August 13, 2020

G19: Rays at Red Sox, 4:30 PM

Rays    - 
Red Sox - 
Tyler Glasnow / Kyle Hart

Kyle Hart will be making his major league debut. The 27-year-old lefty was a 19th round pick and has spent parts of the last five seasons in the minors.
I've been at every level of this game and I've seen every type of player — come up, make it, not make, somewhere in the middle, young guys, old guys, uber-talented guys, guys maybe with less talent, more grit. ... I'm proud of the type of player that I am and the player that's going to debut [on Thursday] ...

I still think pro ball is a difficult thing. I thought about it a long time and I talked to my parents, talked to my family. Ultimately, I wanted to give it a shot. I didn't know how much I would love it. I didn't know how much happiness it would bring me. I'm glad I chose to stick with it and keep playing and I'm grateful for every opportunity I've been given and certainly the one I'm being given now — the ultimate opportunity of pitching in the big leagues. ...

Those times you're sleeping on an air mattress and not eating the food you want to eat, all the while, you're not living a normal life. You're not able to do the activities that you see your friends doing. They're starting families, they're traveling the world, they're padding their IRAs. They're kind of living the life that you probably should be living. But those times are the ones that makes it all worth it because you can look back and say, "None of this was handed to me," and I earned every drop of it. Those times definitely make you appreciate the good days.
Hart pitched in Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA) last season, posting a 3.52 ERA in 27 games (24 starts).

Earlier this week, Hart was called into Pawtucket manager Billy McMillon's office. Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett and pitching coach Paul Abbott were also there.
They told me that I was getting fined by Major League Baseball for not wearing my mask. That's kind of a real scenario that can happen and probably has happened. So I was a little worried at first, but then they told me, "You can go pay your fine at Fenway Park tomorrow." So, luckily, it was just a prank and they were pulling my leg.
Hart is disappointed that his family will not be at Fenway Park today. (However, his brother Ryan will watch the game at a bar near Fenway Park.) It seems like an exception could have been made for this one start. Have his parents and siblings scattered in one section. After all, Hart is going to have only one major league debut.

August 12, 2020

G18: Rays 9, Red Sox 5

Rays    - 132 200 001 - 9 15  0
Red Sox - 000 000 050 - 5 12  0
Zach Godley's (3-10-8-2-3, 74) dismal start on Wednesday night was only the sixth time in the last 90 years that a Red Sox pitcher recorded nine or fewer outs while allowing 10+ hits and 8+ runs. Godley is the 11th pitcher to do so in franchise history.

Godley faced 21 batters and 12 of them reached base. Brandon Lowe singled, doubled, and homered off Godley, scoring three times. Willy Adames and Yoshi Tsutsugo also went deep off Godley.

Ryan Weber pitched quite well in relief (6-5-1-0-4, 58). He was aided by three double plays, allowing no runners past first base and only one ball to be hit out of the infield in his first five innings.

Do you care how Tampa Bay scored its runs? . . . If so, why?

Blake Snell (5-4-0-0-6, 70) was stingy. Only two Red Sox reached second base while Snell was on the mound, one of them thanks to a stolen base. Kevin Pillar had two of the four singles off the Rays' lefty (one capping a 10-pitch at-bat to start the bottom of the first), but he also was thrown out trying for a double in the third inning.

Aaron Slegers breezed through the sixth and seventh innings, but the Red Sox were sluggers against Slegers in the eighth. He allowed six hits and did not record an out. Jackie Bradley reached on an infield single and hits from José Peraza and Pillar loaded the bases. Jonathan Arauz dropped a single into left, spoiling the Rays' bid for a shutout. Then J.D. Martinez crushed an inside slider over the Wall for a grand slam! After Tsu-Wei Lin singled, Slegers was pulled.

Nick Anderson struck out Christian Vázquez and Michael Chavis before giving up a single to Alex Verdugo. Which meant that Bradley was coming to the plate as the potential tying run, however implausible that sounds. Bradley went after the first pitch and grounded out to shortstop.

One good thing: the game was played in a lightning-fast 2:58. (Three of the Red Sox's 18 games have been less than three hours in duration.)

Pete Fairbanks kept the ball in the infield while pitching a clean ninth and NESN lived down to its reputation by keeping Anderson's name and pitch count in its scorebug for the entire inning. Fairbanks's stats were shown at the start of the inning, so NESN knew about the pitching change.

Even as the last pitch of the game was about to be delivered, the bug had not been updated. Anderson threw 12 pitches in the eighth and Fairbanks was about to deliver his 11th.

In this screenshot, I blacked out FIFTEEN ADVERTISEMENTS, including one on the goddamn mound.

Blake Snell / Zack Godley
Pillar, RF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Vázquez, C
Chavis, 1B
Verdugo, LF
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
Andrew Benintendi strained the right side of his rib cage yesterday and is on the IL. Ryan Weber has been recalled.

Padres reliever Drew Pomeranz has pitched in nine games, allowing only one hit in 7.2 innings and collecting four saves. Why can't we get . . .?

Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies is batting .500 (34-for-68) through 17 games.

He is the seventh player in MLB history to bat at least .500 in his team's first 17 games (min. 50 PA). The last four were Stan Musial (1958 Cardinals), Hank Aaron (1959 Milwaukee), Larry Walker (1997 Rockies), and Barry Bonds (2004 Giants).

Blackmon began this season 0-for-9! He is batting .567 during his current 15-game hitting streak (34-for-60), the the highest average across a streak of 15+ games since Lance Berkman hit .586 (34-for-58) in 15 games May 3-18, 2008.

In the last week, Blackmon is hitting .739 (17-for-23), with no strikeouts in 27 plate appearances!

Tom Tango, MLB's Senior Data Architect, says Blackmon has a 10% chance of ending the season with an average over .400. Thomas Harrigan writes:
Let's assume he'll get two games off, and log four at-bats per game in the other 41, for an estimated total of 164 at-bats remaining.

Blackmon already has 68 at-bats, so if he gets another 164, it would put him at 232 on the season. Hitting .400 in 232 at-bats would require Blackmon to collect 93 total hits, or 59 more than he has now, which would mean going 59-for-164 (.360) the rest of the way.

Blackmon has hit .307 in his career, and .312 since the beginning of 2018 ... So let's say Blackmon has the "true" talent level of a .310 hitter. ...

What is the chance that a "true" .310 hitter will get 59 hits over any 164 at-bat stretch?

The answer, according to Tango's calculations, is 10%.

August 11, 2020

G17: Rays 8, Red Sox 2

Rays    - 101 000 600 - 8  9  0
Red Sox - 010 000 010 - 2  9  0
The Rays jumped on Austin Brice and Robert Stock for six runs in the top of the seventh to extend their 2-1 lead, winning easily in a Tuesday night rout.

Martín Pérez (5.2-3-2-2-5, 94) gave up a home run to the first batter of the game (Mike Brosseau). But what seemed like a bad omen was not. Pérez pitched fairly well and left after five innings with the Red Sox trailing by one run.

