As the 2023 regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. 2023 London Series begins:
The Cubs and Cardinals have arrived in London for a two-game set over the weekend. It will be just the second MLB series ever played in London, after the Red Sox and the Yankees faced off in 2019. The 2023 campaign has been a struggle for both St. Louis and Chicago so far, as both clubs are under .500, though the Cubs have won ten of their last 12 games to lift their record to 36-38, just 3.5 games back in a weak NL Central division. That streak has come on the back of a fantastic starting rotation that includes Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele, Drew Smyly, and a resurgent Kyle Hendricks. The Cardinals have not found any such footing, with the preseason division favorites toiling in last place with a 31-44 record despite a talented roster centered around Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. Game 1 of the London series will take place at 12:10pm CT tomorrow, while Game 2 will take place at 9:10am CT on Sunday.
2. Maeda to return:
After missing the past two months with a triceps strain, right-hander Kenta Maeda is set to return to the Twins today, starting tonight’s game against the Tigers in Detroit. Maeda joined the Twins prior to the 2020 season in a deal that sent Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers, and immediately delivered for the Twins with a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts during the shortened season.
That performance propelled Maeda to a second place finish in AL Cy Young award voting behind Shane Bieber, but the now 35-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched up to that standard since. After 21 starts during which he delivered a 4.66 ERA, Maeda underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2021. He returned at the beginning of the current campaign, but made just four starts with an ERA of 9.00 over 16 innings before returning to the injured list. If Maeda is back to full health, he nonetheless figures to be an asset for a Twins rotation that currently features Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober.
3. Mets roster move incoming:
According to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the Mets are poised to recall right-hander Vinny Nittoli to the roster today. Nittoli is already on the 40-man roster after being acquired in a trade with the Cubs earlier this month. Nittoli has just three innings of major league experience under his belt, but has posted a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings of work at the Triple-A level this season between his time in the Cubs and Mets organizations.
Nittoli will join a Mets bullpen that’s currently shorthanded due to the suspension of Drew Smith for a violation of the league’s foreign substance policy. Smith counts against the active roster during his suspension, which will come to a conclusion in time for Monday’s game against the Brewers. Nittoli is already on the 40-man roster and the club has space on the active roster after optioning right-hander Tylor Megill yesterday, meaning no corresponding move will be required to add Nittoli.