News from around the league

Shields and Ventura named starters in Games 1 and 2

No surprises here. Shields is the ace of the Royals but has hardly lived up to his nickname, Big Game James, this postseason. In his three starts he has posted a .306 BAA and a 5.63 ERA. He also hasn’t pitched more than six innings in any start — with the Royals bullpen though, that’s not as important as it might be with other teams. For Ventura his concern lies in the innings. He’s thrown 196 innings this year combined regular and postseason. The 23-year-old threw a career high 150 innings last season. He also wasn’t particularly sharp in his last start, going 5.2 inning, allowing five hits, three walks and four earned runs in Game 2 of the ALCS. Something to keep an eye on in the World Series.

Why doesn’t the World Series start sooner?

As fans we would love it if MLB would start the World Series on Sunday since both the ALCS and NLCS were finished by Thursday. It’s all about baseball having the least amount of competition from the ratings behemoth NFL. Had the series started this Sunday, Games 1 and 6 world have gone up against Sunday football and Games 2 and 7 against Monday Night Football. None of that is ideal. The current schedule only allows for one potential Sunday game (Game 5) and none on Mondays. This will be a great World Series, we want the most eyeballs on MLB’s premier event. 

Mark Grace named Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach €

I’m all for giving guys second chances and I don’t see this as a favor or PR move. Chip Hale, the new manager of the D-backs, would be making a huge mistake by just adding friends to his staff. Arizona and Hale expect to win and bad hires on a coaching staff only detract from that goal. Grace, a three-time All-Star, batted .303/.383 over a 16-year career which also included a World Series win with Arizona in 2001. Turner Ward is the main hitting coach for the D-backs.

Brian Roberts retires 

After a 14-year career, Brian Roberts is calling it quits. Roberts hadn’€™t played a full season since 2009 as he has battled a laundry list of injuries. One interesting note I saw on Roberts, he finishes with 367 doubles, 23 more than Mickey Mantle. Thirteen of Roberts’ 14 seasons were spent in Baltimore.

Eiland’s influence 

Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland told me two interesting things this morning on my radio show. One, Wade Davis wanted to still be a starter this year, but he understood that it wasn’€™t a likely fit with KC’s current staff and ultimately he wanted to win. Two, he talked to Ned Yost about extending his relievers in the postseason beyond just the one inning Kelvin Herrera, Davis and Greg Holland were used to regularly throwing. Herrera has gone more than one inning three times this postseason. Davis, twice. Holland still hasn’t thrown more than one inning since Sept. 13, 2012.