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The Opener: Olson, Sale, Twins


On the heels of an early-morning transaction, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:

1. Olson to make MLB debut:

The Tigers are expected to promote right-hander Reese Olson to start this evening’s game against the White Sox, marking Olson’s MLB debut. A former 13th round pick by the Brewers, Olson was traded to the Tigers in 2021. Since then, Olson has pitched primarily at the Double-A level, posting a 4.24 ERA in 144 1/3 innings of work. He opened the 2023 campaign with a promotion to the Triple-A level, but has largely struggled there this season, with a 6.38 ERA in 36 2/3 innings of work. That ugly figure is inflated by a 15.83 ERA in his first four appearances this season, though the 23-year-old owns a worrisome 12.6% walk rate that has stayed consistent even as his results have improved.

Olson, for whom the club will need to open an active roster spot before today’s game, will step into the rotation in the stead of the club’s injured ace, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. It certainly seems unlikely that Olson will be able to match Rodriguez’s dominant start to the 2023 season (2.13 ERA and 3.17 FIP in 11 starts), but he’ll nonetheless be relied upon to help stabilize a Tigers rotation that has been a clear weak spot for the club this season. Each of Matthew Boyd, Joey Wentz, and Alex Faedo sport ERAs well above 5.00, with Michael Lorenzen standing as the only active member of the rotation having an above average season by measure of ERA+ with a 122 figure. Olson will take the ball in Chicago at 7:10pm CT tonight.

2. Sale to undergo MRI:

Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale exited yesterday’s start against the Reds with shoulder soreness. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the issue, as noted by’s Chris Cotillo. While Sale has posted a rather pedestrian 4.58 ERA, exactly league average by measure of ERA+, that figure doesn’t tell the whole story of his 2023 campaign to this point. The 34-year-old veteran had a disastrous April, with a 6.75 ERA in 29 1/3 innings over six starts. Since then, however, Sale has turned a corner, posting a 2.43 ERA, 2.89 FIP, and a 31.3% strikeout rate in 29 2/3 innings over five starts that have been far more reminiscent of his ace-level production in previous seasons.

Should Sale miss time, it would not only be a serious blow to the Red Sox rotation, but surely frustrating for Sale himself, as the veteran lefty managed just 48 1/3 innings across the 2020-2022 seasons while battling a myriad of injuries, including Tommy John surgery. Right-handers Corey Kluber and Nick Pivetta were both recently demoted to the bullpen, and could theoretically step back into the rotation should Sale require a trip to the injured list.

3. Buxton, Correa exit game:

A pair of concerning injury situations popped up for the Twins during last night’s game against the Guardians, as both Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa exited the game. Buxton exited yesterday’s game with rib soreness after being struck by a pitch, and is expected to undergo imaging today. Meanwhile, Correa exited after re-aggravating the plantar fasciitis that recently kept him out of the lineup for a few days.

Losing either superstar would be a significant blow to the club, let alone both players. That said, the Twins have the remarkable position player depth necessary to weather such a blow, with Donovan Solano and Kyle Farmer both able to come off the bench and step into everyday roles while Matt Wallner and Edouard Julien would both be options to return to the big league club should either Buxton or Correa require a stint on the injured list.

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