Boston had tied the game at 1-1 in the second with two outs. Christian Vázquez doubled and scored on Michael Chavis's single. But the Rays quickly re-established their one-run lead as Yandy Díaz singled in Brosseau, who had doubled.

The Red Sox left two men on in the second and stranded a runner at third in the third. One Tampa Bay double play ended the home fourth and another twin-killing wiped out a leadoff walk in the seventh.

Brice relieved Pérez and recorded the third out in the sixth. He also struck out the first batter in the seventh, but the next five Rays reached base. Willy Adames singled to center. Manuel Margot doubled to left for one run. Mike Zunino walked. Brandon Lowe pinch-hit for Brosseau and his ground-rule double to right scored Margot. Díaz reached on an infield hit and Zunino scored.

Stock came in and walked Austin Meadows, loading the bases. Pinch-hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo fouled out to Vazquez for the second out. A passed ball brought in the Rays' sixth run and Hunter Renfroe's double drove in the final two tallies. Ji-Man Choi, who began the inning by striking out, ended the inning by striking out.

The Red Sox made a little noise in the eighth. Jonathan Araúz singled and Andrew Benintendi was hit by a pitch. Alex Verdugo grounded to shortstop and the Rays tagged out Benintendi, 6-5-4 (a run scored). J.D. Martinez flied to center and Xander Bogaerts struck out. In the ninth, Chavis tripled with two outs, but Bradley fanned to end the game.

The Red Sox are 6-11 (.353) and are on pace to finish 21-39.

Boston has had only six seasons (out of 119) with a winning percentage below .373 (which is super-shitty, but is also 20 points higher than where the team is right now): 1906, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1930, and 1932. Those years ranged from .279 (1932, when the Red Sox went 43-111 and finished 64 GB!) to .338.

43 games to go.
Andrew Kittredge / Martín Pérez
Benintendi, LF
Verdugo, RF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Chavis, 2B
Bradley, CF
Araúz, 3B
Martín Pérez pitched five shutout innings against the Rays last Wednesday.

Andrew Kittredge got the save in last night's game, throwing 16 pitches.

August 10, 2020

G16: Rays 8, Red Sox 7

Rays    - 010 211 210 - 8 16  0
Red Sox - 301 001 020 - 7 12  1
The Red Sox led 4-1, trailed 4-5 (briefly), before tying the game at 5-5, then trailed 5-8 before closing the gap and losing by one run. Boston is 6-10 and back in the AL East basement.

In the seventh, the Rays snapped that 5-5 tie when Boston reliever Jeffrey Springs gave up hits to the first three Rays: Yoshi Tsutsugo and (former Red Sox farmhand) Manuel Margot both singled and scored on Kevin Kiermaier's double to left. Margot's double brought in another Rays run in the eighth.

In the home half of the eighth, the Red Sox rallied with two outs. Kevin Plawecki singled to right and went to second on a wild pitch before Andrew Benintendi walked. Jose Alvarado came in to pitch for Tampa Bay and Christian Vázquez hit for Jackie Bradley. Alvarado walked Váz, loading the bases. Jonathan Araúz singled to center, scoring two runs. Kevin Pillar ended the inning by grounding into a force play.

In the last of the ninth, Alvarado got the first out before handing the ball to Andrew Kittredge. J.D. Martinez (who hit his first home run of the season in the opening inning, driving in his first run since Opening Day) singled to left. But the Red Sox could not advance him. Xander Bogaerts lined to right and Michael Chavis struck out.

Martinez, Araúz, and Plawecki each went 3-for-4. ... For the Rays, Margot reached base five times: 4-for-4, with a walk.

The game lasted 264 minutes (4:24). It was the longest nine-inning game since . . . last September 21 . . . which was also 4:24. There was a game on September 8, 2019 that lasted 4:29.

The three longest nine-inning games in MLB history were played by the Red Sox and Yankees. Unfortunately, New York won all three.

4:45 (285 minutes) - Yankees 14, Red Sox 11 (August 18, 2006 (G2))
4:43 (283 minutes) - Yankees 8, Red Sox 7 (September 14, 2007)
4:42 (282 minutes) - Yankees 17, Red Sox 13 (June 29, 2019)
Ryan Yarbrough / Ryan Brasier
Pillar, RF
Verdugo, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Chavis, 1B
Plawecki, C
Peraza, 2B
Bradley, CF
Araúz, 3B
After 109 relief appearances (101 of them with Boston), Ryan Brasier will make his first career start.

The Red Sox scored five runs in five innings against Ryan Yarbrough last Wednesday (August 5).

Pitcher Brian Johnson was released.

The Cardinals reported three additional positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 last weekend, including outfielder Lane Thomas, bringing the team's total to 10 players and seven staffers. The Cardinals' three-game series this week against the Pirates has been postponed.

The Cardinals have not played a game in nearly two weeks (July 29). More than half of the 30 teams have played at least 16 games, while the Cardinals have played only five.

August 9, 2020

Schadenfreude 270 (A Continuing Series)

Howie Kussoy, Post:
There was solace in the most crushing loss of the season: The Yankees aren't scheduled to visit Tampa again this year.

Despite ... a late three-run lead, the Yankees suffered their third loss in four games against the Rays on Sunday, 4-3, on Michael Perez's walk-off single off Zack Britton. With their seventh loss in their past eight games at Tropicana Field, the Yankees have now lost five of seven games since their seven-game win streak, allowing the Rays to climb within two games of first place. ...

Despite leaving nine men on base and going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, the Yankees seemed to have enough offense.

The first run came when Mike Ford was hit with a pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning. The Yankees were gifted another pair of runs in the fifth inning, when Rays center fielder Manuel Margot dropped a deep fly ball ... that would have been the third out.

As Paxton exited the mound with a no-decision — having lowered his ERA from 13.50 to 7.84 — the lefty appeared to hear taunts from the Rays bench, before violently slamming his glove in the Yankees dugout. ...

With Britton taking over in the ninth, Brosseau ripped a leadoff double, but he was thrown out at third on a grounder to Gleyber Torres. But a wild pitch quickly put Lowe at second. Three batters later, Perez sent the Yankees back home.

Howie Kussoy, Post:
The box score blames Zack Britton. He accepts the fault, too. But Gary Sanchez can rarely sidestep all responsibility on a wild pitch. He can't escape his reputation.

With a tie score, runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday's game against the Rays, Britton threw a blockable sinker in the dirt short of Sanchez, which bounced past the catcher and allowed Brandon Lowe to advance to second. Three batters later, Lowe scored the winning run.

When asked about the pitch, Aaron Boone quickly defended the catcher, who has twice led the American League in passed balls.

Howie Kussoy, Post:
Giancarlo Stanton has returned to the injured list — and the Yankees don't know when the injury-plagued slugger might be ready to return to the lineup.

Stanton, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Sunday with a left hamstring strain suffered in Saturday night's game in Tampa, will receive an MRI on Monday in New York ...

