April 11, 2021

Schadenfreude 282: (A Continuing Series)


Joel Sherman, Post:
You may recall last year, as the Yankees were dominated by the Rays in both the regular season and Division Series, they bemoaned the absences of Tommy Kahnle, James Paxton and Luis Severino.

It was a particularly weak alibi. Because the Yankees have three times the Rays' payroll to cover up problems. But also because Tampa Bay was even more devastated by injuries in 2020, especially to its pitching — and won the AL East and AL pennant anyway.

Nothing has changed in 2021. The Rays have nine players on the IL, including seven pitchers. Plus they lost two of their best starters — Charlie Morton to free agency and Blake Snell to a trade — in the offseason. They were hoping Chris Archer, in a return to the franchise, would help. But Archer left his first 2021 start with one out in the third Saturday, due to a lateral forearm strain.

Nevertheless, despite a restored lineup, the Yankees never scored. Maybe soon they can whine about not having Luke Voit. . . .

Over the first two games of this series, the Rays are crushing the Yankees, 14-5. Tampa Bay has beaten the Yankees in 13 of 17 games since the outset of last year, including the 2020 Division Series. Head-to-head, the Rays are the better team. They do not have bigger names or huger salaries, but they are a better team, with a strong mindset to overcome any loss or absence of resources. . . .

Tampa Bay is superior at run prevention — pitching plus defense. But the Rays' lineup might be making inroads, too, with the ability to mix and match parts to platoon advantages, the rising Randy Arozarena, the revived Austin Meadows and the top prospect in the game, Wander Franco, waiting for a call.

The Yankees lineup familiarly remained hit-or-miss. Keep them in the park, keep them off the board, keep them out of the win column. The Yankees have failed to homer in three games, including Saturday's, this year, and are 0-3 with four total runs in those games. On Saturday they were hitless in nine at-bats with men on base and did not get a hit over the final four innings. . . .

The outages are throughout the lineup. . . . Giancarlo Stanton continues to intersperse a "wow" exit velocity with swaths of empty at-bats. . . .

German, who allowed four runs in four innings Saturday, has swing-and-miss stuff. He also has hit-it-over-the-fence results. . . . [He has allowed] four homers in seven innings this year and 50 in 968 at-bats for his career, or one every 19.36 at-bats — roughly the frequency that Chipper Jones (19.2) hit them in his Hall of Fame career. . . .

The team that has perennially struggled with injuries is comparatively whole so far. The pain has not been physical through an uninspiring start. The pain is from how the Yankees are playing.


 

Bill Madden, Daily News:
Amazingly, we are barely two weeks into the baseball season and already the American League East is an absolute train wreck. . . .

For the longest time, scouts have been saying the Yankees will never win a World Series with Gary Sanchez as their catcher. They're still saying that, even though Sanchez has shown periodic signs of improvement behind the plate this spring. Now the new, more vocal critique is the Yankees can never win a World Series with Gleyber Torres as their shortstop. Not quite so vocal, but getting more and more repetitive is "the Yankees will never win a World Series with Aaron Hicks as their No. 3 hitter" refrain. All of these are legitimate questions, but none more so now than Torres, who is clearly out of his element at shortstop, with the yips only likely to get worse. . . .

Brian Cashman probably didn't foresee having to do some major lineup re-evaluations this quickly. But there's no getting around the fact this Yankee team has major flaws. . . . 

Cashman cannot afford to turn a blind eye to Torres' shortcomings — as he's done with Sanchez. The wise move would be to trade Torres now . . . 

The good news for the Yankees is the rest of the AL East is equally flawed.
Madden proceeds to write about some of the shortcomings of the Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles. But not the Red Sox. He actually has good things to say about Boston. So why did he begin by writing that the entire division is "an absolute train wreck" and each of the other four teams is as "equally flawed" as the Yankees?

Madden could think of nothing wrong with the Red Sox, outside of them dropping their first three games. But they have recovered and are now in first place and the Yankees are in the basement. Madden could not bring himself to say the entire division is a wreck except for Boston, so he wrote what he did not believe at the top of his column and then wrote the truth further down.

This is everything in his column about the Red Sox (which he further hid by including it in his paragraph about the Orioles):
[A]mid all the injuries besetting the floundering three division favorites, there has been one unexpected ray of optimism in the division coming out of Boston. Swept (by the Orioles of all teams) in their home opening series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1948, the Red Sox got a strong (8K, 1 BB, 2 ER) outing from Tanner Houck, their No. 1 draft pick in 2017 who they are hoping will be able to fill one of the rotation voids behind Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez. Equally impressive, out of the bullpen, has been Garrett Whitlock, the Rule 5 draft pick from the Yankees who after missing all of last year with Tommy John surgery, is also heading for the rotation as soon as his arm is built up.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Friday, the Yankees got to watch as the Rays raised their AL East division and AL championship banners at Tropicana Field. Saturday, they got reminded again why those flags aren't hanging in the Bronx.

Domingo German couldn't get past the fourth inning and the Yankees bats were silent as the Rays shut them out 4-0 at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees (3-5) have now lost three straight games. The Rays (4-4) have won five straight regular season series against the Yankees, dating back to Sept. 24, 2019. Of course, the Rays beat the Yankees last October in the American League Division Series as well.

During the three-game losing streak, the Yankees have scored a total of eight runs and have stranded 18 runners. Saturday they went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.

The Rays shut them out despite the fact starter Chris Archer had to leave with one out in the fourth inning. . . .

After missing the 2019 playoffs and all of the 2020 season while serving an 81-game suspension under the MLB/MLBPA joint domestic violence policy . . . German looked dominant in March and Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he was stunned there was “no rust.”

In April, however, that rust started to show . . .

He gave up long shots to Austin Meadows, the first runs the Yankees pitchers have allowed in the first inning this season, and Randy Arozarena on Saturday. He also gave up two homers in his first start of the season.

This isn't a new issue for him.

In 2019, German’s breakout season, he gave up 30 home runs in 27 appearances. In fact, he has given up at least one homer in 12 straight starts, dating back to July 18, 2019.


Dan Martin, Post:
Among the many things that have changed since last year, one has so far remained the same: The Yankees can't figure out the Rays.

