As MLB’s regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. McClanahan to visit team doctor:
Rays lefty Shane McClanahan exited his start after just four innings in yesterday’s 7-2 loss to the Yankees. As noted by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, McClanahan felt tightness in his forearm while warming up ahead of the fourth inning. While the southpaw managed to complete the fourth inning, Topkin adds that he’ll fly back to Tampa to have the issue examined by the team’s doctor. Missed time for McClanahan would be a devastating blow to the Rays, who have fallen to a game and a half behind the Orioles in the race for the AL East crown thanks primarily to a brutal 8-16 record in the month of July. In the event that McClanahan misses time, youngster Taj Bradley seems likely to return to the club’s rotation alongside Tyler Glasnow, Zach Eflin, and the newly-acquired Aaron Civale.
2. Traded starters making their club debuts:
A trio of starters are poised to make their debut with their new club today. Things will kick off at 11:10am CT, when right-hander Michael Lorenzen (3.58 ERA in 18 starts) will make his first start with the Phillies after the club acquired him from the Tigers on the day of the trade deadline. He’ll face the Marlins in Miami for his first start as a Phillie. Next on the docket will be veteran ace Max Scherzer’s debut at Globe Life Field following his trade from the Mets to the Rangers, which begin at 1:05pm CT.
Scherzer’s struggled relative to his Hall of Fame-caliber standards this year with a 4.01 ERA in 19 starts, but will have the opportunity for a fresh start with a new club today against the White Sox. Wrapping up the trio of debuts will be right-hander Jack Flaherty, who was acquired by the Orioles in a deal with the Cardinals just before the trade deadline. Like Scherzer, Flaherty has also struggled somewhat in 2023, with a 4.43 ERA in 20 starts, but will look to make a strong impression on his new club at 2:07pm CT during a start against the division-rival Blue Jays in Toronto.
3. Keuchel decision:
Former AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel triggered an opt-out clause in his minor league deal with the Twins on Tuesday, giving Minnesota 48 hours to add him to its 40-man roster or else grant him his release. The 35-year-old lefty had a disastrous decline in 2021-22, pitching to a 6.35 ERA in 222 2/3 innings while playing out the final two seasons of a three-year, $55.5MM deal he originally signed with the White Sox. Keuchel signed with the Twins earlier this summer after spending months working out at Driveline Baseball, and the results in Triple-A have been genuinely intriguing: 32 innings of 1.13 ERA ball with a 21.2% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate and huge 61.5% ground-ball rate. The Twins will have to decide today whether to select Keuchel’s contract to the Major League roster or cut him loose. Given that trades are now no longer permitted, most clubs will be looking for ways to bolster their pitching depth. Based on his pre-2021 track record and small-sample intrigue in Triple-A this year, it’s easy to see Keuchel latching on elsewhere if the Twins choose not to make room for him on the active roster.