After being limited to 18 games last season, the former MVP — who also suffered a calf strain during spring training and was sidelined in last year's ALCS — will make his third trip to the injured list since putting on pinstripes in 2018.

Even with his workload lightened as a full-time designated hitter, Stanton, 30, will miss a significant portion of the 60-game regular season.
After this season, the Yankees still owe Stanton a whopping $218 million over the next seven years!

Joel Sherman, Post:
This equated to finding a signed confession after the DNA evidence already had allowed a case to be solved.

Giancarlo Stanton going down over the weekend with yet another leg injury merely corroborated the already verified — the Yankees are going to be spending most of this decade working around Stanton. With their roster structurally, and their payroll financially.

This is three years in three as a Yankee in which Stanton has incurred lower-half maladies. And these are prime years, ages 28-30. He is signed through 2027 and age 37. In 2020, he could not stay healthy in a shortened season in which he was exclusively a designated hitter and further reconfigured his body to avoid such breakdowns. This is the lamp breaking despite being in bubble wrap, swathed in blankets and handled with care.

This time it was a left hamstring strain. In 2018, Stanton played through a hamstring injury, persevering as others went down around him. He could not manage that last season amid the Yankee record spree of IL stints; Stanton landing on that list in April 2019 with a biceps strain and June with a right knee sprain. He played through a calf injury in last year's postseason that was still problematic enough that he almost certainly would have begun this year on the IL had the season opened as scheduled in March.

It began, instead, in late July and by the second week of August, Stanton — first year in his thirties — is hurt again. He has seven seasons at $218 million left beyond 2020, which by itself would be the 16th largest contract ever behind — among others — the 13-year, $325 million pact Stanton originally signed with the Marlins. He has the right to opt out after this season, which would mean heading into free agency after yet another injury amid a pandemic. So, yeah, there is a better chance Babe Ruth will be hitting third for the Yankees Tuesday night vs. [Atlanta]. ...
Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
The Yankees went two weeks with their sluggers all healthy, before Giancarlo Stanton was put on the injured list Sunday morning. The Yankees slugger strained his left hamstring ... Saturday night ...

[T]his is a blow, if an unsurprising one. This has been the lament of the Yankees fans since they acquired Stanton before the 2018 season ... [I]t's been a series of injury after injury for Stanton.

The 30-year old outfielder played just 18 regular-season games last year. He strained his left biceps the first weekend of the season. While rehabbing from that, Stanton also dealt with a strained left shoulder and then, as he was beginning to rehab he strained his left calf. He returned to play six games before he jammed his knee running bases and missed 73 games before returning in September. And then he suffered a right quad strain during the ALCS, playing in just two games of that series that ended the Yankees season.

This spring, Stanton played in one Grapefruit League game before he was sidelined by a strained right calf. ...

The Yankees ... owed [Stanton] $214 million over the remaining eight seasons coming into this season. ... He has an opt out after the 2020 season — which is very unlikely at this point.

Ken Davidoff, Post:
When home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Yankees manager Aaron Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames from Game 2 of the seven-inning doubleheader, it drew further attention to the tension surrounding the eventual 5-3 Yankees loss to the Rays, one sparked by the Rays repeatedly throw high and tight to Yankees batters ...

Boone explained he got the fifth-inning hook after protesting the heave-ho of Thames, which he felt was unjustified. Asked what Thames said to be thrown out, Boone replied, "Nothing. Nothing." ...

The chirping from the Yankees' dugout could be heard on television by virtue of the empty stands, and that anger emanated from a trio of pitches thrown high and tight to Yankees players, two to DJ LeMahieu (in separate at-bats) and one to Gio Urshela. The last one, by Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge to LeMahieu, immediately preceded the turbulence, as LeMahieu ended the top of the fifth with a comebacker for a groundout. ...

It was Kittredge, on Sept. 27, 2018, at The Trop, who threw behind the head of Romine. He has since joined the Tigers. The now retired CC Sabathia responded by drilling Tampa Bay catcher Jesus Sucre and, upon getting ejected, pointed to Kittredge in the Rays' dugout and declared, "That's for you, [expletive]!"
Sabathia was suspended for five games and fined. His ejection meant he ended the season two innings short of receiving a $500,000 bonus.

G15: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Blue Jays - 001 101 000 - 3  6  2
Red Sox   - 011 001 002 - 5  4  2
Mitch Moreland's second home run of the game was a two-run, two-out walkoff shot in the bottom of the ninth. Moreland also hit a solo dong in the second and has hit six homers this year.

The Red Sox managed only four hits. Rafael Devers hit a game-tying homer in the sixth (449 feet) and Jackie Bradley singled in the third.

Toronto reliever Thomas Hatch struck out the side in the eighth and got the first two batters in the ninth, but he walked Xander Bogaerts. Moreland then blasted Hatch's first pitch out of the park to left-center.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-6-3-0-10, 91) matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts.

From the bottom of the seventh to the top of the ninth, there were 56 pitches thrown without a ball being put into play, as eleven straight batters struck out.
B7: Borucki pitching. Moreland (fbff) struck out looking. Vázquez (ff) struck out swinging. Pillar (bbssb) struck out swinging.

T8: Brice pitching. Shaw (sbsff) struck out swinging. Hernandez (ssb) struck out swinging. Gurriel (bcbcff) struck out swinging.

B8: Hatch pitching. Peraza (bbsbff) struck out swinging. Lin (csbbfb) struck out swinging. Verdugo (fbs) struck out looking.

T9: Barnes pitching. Guerrero (cc) struck out swinging. Grichuk (fs) struck out swinging. Tellez (b) L8.
There were a total of 27 strikeouts in the game, 15 by Boston pitchers.
Matt Shoemaker / Nathan Eovaldi
Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Benintendi, LF
Bradley, CF
Lin, 2B
Pete Abe sez:
J.D. Martinez has not driven in a run since Opening Day.
Andrew Benintendi is 2-for-34 and one of the hits was a bunt.
Jackie Bradley is 1-for-6 in his last 9 games.
Rafael Devers has K'd in 36% of his PAs. It was 17% last year.

August 8, 2020

G14: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1

Blue Jays - 000 000 110 - 2  9  2
Red Sox   - 010 000 000 - 1  4  1

Chase Anderson / Zack Godley
Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Benintendi, LF
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B

August 7, 2020

G13: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Blue Jays - 101 001 000 - 3  8  0
Red Sox   - 112 000 01x - 5  6  2
Alex Verdugo hit two opposite-field solo home runs — and robbed the Blue Jays of a ninth-inning home run with a leaping catch over the bullpen fence. Mitch Moreland knocked in three runs, on a bases-loaded walk and a two-run dong.

Ryan Weber's (3-5-2-2-3, 64) pitching line was his best of the year, but five hits and two walks in three innings is not good. He also gave up a home run to Cavan Biggio, the first batter of the game.

Heath Hembree, Colten Brewer, Ryan Brasier, Austin Brice, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman each pitched an inning after Weber clocked out. The six relievers toiled for six innings and recorded no strikeouts.