Domingo German, in a second straight rough outing, allowed four runs in four innings as the Yankees lost their third game overall, 4-0 to Tampa Bay. . . .

German has brought little of the overwhelming stuff he featured in March into April. The right-hander gave up two more home runs and has allowed four in just seven innings of work this season.

And the Yankees' offense was no better, even though Rays starter Chris Archer was forced from the game after just 2.1 innings due to right lateral forearm tightness. . . .

German gave up two more runs in the second. Joey Wendle and Willy Adames opened the inning with singles to center. A groundout by Brett Phillips moved the runners to second and third. Francisco Mejia followed with a comebacker that bounced off German's glove toward first base. Jay Bruce, unsure what to do on the play, didn't go after the ball. By the time LeMahieu chased it down, both runners had scored and the Yankees trailed, 3-0. . . .

Randy Arozarena added to the lead in the third, leading off against German with a home run to center to make it 4-0.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
After his second short and shaky start . . . Domingo German was optioned to the alternate site Saturday night. . . .

German went just four innings Saturday, allowing four runs on eight hits, including two home runs in the Yankees 4-0 loss to the Rays.  That came on the heels of Corey Kluber being unable to get out of the third inning on Friday. . . .

German missed the end of the 2019 season and playoffs and all of the 2020 season serving an 81-game suspension under the domestic violence policy. He had looked sharp in spring training, but struggled with an old familiar problem in his two regular season starts.

In 2019, German's breakout season, he gave up 30 home runs in 27 appearances. In fact, he has given up at least one homer in 12 straight starts, dating back to July 18, 2019.

April 10, 2021

Enrique Hernández, Airborne

One of The Atlantic's "Photos of The Week":
Enrique Hernandez, April 7, 2021, Fenway Park. (Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox / Getty)

Schadenfreude 281: (A Continuing Series)

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

The Yankees stood on the third base line, most with their arms crossed and looking impatiently at the large video board over the left-field stands. On that jumbotron in Tropicana Field, flashed their nightmare ending from 2020. The Rays beating them in the regular season and winning the American League East and then again the highlights of them beating the Bombers in the AL Division Series, ending their season yet again in disappointment. . . .

Reality smacked the Yankees again after the unpleasant stroll down memory lane as well.

The Yankees looked flat, sluggish and sloppy on defense and Corey Kluber was not at all sharp Friday. Without Aaron Judge for the second straight game, the Yankees were routed by the Rays 10-5 . . .

The Rays won eight out of 10 regular season games against the Yankees last season and then took three in the best-of-five ALDS. . . .

The Yankees were charged with one error . . . but their defense was sloppy all day. . . .

Kluber was charged with five runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks . . . in 2.1 innings of work. . . . Kluber threw 62 pitches Friday, 39 for strikes. . . .

A scout watching the game said it was the best approach he had seen the Rays have to a pitcher this year and the worst he has seen the Yankees defense. . . .

It was a taxing loss for the Yankees and it came at the hands of a team they not only lost to, but they seem to really dislike.

Dan Martin, Post:

Aaron Hicks said . . . "This is a new year. We expect to go out there and dominate."

The plan got off to a bad start, as the Yankees . . . were throttled in a 10-5 loss . . .

Corey Kluber was knocked around — the victim of some poor infield defense — and the Yankees' offense was silent outside of a quick, four-run outburst in the third.

Kluber . . . after missing most of the past two seasons, gave up a pair of unearned runs in the second inning and three earned runs in the third. . . . [H]aving to throw 34 pitches in the third inning — with just one out — meant an early departure for the right-hander. . . .

While the Rays kept padding their lead, the Yankees' offense disappeared.

Ken Davidoff, Post:

Call this one a message in a bumble. . . .

The Yankees, who as you know lost eight of 10 regular-season battles and then the AL Division Series to the 2020 Rays, sure didn't present themselves as any sort of challenger on this day. To the contrary, they served as a salve for the Rays, who opened their home schedule as the owners of a 2-4 record . . .

Corey Kluber . . . fared poorly in his second start as a Yankee, failing to make it through the third inning as he took his team's one lead . . . and handed it back and then some in the bottom of the frame. In the spirit of spreading the blame, Kluber didn't receive much assistance from his defense, as DJ LeMahieu's second-inning throwing error . . . initiated a two-run rally. In the next play of that rally . . . Tyler Wade couldn't stop a Wendle grounder from reaching right field.

The game-turning, third-inning rally began after beleaguered Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres couldn't snare Yoshi Tsutsugo's foul pop to the left side after a long run; given another opportunity, Tsutsugo smacked a single to right field.  . . . [Y]ou couldn't help but wonder whether a more adept shortstop would have made the catch. . . .

The Yankees managed four baserunners . . . over the last six innings.

Throw in another Did Not Play from Judge, due to his mysterious left side injury, and the Yankees found few silver linings at the office. Zero reasons to make the Rays shake from their reintroduction.

Dan Martin, Post:

Aaron Judge sat again Friday for the Yankees' series-opening 10-5 loss to the Rays, continuing to battle soreness in his left side.

It was the second straight game in which the right fielder was held out of the lineup . . .

Judge looked to be in discomfort on the bases and in right field Tuesday during his most recent appearance. Boone has said the soreness Judge developed in that game was not the same reason he had been pulled after seven innings on Monday or sat out the final three Grapefruit League games during spring training. . . .

Boone added he wasn't sure exactly what Judge's current injury is . . . "I would say nothing is limiting him."

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Aaron Judge is out of the lineup again for the second straight game with "side soreness," which the Yankees say they have not defined. . . .

[T]here is a layer of mystery that surrounds Judge's ailment, which fuels the suspicion among fans and people around the game about the nature of the issue.

Aaron Boone was not sure how to answer what was wrong with Judge.

"I'm not sure . . . I don't feel good about calling in one thing or the other. . . . I don't think we haven't defined it as a specific what it is."

The Yankees manager would also not say if he thought the Yankees slugger was injured.

"[T]hat's a good question. I don't know how to answer that . . . I don't know. . . . It's a good question, but I'm not sure how to answer it." . . .

