MLB on Sling TV: Orioles at Red Sox, Mariners at Angels on ESPN; Wednesday’s Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks
(all times Eastern, starters subject to change)
Baltimore Orioles (Gausman 7-10, 3.61) at Boston Red Sox (Porcello 20-3, 3.21)
7pm ET on ESPN
The wheels came off last night for Boston starter Drew Pomeranz, who in the second inning served up a 3-run homer to JJ Hardy and moments later a 2-run shot to Nolan Reimold, setting the Red Sox on their way to a 6-3 loss. The Sox are in 1st place in the AL East at 81-63, and the O’s are tied with the Blue Jays for second, 2 games behind Boston at 79-65.
On June 29 the 47-30 Orioles led the second-place Red Sox the AL East by 5 ½ games, and then the Baltimore offense cratered. Up to that point, they’d been averaging 5.2 runs game, and hit 124 homers through 77 games, a pace that projected to 260, just 4 short of the record set by the ‘97 Mariners. In the 67 games since then, however, they’ve averaged just 4.3 runs, hit “just” 80 home runs (a 193 pace), and gone 32-35.
The Sox’ ascension has been boosted by the emergence of Rick Porcello as a Cy Young candidate. At 20-3, he leads the league in wins and winning percentage, has the third-fewest losses, and is 5th in ERA+ and innings, but his 4.5 WAR is just 8th among AL pitchers, 1.7 behind the Indians’ Corey Kluber. WAR is the only stat where Kluber has a clear advantage, as the two are separated by 4 IP, .01 BABIP, .023 OPS, 1 HR, 1 GDP, Kluber’s got 47 more K’s, but 22 more BB’s. You’ll likely vote for Kluber if you’re a hardcore math nerd or someone who believes blindly in WAR – does that describe most sportswriters?
Seattle Mariners (Iwakuma 15-11, 3.96) at Los Angeles Angels (Skaggs 3-3, 4.12)
10pm ET on ESPN
The Angels were mathematically eliminated on Saturday from the AL West race when the fell 8-5 to the Rangers, and will quite likely be eliminated from the Wild Card race sometime this week. The Mariners find themselves in 5th place in the Wild Card hunt, 2 ½ games out of the second spot. So why would you watch this game? Because Mike Trout is the greatest ballplayer of his generation and once again finds himself in the thick of what is shaping up to be a contentious MVP race. Trout’s 9.4 WAR is tops in the AL, ahead of the Boston Red Sox’ Mookie Betts by 1.2. Here are there stats for 2016:
It’s pretty clear that despite Betts having more hits, doubles, triples, homers, and RBI, Trout is having the better year at the plate, as his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are all higher. Betts makes up some of the difference by playing elite-level defense in the toughest rightfield in the Majors, and by being a slightly better baserunner, but he still comes up short. Trout has three times before led the AL in WAR only to finish second in the MVP balloting, in 2012 and 2013 he was runner up to Miguel Cabrera, who in the first season won the first Triple Crown in more than 40 years, and in the second season was even better – though still not as good as Trout. And last year Trout got edged out by Josh Donaldson, a vote that was far more defensible as Trout’s lead in WAR was just .6, too small to be considered definitive by an instrument as blunt as WAR. What all three of those campaigns had in common was that Trout’s teams came in third each year, while the MVP led his team to a 1st-place finish. This year, Trout’s Angels are in 4th place, and Betts’ Sox? They’re currently in 1st.
Watch the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Boston Red Sox at 7pm ET, followed by the Seattle Mariners vs. the Los Angeles Angels at 10pm ET Wednesday on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange.
And here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land…
Tampa Bay Rays (Cobb 0-0, 4.09) at Toronto Blue Jays (Estrada 8-8, 3.68)
12:37pm ET on Fox Sports Sun
Chicago Cubs (Lester 16-4, 2.51) at St. Louis Cardinals (Martinez 14-7, 3.05)
1:45pm ET on FOX Sports Midwest
San Diego Padres (Perdomo 7-9, 5.89) at San Francisco Giants (Bumgarner 14-8, 2.61)
3:45pm ET on FOX Sports San Diego
Los Angeles Dodgers (Kershaw 11-3, 1.89) at New York Yankees (Pineda 6-11, 5.07)
4:05pm ET on YES
Miami Marlins (Fernandez 14-8, 2.90) at Atlanta Braves (Teheran 5-9, 3.01)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida & FOX Sports Southeast
Milwaukee Brewers (Guerra 3-0, 2.83) at Cincinnati Reds (Adleman 2-3, 3.88)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati & FOX Sports Wisconsin
Minnesota Twins (Duffey 8-11, 6.13) at Detroit Tigers (Sanchez 7-13, 5.69)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit & FOX Sports North
Oakland Athletics (Manaea 5-9, 4.40) at Kansas City Royals (Ventura 10-10, 4.26)
7:15pm ET on FOX Sports Kansas City
Cleveland Indians (Tomlin 11-8, 4.85) at Chicago White Sox (Rodon 7-8, 3.80)
8:10pm ET on SportsTime Ohio
Texas Rangers (Holland 7-7, 4.74) at Houston Astros (Musgrove 2-4, 4.78)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest
Colorado Rockies (Hoffman 0-3, 5.60) at Arizona Diamondbacks (De La Rosa 4-5, 4.17)
9:40pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona
Seattle Mariners (Iwakuma 15-11, 3.96) at Los Angeles Angels (Chacin 5-8, 5.63)
10:05pm ET on FOX Sports West