Lifted from the Red Sox's Post-Game Notes:

The Red Sox walked nine times, a season-high.

Alex Verdugo is 6-for-15 (.400) at Fenway Park and only 4-for-19 (.211) on the road.

Mitch Moreland has driven in a run in five of his eight games this year.

Zander Bogaerts drew three walks for the fourth time in his career. He's batting .458 (11-for-24) in his last eight games, with three doubles, two homers, four RBI, five walks and six runs scored.

Brandon Workman has allowed one earned run in his last 17 appearances (16.1 innings), dating back to September 1, 2019.

Heath Hembree has retired 18 of 20 batters this year, and has not walked anyone.

In the two games against Toronto, Red Sox relievers have allowed only one run in 10 innings of work.
Tanner Roark / Ryan Weber
Benintendi, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Verdugo, RF
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
Xander Bogaerts batted .438 on the Red Sox's seven-game road trip, with a 1.306 OPS (10-for-23, three doubles, two home runs).
Highest Offensive WAR, Shortstops From 2015-2020
Xander Bogaerts    Red Sox     25.9
Francisco Lindor   Cleveland   22.8
Carlos Correa      Astros      21.7
Marcus Semien      Athletics   18.3
Source: Baseball-Reference

Kevin Pillar leads the Red Sox in hits (13, tied with Bogaerts), average (.342), and on-base percentage (.359). ... Christian Vázquez leads the team in slugging (.641), OPS (.966), home runs (4), RBI (10), and total bases (25, tied with Bogaerts).

Jose Peraza went 4-for-5 with two doubles on Opening Day. In the 10 games since then, he has hit .184/.225/.184 with no extra-base hits, no runs scored, and one walk in 40 plate appearances.

Ryan Weber has not pitched four complete innings in either of his two starts this season (3.2, 3.1).

In seven innings, Weber has allowed 10 hits and nine runs, given up four home runs, walked seven, and struck out no one. ... Enjoy the game!

August 5, 2020

G12: Red Sox 5, Rays 0

Red Sox - 000 203 000 - 5 10  0
Rays    - 000 000 000 - 0  4  0
Out of 160 career starts, Martín Pérez (5-4-0-3-4, 91) has pitched 5+ innings and allowed four or fewer hits and no runs only five times.

And starts with 5+ innings and no runs allowed: 12.

Alex Verdugo homered in the fourth and Michael Chavis (3-for-4) homered in the sixth.

Bullpen: 4-0-0-2-7, 59.
Martín Pérez / Ryan Yarbrough
Pillar, CF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Vázquez, C
Chavis, 1B
Verdugo, RF
Peraza, LF
Araúz, 2B
In two starts, Yarbrough has allowed two runs in 11.2 innings (1.54 ERA).

The Red Sox have been hacktastic so far this season, helping opposing pitchers immeasurably by swinging at everything — before last night, they had swung at 34.1% of pitches outside the zone, the third-highest team percentage. Walks are way down (only 6.9% of plate appearances, third-worst in MLB).

In last night's game, Rafael Devers swung at a curveball that hit him in the back leg. Devers has regressed this season, swinging at 46% of pitches outside of the strike zone. Devers is 8-for-41 (.195). José Peraza has swing at 52% of pitches outside of the zone, the third-highest chase rate in MLB.

Andrew Benintendi is 2-for-29 (.069) and Jackie Bradley was 0-for-his-last-21 before a ninth-inning single last night. Michael Chavis is 3-for-19 (.158) with nine strikeouts and only one walk in 20 plate appearances.

Third-base coach Carlos Febles is back in Boston after an inconclusive coronavirus test. Ron Roenicke: "We're pretty sure this thing is going to come out negative, but we didn't want to take a chance." ... [Update: Febles's latest test was negative.]

The Guardian: "Does Rob Manfred Hate Baseball?

Hunter Felt, The Guardian, August 5, 2020:
[I]t's hard not to look at [MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's] actions and wonder if his seeming indifference to the game and its players goes beyond just cold-hearted corporatism. To put it bluntly: it doesn't seem as if Manfred likes baseball at all.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when "Rob Manfred Hates Baseball" went from an internet meme meant to mock the commissioner into a working theory to explain his behavior. ... For a while, at least, Manfred's supposed hatred for the game was an amusing talking point, a comically absurd reduction of his nonstop complaining. ... Then came word of Manfred's quest to ravage baseball's minor leagues. This was a commissioner who was not here to grow the game: he was running a business and, like many executives who come into a new situation, all he saw were various inefficiencies left behind for him to "fix". ...

Manfred seems to have looked at this pandemic as a gift rather than a setback. The very real economic impact of Covid-19 was the perfect excuse for him to go forward with his minor league contraction plan without the pushback he otherwise would otherwise have surely received. The shortened 2020 season is a perfect situation to install his various "improvements": a National League designated hitter, a three-batter minimum rule for relief pitchers and even the ridiculous extra-inning baserunner idea. ...

[Manfred's] reaction to the outbreaks was clear: "the players need to be better. But I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now." This is going to be the line from here on out: nothing going forward will be the commissioner's fault: the plan was foolproof. If the players can't get through the season, if it has to be shut down then it's all on them. Maybe Rob Manfred doesn't hate baseball per se, but he makes it obvious that he doesn't care much about baseball players.
Manfred's refusal to accept responsibility, his quick willingness to ascribe blame to others, his indifference to, or inability to gauge, public perception of his ignorant and callous comments – it all sounds horrifyingly familiar:
nothing going forward will be the commissioner's president's fault: the plan was foolproof. If the players American people can't get through the season next year or two, if it has to be shut down they end up dying then it's all on them

August 4, 2020

G11: Rays 5, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1  8  0
Rays    - 000 220 10x - 5  9  1
The Rays were home on Tuesday night, after suffering through an 0-5 road trip during which they scored only 13 runs in five games, batting .185. Back at the Trop, they did two things against the Red Sox that they have failed to do on the road: score five runs in a game, and win.

The Red Sox are now 3-8. They got off to a 3-8 start last season, also, and were 31-29 after 60 games. In 2011, they began 2-9, which is tied with 1925, 1927, and 1996 for the franchise's worst 11-game start to a season.

Strikeouts accounted for five of the Rays' first seven outs, but they put their offense in order against Nathan Eovaldi (5-6-4-1-6, 85) in the middle innings. Mitch Moreland's third home run of the season had given the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the second, but the Rays wiped that out in the fourth. After Eovaldi got the first two outs, a walk, a single, and Hunter Renfroe's two-run double put the Rays on top 2-1.

In the fifth, Tampa Bay did their scoring with no outs. Eovaldi hit the leadoff batter and gave up a triple to Austin Meadows (back after missing the Rays' first 10 games with SARS-CoV-2) and a single to Brandon Lowe.

The Red Sox stranded men at second and third in the third, wasted a one-out double in the sixth, and had runners at first and second with one out in the eighth, but Pete Fairbanks struck out both J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, swinging.