[Judge's] history of injuries makes this a sensitive topic for the Yankees, who have not handled the timelines or announcements of his injuries well in the past. . . . Judge's durability has become a hot-button issue not just for the players, but also the fans who have expressed frustration about the Yankees' ability to stay healthy. . . .

Phil Mushnick, Post:

Yankees telecasts on YES . . . mostly open to Michael Kay emoting overwritten, excited and often trite come-ons to stay tuned to watch something extra special. Then it's on to his tired "Let's do it!" just before the first pitch. He often sounds like the master of ceremonies at a Cub Scout jamboree or Professor Harold Hill selling tubas to local yokels.

It doesn't yet strike him that this kind of sell is unnecessary given that he's selling a telecast to those already watching. It's silly and insulting . . .

The YES sell doesn't end with the first pitch. It's next customized to fit players.

[On] Sunday the Yanks were down, 3-0, to the Blue Jays in the second, when Gary Sanchez, with one out and one on, flew out on a 3-2 pitch. David Cone was left impressed. It seems anytime Sanchez doesn't strike out or blocks a pitch in the dirt is cause to celebrate the end of his conspicuous, repetitive deficiencies . . .

Cone concluded Sanchez "is seeing the ball very well" and we'd just witnessed him in "a good at-bat."

Nonsense. Another believe-what-you're-told, ignore-what-you-see con. It was a miserable at-bat, as Sanchez fouled off a 3-1 pitch that was considerably low and outside. A walk to make it two on and one out had been lost to yet another indiscriminate Sanchez at-bat.

And to be told differently — that we should be impressed by what we'd just seen from Sanchez — was another hollow, even pathetic sell.

Wednesday, Sanchez was nearly forced out at second when he jogged from first on a Gio Urshela single to right. This time, after a replay showed Sanchez's usual disinclination to play winning baseball, Cone was left to conclude that his desultory jogging was "indefensible."

Given that Sanchez issued the incredible offseason complaint that no one explained to him why he was benched during last season's postseason — was he unaware that he'd become a chronic, two-way liability? — Aaron Boone on Wednesday had the opportunity to provide a here-and-now example. Boone should've pulled him from the game.

But Boone seems to manage on a wish, hopeful that we don't know better. . . . 

And, as seen and heard during his pre- and postgames on YES, Boone always seems satisfied with the least his players can do, thus he's seldom disappointed.

Linescore Fun:

The Rays scored 2 runs in the 2nd, 3 runs in the 3rd, and 4 runs in the 4th.

April 8, 2021

Eduardo Rodriguez Returns To The Mound, Faces Orioles On 587 Days Rest

Eduardo Rodriguez celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday and this afternoon, he returns to the mound for his first start in 587 days, facing the first-place Orioles in Baltimore. COVID-19 and myocarditis prevented Rodriguez from pitching last season.

Tanner Houck was optioned to the team's training site to make room in the roster.

Red Sox pitchers have allowed three earned runs or fewer in five of their six games. Boston is also the only team to have not allowed a home run this season (57 innings, 245 batters). The Red Sox are the third team since 2000 to allow no homers in the first six games of a season (2002 Giants, 2015 Tigers). The  1964 Red Sox started the season by not getting donged for seven games, the team's longest streak in the last 75 seasons.

I thought our pitching was supposed to suck.

After a forgettable 2020, J.D. Martinez is raking. He's batting .440 (11-for-25) and leads MLB with eight extra-base hits, which also ties the Red Sox record for most extra-base hits in the team's first six games (also Billy Werber in 1934 and Jose Offerman in 1999).

JDM also leads the AL in doubles (6), slugging (.920), and total bases (23). Since joining the Red Sox in 2018, Martinez leads the AL in total bases (783) and is tied for the MLB lead with 283 RBI.

Schadenfreude 280: (A Continuing Series)


Dan Martin, Post:
[A] costly error by Gleyber Torres, a bloop hit off Chad Green and a lack of timely hitting by the Yankees — along with a strong throw from right field by Anthony Santander — added up to a 4-3, 11-inning loss.

Chance Sisco's flare single to left off Green in the 11th scored automatic runner Rio Ruiz from third to put the Orioles ahead for good.

Brett Gardner bunted Gio Urshela to third in the bottom of the inning before DJ LeMahieu lofted a fly ball to shallow right. Urshela tried to score, but was thrown out by Santander.

Asked if he thought his fly ball would score Urshela when it left his bat, LeMahieu said: "Probably not." . . .

In the previous inning, Green had seemingly escaped trouble when he got Pedro Severino to ground to Torres with Santander at third and two out. But Torres made another poor play and bounced the throw to Jay Bruce at first. Bruce couldn't pick it and Santander scored the go-ahead run on the error. . . .

[T]he shortstop had made another misplay on Tuesday. . . .

Ken Davidoff, Post:
This is one throbbing secondary pinstriped headache. . . .

Gleyber Torres' 10th-inning throwing error didn't directly lead to the Yankees' 4-3 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday . . . Yet the shortstop's second official miscue of the year, on top of a couple of other memorable unofficial foul-ups, lowlighted the [evening] . . .

And it intensified the scrutiny on the fourth-year player, who arrived in the big leagues as a serviceable second baseman and has struggled to transition to . . . shortstop . . .

[In the 10th, with two outs] O's catcher Pedro Severino knocked an easy grounder to Torres. With plenty of time to get the slow-footed Severino, Torres unleashed an absolutely terrible throw that inexperienced first baseman Jay Bruce couldn't corral, allowing Santander to cruise home. Those who remained from the announced crowd of 10,254 let Torres have it with a stream of boos. . . .

[Torres] stood on deck in the bottom of the inning as Santander caught DJ LeMahieu's line drive to right field and nailed a tagging Gio Urshela at home, leaving Urshela disheveled . . . Urshela was OK, having "wretched his neck," and this seems like a good time to mention that the injury-prone Aaron Judge wasn't available and is in doubt for Friday . . .

For now, there's little for the Yankees to do besides support their youngest player and hope their faith pays dividends. . . . They've made their bed with him at the premium spot.

It's a headache . . .

