodgers, meanwhile, awoke Friday at 71-56, with a 2-game lead over the Giants in the NL West.
Los Angeles Angels (Chacin 4-8, 5.61) vs. Detroit Tigers (Fulmer 10-4, 2.58)
7pm ET on FS1
Jhoulys Chacin has a funny name and has posted -.2 WAR since 2014. Michael Fulmer, on the other hand, is the frontrunner in the AL Rookie of the Year race, and it’a not particularly close. Fulmer leads all AL pitchers in ERA, AL rookie pitchers in wins, innings, and strikeouts; and his 4.7 WAR is the most for any AL rookie by a margin of 1.9, well ahead of Minnesota’s Max Kepler at 2.8. What’s his secret? Well, a big part of his success is his FIP-busting luck, as the stat nerds say that given his strikeouts, walks and homers, Fulmer’s ERA should actually be 3.67 – But you know what? It ain’t, and as a wise man once said, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and the fact is that he can hit the mid-90s on the radar gun. This is not to suggest that Fulmer can sustain an ERA of 2.58, but for the purposes of the RoY race, Fulmer would have to go completely pear-shaped over the last 5-6 weeks of the season for him to fall back to the pack.
In fact, Fulmer’s been so good that he’ll likely draw some down-ballot Cy Young Award votes, but he doesn’t realistically have a chance given that he’s 43rd in innings pitched, 41st in strikeouts, and tied for 16th in wins. But facing a team as bad as the Angels can only improve his chances.
The Halos headed into the weekend with the second-worst record in the AL at 54-73, 20 ½ games behind the Rangers in the AL West, while the Tigers were 68-59, 4 ½ back of the Indians in the AL Central, 2 games behind Baltimore for the second Wild Card berth.
Watch the Chicago Cubs vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4pm, followed by the Los Angeles Angels vs. the Detroit Tigers at 7pm Saturday on FS1 by subscribing to Sling Blue..
And here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land…
Baltimore Orioles (Bundy 7-4, 3.33) at New York Yankees (Green 2-3, 3.66)
1:05pm ET on YES
Minnesota Twins (Santana 6-10, 3.39) at Toronto Blue Jays (Stroman 9-5, 4.47)
1:07pm ET on FOX Sports North
Kansas City Royals (Duffy 11-1, 2.66) at Boston Red Sox (Price 12-8, 4.00)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Kansas City
Pittsburgh Pirates (Taillon 3-3, 2.92) at Milwaukee Brewers (Nelson 7-13, 4.26)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Wisconsin
San Diego Padres (Richard 0-3, 4.44) at Miami Marlins (Urena 2-4, 6.33)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida & FOX Sports San Diego
Tampa Bay Rays (Snell 4-6, 3.17) at Houston Astros (Keuchel 8-12, 4.64)
7:10pm ET on Fox Sports Sun
Oakland Athletics (Neal 2-3, 5.49) at St. Louis Cardinals (Leake 9-9, 4.56)
7:15pm ET on FOX Sports Midwest
Cleveland Indians (Carrasco 9-6, 3.12) at Texas Rangers (Griffin 5-3, 4.68)
8:05pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest & SportsTime Ohio
Cincinnati Reds (DeSclafani 7-2, 3.27) at Arizona Diamondbacks (Godley 4-2, 5.53)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona & FOX Sports Cincinnati
Atlanta Braves (Foltynewicz 6-5, 4.55) at San Francisco Giants (Peavy 5-9, 5.55)
9:05pm ET on FOX Sports South
Watch baseball on FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to Sling Blue.