Down by four in the ninth, singles by Christian Vázquez, Kevin Pillar, and Jackie Bradley loaded the bases. In a near-repeat of the seventh, Jose Peraza and Andrew Benintendi both struck out looking.
Nathan Eovaldi / Charlie Morton
Benintendi, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Verdugo, RF
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
From MLB: Tonight's Marlins-Orioles game may be delayed as the teams await the final test results that could (or could not) clear the Marlins to play.

Craig Calcaterra tweets: "I ask about players leaving the hotel because a little bird in a position to know tells me that they have witnessed a number of players currently on a road trip leave the team hotels in Ubers, etc. tonight [last night, 9 PM-ish]. Won't say where to not blow my source's cover, but it's happening."

A reply: "Not surprised, I've seen pics on instagram from players' wives out at restaurants with players on road trips last week before the outbreaks started. I knew problems would happen when I saw that."

This Date In Baseball History (Tim Hurst Edition)
1897: In the second inning of the second game of a doubleheader between the Pirates and Reds in Cincinnati, OH, fans throw an empty beer bottle in the direction of umpire Tim Hurst. Hurst picks it up and throws it right back in the crowd. He is arrested and fined $100 dollars on a charge of assault and battery when the bottle hits a spectator [a fireman, reportedly], causing a gash over his right eye.

1908: The Brooklyn Superbas and St. Louis Cardinals play an entire game with one ball. Brooklyn wins, 3-0.

1909: Umpire Tim Hurst instigates a riot by spitting in the face of Athletics 2B Eddie Collins, who had questioned a call. Under police guard, Hurst is ushered off the field. This incident will eventually lead to Hurst's banishment from baseball in two weeks. [This actually happened on August 3, 1909]

1911: Lee Tannehill of the White Sox, the only SS to execute two unassisted double plays in one season, makes both of them in the same game versus Washington. Walter Johnson still wins 1-0 for the Senators in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Germany Schaefer famously steals first base for the Senators. In the bottom of the ninth, with Clyde Milan on third base, he steals second in an attempt to draw a throw, in order to allow Milan to score. When that fails, he leads off second, and breaks towards first base on the next pitch, making it safely, and then, while Sox manager Hugh Duffy is out arguing the call, he attempts to steal again. This time, Milan breaks for home and the White Sox throw him out to end the inning. The rules will be changed to prevent players from running the bases backwards in order to confuse the defense or make a mockery of the game ...

1989: Dave Stieb retires the first 26 batters he faces before giving up two hits in a 2-1 win over the Yankees. The previous September, the Toronto Blue Jays' hard luck hurler lost back-to-back no-hit bids with two outs in the ninth inning.
Hurst ("The pay is good, and you can't beat the hours - three to five"):
In 1900, a number of owners asked that he be banned from their cities because of his fiery temper and ungentlemanly language. He only umpired one game in 1904 and was out of action until hired by the American League in mid-season in 1905. He umpired in the junior circuit until 1909, when he was fired by AL President Ban Johnson on August 12th following a heated argument with Eddie Collins of the Philadelphia Athletics in a game on August 3rd. According to his obituary "Hurst insulted Collins so flagrantly that Ban Johnson fired him and wouldn't hear of a reconsideration of his case." What happened was that he called Collins out when [Collins was] trying to advance from first to second on a fly out, even though Chicago White Sox second baseman Jake Atz had clearly dropped the ball; when the mild-mannered Collins objected, Hurst insulted him and spit a wad of chewing tobacco at him. It seemed that Hurst's motivation at making the call, which came late in the second game of a doubleheader, was that he wanted to catch a train home from Philadelphia to his home in New York City, and thus made a deliberately bad call to shorten the game. ...

Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem later called him "the toughest umpire of them all"; "he was so tough that if a ballplayer did not like one of his decisions and challenged him on the field, Tim would say 'OK, we'll stop the game and go right under the stands and settle it now.'" He went on to add that one day, a batter stepped out of the box to show disagreement with one of Hurst's calls; the umpire replied that if he did it one more time, he would spit in his eye. The batter did it again one pitch later, and Hurst kept his promise. He was involved in a number of fights with players, including one with Kid Elberfeld earlier in 1909 that had already tried Ban Johnson's patience with his outbursts.

August 3, 2020

MLB Postpones Four-Game Series Between Cardinals (7 Players Among 13 Positive Tests) And Tigers; Marlins May Resume Schedule Tomorrow, After 8 Days Off

This week's four-game series between the Cardinals and Tigers has been postponed, as the Cardinals have had 13 people test positive for SARS-CoV-2 (seven players and six staff members).

A statement from MLB says the team will remain quarantined in Milwaukee and will be tested daily. The team hopes to resume its schedule on Friday.

All 13 people who tested positive are back in St. Louis. Five of the 13 are asymptomatic.

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak:
The morale up here is good, all things considered. I do think people are tired of sitting in their room, but you've got to put safety first.
The Marlins, the first team with an outbreak, are scheduled to play tomorrow, which would be after eight off-days.

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter blames a false sense of security for his team's outbreak:
Guys were around each other, they got relaxed and they let their guard down. They were getting together in groups. They weren't wearing masks as much as they should have. They weren't social distancing. The entire traveling party got a little too comfortable. ... We did have a couple of individuals leave the hotel. We had guys leave to get coffee, to get clothes. A guy left to have dinner at a teammate's house. There were no other guests on site. There was no salacious activity. There was no hanging out at bars, no clubs, no running around Atlanta.

The Post claims Jeter "threw MLB under the bus" when he denied a report that the Marlins decided on their own to play on Sunday, July 26. CI says the decision was made by MLB and its COVID-19 response committee.

Tonight's Phillies-Yankees game is still on the schedule, but Tuesday's game has been postponed. The reason is weather: heavy rains from Tropical Storm Isaias. The teams will play a doubleheader in Philadelphia on Wednesday, with the teams alternating as home and away teams. The MFY's current schedule now includes two (seven-inning) doubleheaders in four days (Wednesday and Saturday).

Commissioner Ostrich: "I Am Not A Quitter"

I think that if everybody does what they are supposed to do, we can continue to play, have a credible season ... We think it's manageable.

Dave Sheinin, Washington Post, August 2, 2020:
Still under self-isolation at their Milwaukee hotel amid a weekend's worth of postponed games, the St. Louis Cardinals were bracing Sunday for more positive tests for the novel coronavirus as baseball's worst current outbreak deepens, potentially threatening more games in the coming week.

Multiple reports said the Cardinals were expecting additional positives when the latest results of testing arrive. It would be the latest in a string of new positive tests for the Cardinals, whose three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed ... [The Cardinals' four-game series against the Tigers was scheduled to be a home-and-home, but all four games will now played in Detroit, with a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday]

The number of confirmed positives for the Cardinals is unknown and complicated by the fact the team is running rapid tests for its personnel at a hospital, in addition to the saliva tests being run through MLB's laboratory, and the results reportedly have not always agreed.

"[W]e do not anticipate having any updates until [Monday]," the Cardinals said in a statement Sunday night.