Kristie Ackert, Daily News (April 5):

[T]he Yankees' hyped lineup opened the season with a bust instead of the bang they are known for. In losing two out of three to the Blue Jays, the Yankees hit .218 overall . . .

They went 4-for-24 (.167) with runners in scoring position over the three-game series and 10-for-47 (.213) with men on base.

But don't expect any major changes to the lineup . . .

The Blue Jays did that to the Yankees lineup with two replacement pitchers in Ross Stripling and R.J. Zeuch, because Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson were hurt. The headliners in their offense, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, went 3-for-14 and 0-for-8 respectively. Both had three strikeouts and neither had an extra base hit. . . .

The Yankees' No. 3 hitter had a particularly awful start to the season. Aaron Hicks had six strikeouts through the first two games — the first time in his career with three strikeouts in back-to-back games . . . Hicks had one, legged-out infield single in 12 at-bats on the weekend [and] struck out seven times.

That spot is usually reserved for a hitter who delivers runs, but . . .


April 7, 2021

Red Sox Sweep Rays; Angel Hernandez Sucks; Judge Might Be Hurt (So Soon?)

After being swept by the Orioles, who are likely to spend the season mired in the AL East basement, the Red Sox went out and took three straight from the Rays, the defending AL champions. There's no figuring baseball, Suzyn.

Of the 20 times the Red Sox have started a season 0-3, this is only the second time they won their next three games (also 1951).

J.D. Martinez (.440/.481/.920) has eight extra-base hits in the season's first six games, tying the franchise record held by Billy Werber (1934) and Jose Offerman (1999). Martinez also has an extra-base hit in all six games, something only two other Red Sox players have done: Faye Throneberry (1955) and David Ortiz (2005).

Martinez's 11 RBI are the most by a Boston player through the first six games of a season since 1955, when Throneberry (12) and Sammy White (11) each did so.

Last night: The Red Sox trailed 4-5 with two outs in 12th inning and an 0-2 count on Alex Verdugo. Then Verdugo was hit by a pitch and he and Hunter Renfroe advanced on a wild pitch before Martinez's game-winning single.

Boston trailed in the 9th, 11th, and 12th innings. The last time the Red Sox won a game in which they trailed three separate times in the ninth inning and later was August 21, 1954, when they beat the Yankees 10-9 in 12 innings.
Yankees - 100 000 050 201 -  9 15  0
Red Sox - 001 030 101 202 - 10 12  1
New York Post:
Aaron Judge's health is already a concern.

The right fielder was held out of the starting lineup Wednesday against the Orioles with . . . "general soreness in his [left] side".

Judge didn't dive for a ball in right field [on Tuesday] . . . and didn't seem to run aggressively on the bases . . .

April 6, 2021

JDM Gives Red Sox First Walkoff Hit When Trailing In 12th Inning (Or Later) In 54 Years

Rays    - 002 001 000 011 - 5  8  0
Red Sox - 100 000 011 012 - 6 10 0

After a two-out wild pitch put runners at second and third, J.D. Martinez doubled them home for a 6-5 come-from-behind victory in 12 innings. 

It was Boston's first walkoff hit when trailing in the 12th inning or later since Jose Tartabull's two run single on April 29, 1967 beat the Kansas City Athletics 11-10 in 15 innings. And it was the Red Sox's first walkoff hit when trailing in any extra inning since April 13, 2001, when Manny Ramirez beat Fruitbat and the MFY 3-2 (10) with two-run single, aided by a Dumbo passedballa.

JDM (who is 10-for-21 and now has four straight multi-hit games) has at least one extra-base hit in each of the first five games. Four other Red Sox have done that:

Jackie Jensen       1954
Fave Throneberry    1955
Jose Offerman       1999
David Ortiz         2005

Red Sox pitchers have not given up a home run in the first five games. It's the longest season-opening streak since 1992 (six games).

It was the first time (after 3,626 regular-season games) the Rays lost a game in which they scored in multiple extra innings.

Vince Velasquez is the first Phillies reliever in franchise history to give up four earned runs but no hits.  But three starters did it: Lefty Weinert (June 24, 1923), Hal Carlson (June 6, 1925), and Pat Combs (June 26, 1991).

The Athletics are off to an 0-6 start for the second time in franchise history. The 1916 Philadelphia Athletics started 0-6 and finished 36-117. (From June 27 to August 8, they went 2-41. Ouch.)

The Reds set a team record with 46 runs in their first five games of a season, topping their previous record of 44 (1976). The last team to score as many as 46 runs in their first five games was the 2001 Rockies (48).

Akil Baddoo is the fifth Tigers player to have a hit and an RBI in the first three games of his career:
Dale Alexander (1929), Don Ross (1938), Johnny Lipon (1942), and Ron Cash (1973).

Earlier

Garrett Whitlock made his major league debut on Sunday against the Orioles. He is the only Red Sox pitcher to have allowed no runs and no walks and strike out five or more batters in his debut.

Nathan Eovaldi became only the third Red Sox pitcher to allow one or no runs over five-plus innings in consecutive Opening Day starts. He joins Frank Sullivan (1955-56) and Pedro Martinez (2000-01).

Marwin Gonzalez is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to start each of a team's first four games of a season at four different fielding positions (G1: LF, G2: 2B, G3: 3B, G4: 1B). In the Red Sox's first 120 years, no player started even the first three games of a season at three different (non-DH) positions. but it has happened twice in 2021: Gonzalez and Alex Verdugo (G1: CF, G2: RF, G3: LF).

The Boston Bananas



I may be old and in the way, but these yellow and blue uniforms are ugly. And more importantly, they are a cheap marketing gimmick, a live-action advertisement in MLB's never-ending drive to make an extra buck.

The team will be inflicting these monstrosities on us on April 17. The Red Sox are one of seven teams (Marlins, White Sox, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants, Dodgers) wearing these alternative uniforms this year. "They will be worn for multiple seasons and the collection will eventually grow [by 2023] to encapsulate the entire league."

Red Sox executive Adam Grossman calls this business collaboration "an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of a weekend that is uniquely Boston". These colors recognize Boston's "boldness, culture and creativity".