The Cardinals confirmed Saturday night that one player and three staff members tested positive but said an additional player and three additional staff members received results that were inconclusive. The infected personnel were heading back to St. Louis in cars, while the rest of the team's traveling party remained at the Milwaukee hotel.

The Cardinals' outbreak appears to be the second biggest in baseball, with the season only a week and a half old. The Miami Marlins had 18 players and two coaches test positive last week ...

All told, 19 games have been postponed.

August 2, 2020

G10: Yankees 9, Red Sox 7

Red Sox - 203 010 100 - 7 10  1
Yankees - 032 010 03x - 9  9  1
Rafael Devers gave Boston a 7-6 lead with a home run in the seventh and Matt Barnes recorded the first two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Barnes failed to retire #9 hitter Mike Tauchman, walking him on five pitches. Tauchman stole second. Barnes failed to retire DJ LeMahieu, who singled. Tauchman scored the tying run. And Barnes failed, in spectacular fashion, to retire Aaron Judge, who launched a 2-0 curveball an eye-popping 468 feet to left-center.

The Red Sox held (and lost) four leads on Sunday night: 2-0, 5-3, 6-5, and 7-6. Barnes stated the obvious afterwards.
[T]wo outs, nobody on, and the nine-hole hitter, can't walk him. Can't walk the nine-hole hitter to get to the top of their order.
Actually, it turns out you can - but you really shouldn't.

It was Judge's second home run of the night and his sixth of the season.
Trying to locate a 2-0 breaker down and away ... tried to locate it down there and certainly not put a hanging breaking ball middle up and in on him. Can't do that to a guy, one, who's locked in, and, two, who's got the power that he's got. Just a poor sequence of events there.
Again, "Barnesy", you can do that, but . . . oh, piss off.

The Red Sox are 3-7 and 5 GB in the AL East.

Manager Ron Roenicke thought it might "surprise people to be this far down already". Hmmm. Boston does not its top three starters from last season. One was traded, one had surgery, and one is infected with a dangerous virus that is also messing with his heart. That's a big hit for any team to absorb.

On the bright side, Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-4, hit two home runs, singled, doubled, scored three runs, and drove in three. Devers drove in two runs with a single and a home run.
Austin Brice / James Paxton
Pillar, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Vázquez, DH
Chavis, 1B
Plawecki, C
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
In his first start of the season, Paxton threw 41 pitches and got three outs.

The Red Sox plan to fly to Florida (the hottest SARS-CoV-2 hotspot on the planet (9,642 new cases yesterday and about 7,000 new cases so far today)) after tonight's game.

They are off tomorrow and play in Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday.

More possible strangeness in a strange season:

The Mets:
As of game time, Yoenis Céspedes has not reported to the ballpark today. He did not reach out to management with any explanation for his absence. Our attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.
Ken Rosenthal:
Mets have learned they have no reason to believe Cespedes’ safety is at risk, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Yoenis Céspedes has opted out of the rest of the 2020 season for "COVID-related" reasons, according to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
Jeff Passan (ESPN):
When Yoenis Cespedes didn't show up today, the Mets sent security to his room. They found it empty. He had taken his belongings, just up and left, and through his agent informed the team mid-game that he was opting out ..

August 1, 2020

July 2020: Linescores & Factoids

A few cool linescores from the past week.

July 24
SFG - 001 000 000   - 1  4  4
LAD - 110 111 22x   - 9 13  1
July 28
CHC - 001 111 112   - 8 12  1
CIN - 000 200 012   - 5  6  0
July 29
CWS - 000 000 004   - 4  5  0
CLE - 000 000 000   - 0  6  2
WAS - 000 000 000 4 - 4  5  1
TOR - 000 000 000 0 - 0  3  0

Since 1900 (modern era), no player in the 9th slot in the batting order had accounted for all of his team's hits (minimum 3 hits), coming into tonight. Orlando Arcia had all 3 hits for the #Brewers tonight [July 24, Opening Day], batting 9th.

For the first time since 1893 when the pitcher's mound was moved to its current distance from home plate, Reds pitchers have begun the season with at least 10 strikeouts in each of the first three games (13, 17, 10 so far today).

The Astros have had 7 pitchers make their MLB debut this season, the most by any team through 5 games in modern MLB history (since 1900). The previous record, according to Elias Sports, was 5 pitchers by the 1962 Cubs and 1998 Marlins.

According to research by's Sarah Langs, first baseman Anthony Rizzo is only the third player in recorded history (since 1901) to be hit by a pitch at least four times in a team's first four games. In addition to Rizzo (who was also plunked four times in four games in 2015), the others are José Guillén (four in 2006) and Jake Stahl (five in 1904).

Since 1893 (when the mound moved to its current distance from home plate), Shane Bieber is the first pitcher with 13+ strikeouts in each of his first two starts of a season [July 24 and July 30].

Christian Vázquez has hit 4 HR and played in only 5 games this season. He has tied the Red Sox record for most HR in a player's first 5 games of a season, matching Jackie Jensen (1954 & 1958) and Bobby Doerr (1941). [Doerr hit 4 HR in the first 4 games]

Jayson Stark:
When [Yoenis] Céspedes homered off [Atlanta's] Chris Martin on Opening Day, it provided one of the strangest tidbits of this or any season: It was his third consecutive game with a home run. That seems good. But those games took place on May 13, 2018 ... then (68 days later) July 20, 2018 ... then (735 more days later) July 24, 2020! So that's three straight games worth of Céspedes home run trots — over a period spanning 804 days! It's the longest streak of that many "consecutive" games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the legendary Calvin Pickering took 1,053 days to homer in three in a row (for the Red Sox and Royals) between Oct. 5, 2001 and Aug. 23, 2004. In between, Pickering did some homering in Mexico, but that's not important now. ...

[The Nationals were scheduled to play in Toronto on July 29, but the game was played in Washington, with the Blue Jays as the home team. What does that mean?] It means the Nationals have now won more road games in Washington this year (two) than they've won home games in Washington (one). They also managed to win an extra-inning game in their own park (Wednesday) but have it not be via a walk-off. ... And on an even brighter side, they dodged the weirdness of losing that extra-inning game via a walk-off — in their home park. ... [see linescore above]

Wednesday night in Houston, the Dodgers' Edwin Ríos led off the 13th inning with a home run. Now that's been done before. But thanks to the miracle of the runner-on-second rule, our friend Boog Sciambi got to fulfill his lifetime dream, right there on ESPN, of saying: "And that's a leadoff two-run homer."

The strangest but truest extra inning of the year: The #Royals managed to score a run in the 10th today [July 25] - despite zero official at-bats! Ghost runner on 2nd. Sac bunt. Sac fly. Walk. Runner thrown out stealing. ... If this feels like the most Royals thing ever, you won't be shocked to learn that the last four times somebody scored a run in any extra inning without working in an official at-bat, that somebody was (yep), the Royals ... But here's what's especially cool: STATS' play-by-play files go back nearly half a century, to 1974. And you know how many other teams have done this in the last 47 seasons but not done it via a walk-off (meaning they had zero at-bats in a *full* inning)? Of course, that would be none! ...