[T]he blue and yellow colors are born from Boston's Boylston Street, the major artery of the city where the Boston Marathon takes place. The yellow and blue are ringers for the same colors used on the permanent finish line painted on the street. The "Boston" typeface, with its stenciled appearance, is meant to mirror the street paint itself. On the left sleeve you'll see a racing bib, another nod to the marathon.
If you say so. That article also notes that the idea for these uniforms was "honed and pruned" over a "three-year development process". Three years!

Apparently, there are marketing people out there who believe uniforms like this will cause younger people who are not baseball fans to regularly watch games listing more than three hours.

The average TV viewer for MLB is 57 years old, according to one poll—15 years older than the average TV viewer for the National Basketball Association (NBA). . . . [O]ver the next decade, the MLB needs to recruit younger fans, and those fans need to watch games, to sustain the sport for generations to come.

Uniforms are one way to do that. As apparel companies have demonstrated with the NBA, novel apparel, created for limited time events rather than just home or away games, can not only convince fans to buy more jerseys, but can also welcome new fans with whom traditional jerseys might not resonate.
I don't understand how a "limited time" shirt can create long-term fans who will keep spending money, but I guess that's why I'm not running my own marketing firm.

In Which A US Senator Argues That Affordable Yankees Tickets Is A Right Guaranteed By The Constitution And A US Representative (Who Is Pro-Sexual Assault) Thinks The Constitution Allows Minors To Drink Beer

The 2021 All-Star Game will be played in Colorado.

It has not been cancelled.

. . .

Breaking News!

Demented Moron Cannot Find Baseball Game To Watch Because Games Are On Every Channel

April 5, 2021

Shohei Ohtani Pitches & Bats In Same Game For First Time
(Strikes Out 7, Throws 100+ Nine Times, Hits 451-Foot Home Run)

Shohei Ohtani is my favourite player in baseball right now.

On Sunday night, he pitched and batted for the first time in his major league career, and is the first pitcher to bat second in a lineup in more than 118 years (Jack Dunleavy, Cardinals, September 7, 1903). Only two pitchers have hit for themselves in a DH-game since Ken Brett did it twice in 1976: Andy Sonnanstine (2009, lineup card mistake) and Madison Bumgarner (2016, interleague start).

Ohtani, 26 years old, struck out seven White Sox batters over 4.2 innings, topping 100 mph nine times. (Before last night, he had cracked 100 mph a total of seven times in his previous 13 starts combined.)

He also crushed a 451-foot home run on the first pitch he saw in the first inning, becoming the first American League starting pitcher to homer against an AL team since Roric Harrison on the final day of the 1972 season (October 3). Thus, Ohtani is the first starting pitcher to homer in an AL game since the DH debuted in 1973.

The home run had an exit velocity of 115.2 mph, the hardest hit homer by an Angels player since at least 2015 (when Statcast debuted). It was the longest regular-season home run of Ohtani's career (49 homers to date). He hit two dongs in spring training this year that were estimated at more than 460 feet. . . .Ohtani also lined out on a ball he hit at 110 mph. That was the second-hardest hit ball of the game, by any player on either team.

2021: Ohtani has thrown the fastest pitch (100.6 mph) and hit the hardest-hit home run (115.2 mph). He's also first player to hit a ball 110+ mph off the bat and throw a pitch 100+ mph in the same game (tracked by Statcast).

I'm glad I got this game under my belt. It will lead to more confidence.

Also: Mike Trout swung at a 3-0 pitch that was out of the strike zone for the first time in nearly five years (May 7, 2016).

Schadenfreude 279: (A Continuing Series)

Joel Sherman, Post:
The Yankee offense made it sound like 2020.

Which in 2021 is particularly offensive — though these Yankees certainly cannot be accused of being offensive through the first weekend of the season.

There were 10,066 spectators at the Stadium on Easter Sunday — a full house with 20 percent-capacity rules — and if you closed your eyes it would have been easy to believe this was another game played like 2020 before no fans. Such was the feeble effort of the Yankee lineup. Such was the silencing effect of one fruitless at-bat after another. . . .

In losing the rubber game of this series 3-1 to the Blue Jays, the Yankees offered a tale of two inadequacies. Through the first six innings they struck out just once, but went 1-for-10 with men on base and hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Yanks then went nine up, nine down with five whiffs over the last three innings. . . .

[T]he Yanks lost two of three . . . to a Toronto team playing without its key offseason acquisition, George Springer, who was out with an oblique injury. And they lost two of three with little offense though Toronto used replacement starters Saturday (Ross Stripling) and Sunday (T.J. Zeuch) with Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson injured.

"We had a little bit of a cold weekend," Boone said. If this was just a "little bit" of a cold weekend no Yankee fan should want to see a deep freeze. . . .

This provided three more games of evidence that when the Yanks do not get the ball over a fence they will have difficulty generating runs. [Five of the team's eight runs] on the weekend came on [two] infield singles . . . a two-run bloop single . . . and a . . . groundout.

[T]hey were 4-for-24 (.167) with no extra-base hits in the three games with runners in scoring position and 10-for-47 (.213) with men on base. [Overall, the Yankees hit .212 (22-for-104).]

The culprits were many. One, Giancarlo Stanton [0-for-8 with three strikeouts] was given Sunday off because, Boone said, he did not want the oft-injured DH playing five straight days early in the season. But as big a problem of all were the Aarons — Judge and Hicks — at Nos. 2 and 3 in the lineup. They were 0-for-8 Sunday and 4-for-26 in the series. Judge hit into another double play with runners in scoring position. . . .
Hicks had a weekend of one flaccid at-bat after another. He had one hit in 12 at-bats and that was a ground single off the glove of a diving [second baseman]. . . . Hicks' batting average has gone from .266 to .248 to .235 to .225 the past four years. He is 1-for-12 this season. . . .

Yep, it was just one series — the first ever to welcome fans back after a pandemic season. The Yanks doused the enthusiasm of the return with one quiet at-bat after another. The silence it produced at the Stadium was a loud indicator of a lost weekend.
Greg Joyce, Post:
The way Domingo German had pitched in spring training to win the Yankees' fifth starter job made his first regular-season start in 19 months a much-anticipated one.

But Sunday turned out to be a dud, and not just for the right-hander.

German gave up a pair of homers in a three-inning start and the Yankees' quiet bats offered no help as they fell to the Blue Jays, 3-1 . . .

The Yankees mustered only five hits against T.J. Zeuch and a parade of Blue Jays relievers, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The final 11 Yankees batters were retired in order . . .

[German] needed 68 pitches to get through three innings — including 34 in the three-run second inning . . .

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led off the second by tagging a fastball for an opposite-field home run to put the Blue Jays up 1-0. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then singled before German left a changeup over the heart of the plate to Randal Grichuk, who crushed it to left field for a two-run homer and the 3-0 lead. . . .

German got little support from his offense. . . . The Yankees had other chances to put together rallies, but failed to do so, stranding a runner in every inning from the second to the sixth.

April 4, 2021

Theater Of The Absurd: The Same People Who Criticize "Cancel Culture"
Are Demanding Things They Suddenly Don't Like Be "Cancelled"

Does this now mean I have to watch every game?

Donald Trump, July 3, 2020:
One of their political weapons is "cancel culture" . . . shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.
No one in the United States has called for more boycotts and demanded more people be fired than Donald Trump. Here is an extremely incomplete list of companies, products, and people he has said should be "cancelled":
Italy
Mexico
Scotland
All products made in China
Amazon
Google
Facebook
Twitter
Macy's
Apple
Goodyear
Glenfiddich Whiskey
Oreos
New Balance
Under Armour
AT&T
T-Mobile
Boeing
Merck
Nordstrom
General Motors
Toyota Motor Corp.
Nike
Harley Davidson
New York Times
Washington Post
Rolling Stone
New York Magazine
Dallas Morning News
Arizona Republic
Wall Street Journal editorial board
CNN
ABC News
NBC News
ESPN
CBS
HBO
CNBC
Univision
Touré (MSNBC)
Chris Matthews (MSNBC)
Graydon Carter (Vanity Fair)
Charles Krauthammer (conservative writer)
Rich Lowry (National Review)
Jonah Goldberg (National Review)
Sopan Deb (CBS News)
Katy Tur (NBC/MSNBC)
Karl Rove (Republican commentator)
Megyn Kelly (Fox News)
Chuck Todd (NBC)
Paul Krugman (New York Times)
Dave Weigel (Washington Post)
Fox News pollsters
Joe Lockhart (CNN analyst)
Joy Reid (MSNBC)
Chris Cuomo (CNN)
Debra Messing (actor)
Tom Ford (designer)
Trump's fellow conservatives have also called for boycotts of: Walmart, Netflix, Budweiser, Starbuck's, Keurig coffee makers, Target, Pepsi, and Gillette. Sports: These people have been whining so loudly about the "evils" of "cancel culture", yet they also :
demand everyone boycott the NFL because players knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality

demand everyone boycott the NBA because players knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality

demand everyone boycott NASCAR because it banned the flag of a pro-slavery country that declared war on the United States

demand everyone boycott MLB because this year's All-Star game will be played in a different stadium than first announced
The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

Yermin Mercedes: First Player In Modern Era To Begin Season 8-For-8

After a last-place finish in 2020, and the team's worst winning percentage in the last 55 years (and second-worst since 1932), the Red Sox have begun the new season 0-3. They were swept by the Orioles 0-3, 2-4, and 3-11.

Hope spring eternal . . . but, sometimes, not for very long.

Right-hander Garrett Whitlock (#72) made his major league debut out of the bullpen in the third inning. He prevented the Orioles from adding to their 7-spot in the frame and ended up pitching 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. (He also threw two wild pitches.) . . . Christian Vázquez had three hits in Sunday's loss, half of Boston's total.

The Orioles had 17 hits at Fenway (but no home runs) for the first time since June 20, 1986

Garrett Richards is the first Boston pitcher to give up six earned runs and get fewer than six outs in his first start of a season since Steve Ontiveros on September 16, 2000.

J.D. Martinez went 6-for-12 in the series, and hit his first dong of the year. Martinez had an extra-base hit in each of the three games of the season. The only other player in Red Sox history to do that and have the team lose all three games was Mike Greenwell (1989).

Doubled In Each Of First Three Games Of A Season (Red Sox)

Ira Flagstead     1926
Mickey Vernon     1956
Bill Buckner      1986
Jose Offerman     1999
Mike Lowell       2007
Xander Bogaerts   2018
J.D. Martinez     2021

Yermin Mercedes of the White Sox began the season 8-for-8, something no player in the modern era (dating back to 1900) had ever done. Mercedes had only one major league at-bat prior to 2021. He is also the first player to bang out five hits in the first start of his career since Cecil Travis of the Senators, who went 5-for-7 on May 16, 1933, but his fifth hit came in the 10th inning.

April 2 (DH, batting 8th)
T3: Singled to center, scored run
T4: Singled to left, two RBI
T6: Singled to left
T8: Singled to right-center
T9: Doubled to left, two RBI

April 3 (DH, batting 6th)
T2: Home run to left, RBI, scored run
T4: Singled to center
T6: Doubled to left-center, RBI
T8: Flied out to deep center

Akil Baddoo of the Tigers homered on the first major league pitch of his career. He is the ninth Tigers player to homer in his first major league at-bat. Baddoo, a Rule 5 Draft pick, had not played in a game above Class A ball before Sunday.

Here is a list of 31 players who have homered on the first big-league pitch they saw, including old friend Daniel Nava, who hit a grand slam for the Red Sox on June 12, 2010. (Nava's second major league at-bat also came with the bases loaded, in the very next inning. He struck out.)

The Dodgers' first home run of the year was an opposite-field, stand-up, inside-the-park job from pinch-hitter Zach McKinstry, the first home run of his career.

The Cubs scored three runs on two hits on Thursday and four runs on three hits on Sunday. The only other teams since 1900 to have two "inverted linescores" (R > H) within their first three games of a season are the 1974 Brewers and 1978 Brewers.