In case you missed Craig Kimbrel's outing Monday, please fasten your seat belt firmly across your lap and put your seat back in the full upright and locked position. All right, here it comes: Walk, Wild Pitch, Out, Walk, Stolen Base, Walk, Hit By Pitch, Walk, Google Map directions to the clubhouse. ... [T]here has been only one other game, since the invention of the modern save rule, in which a reliever entered a game with a ninth-inning save opportunity, then spewed out four walks and a hit batter, and didn't make it through the inning. That involved [Cleveland's] Danys Baez, on Sept. 8, 2002 – a 2/3-1-4-4-4-0 classic in which he hit Paul Konerko, walked José Valentín, Willie Harris, Magglio Ordóñez, and Carlos Lee, and served up a three-run homer to Frank Thomas.
Jayson told that story out of order. Baez's inning went like this: He walked Valentín and walked Harris. Got two outs: D'Angelo Jimenez popped to short and Aaron Rowand hit into an FC. Gave up Thomas's three-run homer. Walked Ordóñez, hit Konerko, walked Lee. David Riske took over and allowed a game-losing single to Joe Crede.

G9: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 002 000 000 - 2  6  0
Yankees - 140 000 00x - 5  8  1
Gio Urshela hit his first career grand slam and Aaron Judge homered for a career-high fourth consecutive game. The MFY's last 17 runs have come on dongs.

Facing Zack Godley (3.1-6-5-2-1, 69), the first three Yankees in the second inning singled before Urshela went deep.

Boston got on the board in the third when Andrew Benintendi walked and Kevin Pillar singled, both with one out. Xander Bogaerts doubled in one run and another run scored on Gleyber Torres's error.

The Red Sox (3-6) did not get another hit until the eighth (though they drew two walks along the way). They did not have two baserunners at the same time until there were two outs in the ninth. Jackie Bradley walked and Tzu-Wei Lin singled. Benintendi batted as the tying run, but he went down on strikes.

The White Sox's lineup on Saturday night was the first in major league history with four Cuban-born players in the top four spots. Luis Robert led off, followed by Yoán Moncada, José Abreu, and Yasmani Grandal. Chicago's Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert both singled, doubled, and homered.

Last night, Atlanta pitcher Chris Martin recorded a save in an 11-10 qwin over the Mets, but he had no idea it was the ninth inning. He was busy walking back to the dugout when someone finally yelled at him. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud: "He thought it was the eighth. I was walking to the mound laughing the whole time and looking at the guys in the dugout. They were all pointing and laughing at him, too."
Zack Godley / Masahiro Tanaka
Benintendi, LF
Pillar, DH
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Verdugo, RF
Bradley, CF
Lin, 2B
Eduardo Rodriguez will not pitch again this season. His heart issues have not abated, but everyone is expecting a full recovery for 2021.

In other news, Astros owner Jim Crane is a tone-deaf, clueless moron who can't stop saying stupid shit.

"More Than Five" Additional Cardinals Test Positive (Did Players Go To A Casino?)

Updated: Manfred's latest reaction (in Ravech/Calcaterra tweet).

"More than five" additional Cardinals have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and today's Cardinals-Brewers has been postponed. That makes at least eight positives on the Cardinals. More test results are expected later today.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that MLB has told its national TV partners they should have alternate programming ready in case games are postponed are next week.
So, Rob, are we in a "nightmare" situation yet?
(Yep. Baseball is fucked.)

After the first two positive cases on Thursday night, all Cardinals players and staff were told to self-isolate in their hotel rooms. But there are reports this morning that at least six members of the organization, including pitcher Carlos Martinez, broke the league's rules and went to a casino, albeit before the team's outbreak. The report comes from former player Jerry Hairston Jr.
The Marlins have been criticized for going to a strip club and the hotel bar in Atlanta two days before the season began. They have a total of 20 positive cases.

The Phillies had no new positive test results on Friday and have reopened its park to players for staggered workouts.

There have been a total of 128 positive tests, 104 players and 24 staff members.

Despite having health and safety protocols in place before the season began, MLB is making things up as it goes along, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

League officials say the system is improving, according to Rosenthal, but others in the game say it feels inconsistent and puzzling. MLB's responses have been inconsistent and contradictory. The Marlins and Phillies were allowed to play last weekend despite four positive cases (and the strong possibility that more existsed), but MLB cancelled other games last week despite no positives, saying it was exercising "an abundance of caution", despite throwing caution to the wind in a much more serious instance.

The original plan was to keep plowing forward, to absorb positive tests, plug in new players and accept any consequences, all to prevent the league from collapsing like a house of cards. Well, the house-of-cards analogy still applies, only now it feels to many in the game as though the league is playing with a different deck. MLB believes its adjustments are all in the name of safety, the objective that matters most. But as the sport evolves to this new plan, it's fair for people around the game to ask: Why wasn't it in place from the start?

Sports Websites: Do They Have Linescores? Where Are Their Linescores? Let's Find Out!

I love linescores.

Almost all major sports websites have stopped showing linescores when you click on "scoreboard". What they offer, at first glance, is only the R-H-E summary (some don't even do that).

If you want to know when the runs were scored (did the team that won 7-5 score all of its runs early and hold on, did they have a late rally, did they fall behind and steadily chip away throughout the game?), you have to click through to the box score. And if you want to see the linescore for another game (perhaps you enjoy perusing the previous day's games hoping for an odd or surprising linescore), you have to go back to the scoreboard and then click through on another game. It's annoying as hell.
Brief Tangent: I was saddened to learn Jayson Stark likes the Extra Inning Rule. (He was also surprised.) In his explanation, he linked to an amazing linescore from the California League (A):
July 15, 2019
Inaland Empire 66ers - 200 000 000 011 114 - 10 10  0
Modest Nuts          - 000 002 000 011 110 -  6  5  5
That is some weird, wild stuff.
You might think that the official website of Major League Baseball would offer easy viewing of linescores and you could simply scroll down and check them out.

If you thought that, you would be wrong.

I have fond memories of buying The Sporting News each week in the late 1970s so I could enjoy all the major league box scores from the previous week or so. In the decades before that, TSN (once known as "The Bible of Baseball") also published all minor league box scores.

TSN published its last physical issue in 2012 and its online scoreboard likely causes Alfred Spink (Canadian!) to spin in his grave. ... No hits and no errors!

Sports Illustrated is still publishing, but is a faint shadow of its former self. Does its website provide easy access to linescores? No.

All that empty white space is perfect for linescores.

What about ESPN? No.

CBS Sports? No.

Fox Sports? No.

MSN Sports? No.

Yahoo Sports? No.

NBC Sports? . . .


All Hail NBC Sports!!

NBC Sports is now the only place I will go to check baseball scores.

July 31, 2020

G8: Yankees 5, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 001 000 000 - 1  5  0
Yankees - 002 100 02x - 5  9  1
The Yankees hit three home runs on Friday night, two off starter Ryan Weber (3.1-4-3-4-0, 74) and one off Colten Brewer.