1974 Brewers

  April 5
  Red Sox -  9 11  1
  Brewers -  8  6  0
  
  April 6
  Red Sox -  4  8  2
  Brewers -  5  4  0
1978 Brewers
  April 7
  Orioles -  3  9  2
  Brewers - 11  9  0
  
  April 8
  Orioles -  3  8  4
  Brewers - 16 15  1
2021 Cubs
  April 2
  Pirates -  5  9  2
  Cubs    -  3  2  0
  
  April 4
  Pirates -  3  7  1
  Cubs    -  4  3  0

Opening Day Pitching Factoid

After the Red Sox's Opening Day loss to the Orioles, I read this in the Washington Post regarding Baltimore starter John Means (7-1-0-0-5, 97):

The last pitcher to strike out five or more batters while allowing one or fewer hits in seven or more innings on Opening Day was Boston Beaneaters starter Irv Young in 1906, according to Baseball Reference's Stathead service.

I hadn't even finished reading the sentence when I was thinking "Wait a minute . . ."

Many baseball fans know that on Opening Day in 1940, Feller pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox (9-0-0-5-8). Feller pitched nine innings, allowed no hits, and struck out more than five batters. So why was he apparently ignored in BRef's Stathead search?

MLB.com's story may clear things up:

Means became the first O's pitcher (since at least 1901) to go seven-or more innings on Opening Day allowing one hit or fewer. He also became just the third pitcher in baseball history to do so without also issuing a walk, joining Irv Young in 1906 and Jordan Zimmermann in 2019.

The Post's factoid was not limited only to Orioles pitchers since it mentioned a Boston pitcher. Maybe the Post writer forgot to mention "and no walks", which would disqualify Feller, but then why didn't he include Zimmermann (7-1-0-0-4, 70)?

The Orioles' Game Notes the following day stated:

Means became the first pitcher in Orioles history to work at least 7.0 innings, while allowing one or fewer hits and no runs in a start at Fenway Park.

Means became the 17th pitcher in Major League history, and first Oriole, to toss at least 7.0 innings, while allowing one or fewer hits in a start on Opening Day.

Means became the third pitcher in MLB history to go at least 7.0 innings on Opening Day and allow one or fewer hits while not walking a batter (Jordan Zimmermann - DET, 2019 and Irv Young - Boston Beaneaters, 1906).

It seems clear that the Post writer (Jon Meoli) committed two errors on one play (or sentence). He forgot to include "no walks" and then neglected to include Zimmermann. Plus it looked like BRef was to blame.

April 2, 2021

MLB Pulling 2021 All-Star Game, Draft Out Of Atlanta

The 2021 All-Star Game will not be played in Atlanta, Georgia.

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Friday that after "thoughtful conversations" with former and current players, the Players Association, and teams' front office executives, the All-Star Game and MLB Draft will be relocated.

Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. . . . We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support. . . . We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.

The decision comes after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill restricting the right to vote. The bill

imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.

The 95-page law also strips authority from the secretary of state, making him a nonvoting member of the State Election Board, and allows lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards — measures that critics said could allow partisan appointees to slow down or block election certification or target heavily Democratic jurisdictions, many of which are in the Atlanta area and are home to the state’s highest concentrations of Black and Brown voters.

Kemp signed the measures designed to suppress votes from non-whites surrounded by six white men gathered under a painting of the notorious Callaway Plantation, where more than 100 Black people had been enslaved. Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer calls the painting "a monument to Georgia's history of brutal white supremacy":

The portrait of the plantation was the starkest reminder of Georgia's history of white racism that spans slavery, Jim Crow segregation, the rebirth of the modern Ku Klux Klan, and today's voter purges targeting Black and brown voters — but it wasn't the only one. At the very moment that Kemp was signing the law with his all-white posse, a Black female Georgia lawmaker — Rep. Park Cannon — who'd knocked on the governor's door in the hopes of watching the bill signing was instead dragged away and arrested by state troopers, in a scene that probably had the Deep South's racist sheriffs of yesteryear like Bull Connor or Jim Clark smiling in whatever fiery hellhole they now inhabit.

Bunch notes that the Callaway Plantation is now a 56-acre historic site. Its promotional material glosses over the fact that it was slavery that made the plantation successful. That reminded me of our 1991 music vacation to Louisiana and Mississippi, during which we took a tour of a planation, probably not unlike what tourists can do at Callaway. Our tour guide made reference to the housing where the "workers" lived. Someone interrupted: "You mean slaves, right?" She hemmed and hawed before reluctantly and quietly acknowledging that fact and quickly moving on to another topic.

It was probably inevitable that MLB would be forced to act after President Joe Biden weighed in on Wednesday, calling the new law "Jim Crow on steroids" and saying he "would strongly support" moving the game out of Atlanta.

The Atlanta team issued a statement and committed some apostrophe abuse:

Opening Day: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0

The Red Sox will open their 121st season against the Orioles this afternoon at Fenway Park (after Thursday's postponement). First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 ET.

For the first time since September 29, 2019 (a walk-off win against Baltimore), fans will be in attendance for a game at Fenway. As per Massachusetts regulations, rough 4,500 fans (12% capacity) will be allowed to attend.

Xander Bogaerts:

We made a lot of new changes and have a lot of new faces. AC came back as a manager. The pitching has been getting better and we have a lot of big arms in the bullpen. And, obviously, we traded for some guys with experience and signed some guys also. So this year we're looking much better than we did last year -- that's for sure.

Lineup

Kiké Hernández, 2B
Alex Verdugo, CF
J.D. Martinez, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Rafael Devers, 3B
Hunter Renfroe, RF
Marwin Gonzalez, LF
Christian Vázquez, C
Bobby Dalbec, 1B

Nathan Eovaldi will be the starting pitcher.

Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will be on the left side of the Red Sox infield for the fourth straight Opening Day. The last time Boston had a left-side duo start four consecutive openers was 1914-17 (third baseman Larry Gardner and shortstop Everett Scott).

The Red Sox are 59-60-1 all-time on Opening Day (excluding G2 of doubleheaders in 1903, 1948, and 1982). The Red Sox are 22-18 on Opening Day at Fenway Park and have won their last four Opening Day games at home (2009, 2010, 2017, 2020).