The Red Sox's lone run also came via a dong, the first of the year from Michael Chavis. It gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead, an advantage that turned out to be fleeting.

Weber, who had walked two Yankees in the second but escaped paying for it, gave up a leadoff single to DJ LeMahieu in the third. Aaron Judge hit a first-pitch cheapo home run to right and New York led 2-1. Gio Urshela took Weber deep to open the fourth.

Lurch is hitting .250, with no walks and 10 strikeouts in six games. That's a 270-strikeout pace for a full season, which would obliterate the all-time record of 223. He's whiffing in nearly 40% of his trips to the plate, his worst percentage since his first half-season in the bigs, back in 2016. Before today's game, he was swinging at 31.1% of the pitches outside the strike zone, again, his worst ratio since 2016 (in the last three years, he has never been over 25%). His contact percentage is only 53.8%, easily the worst of his career (all other seasons, he has been over 60%). ... But, okay, whatever you say, New York Post. He's unstoppable.

The Yankees had someone on base in every inning. Phillips Valdez stranded a runner at third in the fifth and men at the corners in the sixth. Austin Brice's 1-0 pitch to Giancarlo Stanton in the seventh grazed a thread on Stanton's pants, but the inning ended on a strikeout-caught-stealing with Aaron Hicks at the dish. Later on, Brewer gave up a two-run homer to Brett Gardner, who had been 0-for-12 before that at-bat.

Jere Smith (NESN Non-Appreciation Society, membership card #0002) related NESN's "mini-dumpster fire of a call" on the Stanton HBP in the game thread. Dave O'Brien's initial reaction was "right past everybody". Plate umpire Chad Whitson visually and audibly indicated Stanton was hit, but O'Brien, Jerry Remy, and Dennis Eckersley didn't see it (neither did Stanton, initially). The NESN Trio tell us Stanton "thought it hit him" and they wondered "Did he get hit?" All three believe Whitson's call was No HBP, which everyone watching at home knows is wrong. NESN then shows us the Red Sox dugout. Someone is on the phone. O'Brien: "Red Sox might wanna take a look at this." What? If OB thinks Stanton was not hit by the pitch, why would he think the Red Sox would ask for a challenge? Does he think Ron Roenicke would argue "Yes, he was hit" and demand the Yankees get a free base runner? Seriously, OB, do you ever listen to yourself? There was no challenge (imagine that!), NESN cuts back to the field; Stanton is on first base; O'Brien tells us what we're seeing: "So, Stanton on" ... and the game continues. ... NESN Being NESN.

After the Yankees took a 2-1 lead, the Red Sox threatened to grab it back. Jordan Montgomery (5.2-5-1-1-4, 81) hit Rafael Devers, allowed a single to Xander Bogaerts, and (after an out) committed a throwing error on Alex Verdugo's grounder. The bases were loaded, but Chavis (who had homered in the previous inning) grounded into a double play.

The Red Sox went in order in the fifth and another double play erased a leadoff walk n the sixth. (Boston's third inning also ended on a double play when J.D. Martinez lined out to right and Judge doubled Kevin Pillar off first base.)

Chad Green struck out four of the six Red Sox batters he faced from the mid-sixth into the eighth. Plate umpire Whitson rang up Boston's leadoff batter in the eighth, Jose Peraza on an outside pitch.

In the ninth, Jonathan Holder struck out Devers and walked Bogaerts. It was a 12-pitch walk, featuring seven foul balls from Zander: bbfcfffffbfb. Zack Britton started warming up, just in case. Holder threw seven pitches to Christian Vázquez, who hacked at a full-count pitch that was nearly on the ground and hit into a fielder's choice (I would have preferred the walk). Whitson blew another call in the Yankees' favor with Alex Verdugo at the plate (because he was sick of this game and had things to do, dammit). Verdugo grounded out to shortstop, freeing Whitson for the evening. I doubt he had an optometrist's appointment.
Ryan Weber / Jordan Montgomery
Pillar, RF
Martinez, DH
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Vázquez, C
Verdugo, LF
Chavis, 1B
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
Jordan Montgomery is making his 2020 debut, after recovering from TJ surgery.

Saturday: Zack Godley / Masahiro Tanaka
Sunday: TK / James Paxton

           W  L   GB   RS  RA  DIFF
Yankees    4  1  ---   26  21   + 5
Rays       4  3  1.0   38  28   +10
Red Sox    3  4  2.0   36  38   - 2
Blue Jays  3  4  2.0   25  26   - 1
Orioles    2  3  2.0   26  36   -11
MLB Ranking
Average:  Red Sox  .276  (#1) - Yankees  .223  (#21)
On-Base:  Red Sox  .336  (#8) - Yankees  .313  (#14)
Slugging: Red Sox  .447  (#5) - Yankees  .433   (#8)
OPS:      Red Sox  .783  (#6) - Yankees  .746  (#10)
ERA:      Red Sox  5.29 (#22) - Yankees  4.73  (#19)
WHIP:     Red Sox 1.460 (#25) - Yankees 1.150   (#8)

Manfred Warns Union That 2020 Season Could Be Shut Down As Early As This Monday (If Positive Tests Increase)

Commissioner Rob Manfred says the 2020 baseball season could be shut down as soon as Monday, August 3, if players don't "do a better job of managing the coronavirus", according to reports of Manfred's phone call with Players Association executive director Tony Clark.

Leave it to Manfred to blame the union while giving the impression that he believes (or hopes) the extremely thick and dark clouds hovering over baseball will suddenly go away and the sun will come out and every day will be beautiful. Manfred's attitude is not unlike another incompetent guy who should not have been put in charge of anything, who wastes his time focusing on all the wrong things, and does nothing right. That other guy still believes the virus is going to vanish on its own one day, allowing him to receive all the praise and credit (but he cannot understand why it's taking so long).

Manfred might be correct in this case. Scott Miller of CBS Sports tweets that an MLB investigation
found the Marlins were very lapse in following protocols during Atlanta trip last weekend, players going out, players in hotel bar, etc. Lots of MLB people very unhappy with Miami
Jeff Passan, ESPN, July 31, 2020 (4:55 ET):
The league and players recognize the coming days are a critical juncture following an outbreak among the Miami Marlins in which 18 players and two coaches have tested positive for COVID-19. Two positive tests by St. Louis Cardinals players on Friday exacerbated concerns inside the sport about the presence of the coronavirus and whether the jointly agreed-upon protocols are being followed properly to prevent outbreaks similar to Miami's.

Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut down the season, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on the call fear the season could be shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league's protocols.

State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league's 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players high-fiving, spitting and not wearing masks have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said.

Further, there is concern about off-the-field choices, with one high-ranking official saying: "There are some bad decisions being made."

The Cardinals' game against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed Friday and rescheduled to a doubleheader Sunday. Already, the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, who last played Miami on Sunday, were missing scheduled games, leaving 20% of the league's Friday slate empty.