NESN has added four analysts to its lineup: Mo Vaughn, Kevin Youkilis, Ellis Burks, and Jonathan Papelbon. Unfortunately, the network still thinks it's a good idea to give Dave O'Brien a paycheque for misinforming viewers about basic baseball history (and never acknowledging his errors), so my non-mute viewing time will be severely limited.

Opening Day Roster

Catchers: Christian Vázquez, Kevin Plawecki

Infielders: Bobby Dalbec, Kiké Hernández, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marwin Gonzalez, Christian Arroyo

Outfielders: Franchy Cordero, Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe

Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez

Starters: Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Richards, Martín Pérez, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck

Relievers: Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, Hirokazu Sawamura, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, Matt Andriese, Garrett Whitlock, Austin Brice, Phillips Valdez

Barnes has been cleared to pitch, after testing positive for COVID-19.

It was crazy to me when I found out on Saturday morning . . . I went to the grocery store for 30 minutes and that was it. Other than that, it was the field and my house. And I felt completely fine. . . . Being the union rep, I was one of the people who helped build these protocols, if you will, or helped sign off on these protocols for everybody, so I know them very well. . . . [E]ven before we had COVID, in 2018 or 2019, I didn't go anywhere in Spring Training anyways, let alone when we have a global pandemic.

Vázquez was hit in the left eye by a thrown ball during a pitchers fielding drill last Thursday.

The pitcher was throwing the ball to home and I was watching first, I was talking about something at first base. Sawamura threw the ball and hit me. I saw the ball right here in my face and it knocked me down to the floor. [The ball shattered Vázquez's sunglasses] Those sunglasses saved my eye. If I don't have the sunglasses, it's a different story. All hits in the face, you're worried. I was worried about my eye. When I got hit, I opened the eye, I was seeing, so that's a good sign. That's the only concern I had. . . . My eye is good. I can see perfect. . . . They're going to take off the stitches before the game on Thursday and put in butterfly stitches.

From Chad Jennings's (The Athletic) first impressions before Opening Day:

Most Opening Day starts by any Red Sox position player is — and perhaps always will be — Carl Yastrzemski with 22. He started 15 Opening Day games in left field, four at first base, two as the designated hitter and one (1977) in right field.

Schadenfreude 278: (A Continuing Series)


Dan Martin, Post (early edition, 5:12 pm):

For the first time since 2019, Yankees fans got to boo in The Bronx.

The Yankees suffered a season-opening 3-2 loss in 10 innings to Toronto on Thursday, blowing several opportunities to put the game away, including in the bottom of the ninth.

Then in the 10th, Nick Nelson allowed an RBI double to Randal Grichuk, scoring Jonathan Davis from second . . .

The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the inning, as Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres all struck out against Julian Merryweather, but the game was really lost in the ninth, when the Yankees couldn't push the winning run across. . . .

Aaron Judge said of the crowd reaction . . . "[T]hey let us know when we don't do our job . . ."

Judge put himself at the top of the list, pointing to his inning-ending double play in the seventh, when the Yankees had the bases loaded and the game was tied, and then again two innings later, when he struck out with the winning run at third.

Gary Sanchez started the bottom of the ninth with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Tauchman, who stole second.

After Jay Bruce struck out, Tauchman swiped third with Clint Frazier at the plate, forcing the infield in. Frazier then walked — replaced at first by Brett Gardner — to bring up DJ LeMahieu.

But LeMahieu grounded to third and Tauchman was thrown out at the plate, then Judge whiffed to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
[The Yankees lineup] went 4-for-32 with 13 strikeouts. . . . That included . . .Aaron Judge, who struck out swinging with the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth. It also included three strikeouts from Giancarlo Stanton, who struck out with Judge placed on second base in the bottom of the 10th. The Yankees went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Thursday and stranded 10 runners.

"In the seventh having the bases loaded one out, I was just trying to get the ball in the air, give us the lead. Then I end up grounding out into double play ending the inning," Judge said. "Then there in the ninth too, same thing. Guys in scoring position, just, hit something the other way, get it in the gap and watch the guys run. I wasn't able to come through. Let the team down twice there.

"Even the ball over my head [Randal Grichuk's double in the 10th inning that scored Toronto's winning run]. That's another opportunity we could have at least held them or at least caught that or cut the guy off from scoring and didn't do it," Judge continued. "So, you know, a lot of missed opportunities on my part."
Joel Sherman, Post:
The Yankees welcomed fans back to their Stadium with the familiar. . . . 

Gleyber Torres is a second baseman playing shortstop and the Yankees remain challenged to score when the ball does not clear a fence. . . .

Judge was a main culprit, grounding into a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh of a tie game and whiffing with two on to close the ninth. The Yanks had the leadoff runner on in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and with the automatic man on second in the 10th. They never scored. Overall, the Yanks were 3-for-19 with men on base and hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position. Beginning with Judge's double play, the Yanks closed the game 0-for-10 with men on base with seven strikeouts.

Aaron Boone mentioned that he could feel the returning crowds "ready to erupt" late in the game. They did. In derision. It was particularly pointed toward . . . Stanton, who whiffed in each of his final three at-bats, each time with the tie-breaking run on base. . . .

Judge and Stanton had started together in just 33 of the Yankees' 222 regular-season games the past two years. But their presence together was not a positive Thursday. They were 1-for-10 with five strikeouts . . .

Dan Martin, Post:
Gleyber Torres is in better condition than he was for much of last season, but he still doesn't look much like a shortstop.

Torres had a pair of tough plays . . . on Thursday in the season opener.

The first came when Teoscar Hernandez hit a sharp grounder to lead off the top of the second, and the ball got by Torres and into left field. Hernandez scored later in the inning for the game's first run.

Torres had a worse play in the top of the ninth, again with Hernandez at the plate. Torres did not charge a grounder, then took his time getting rid of the ball. His throw to first was late and Hernandez had another hit.
Dan Martin, Post:
Giancarlo Stanton . . . went 0-for-5, struck out in his final three at-bats and heard boos after each of his final two plate appearances . . . 

Manager Aaron Boone said he didn't think the poor reception from the crowd would impact the slugger. . . . "[H]is process is so good, his game plan is so good and he's diligent."