April 29, 2022

Trevor Bauer Suspended For 324 Games (Two Full Seasons) For Admitted Sexual Assault
(Updated: Another Woman Comes Forward To Accuse Bauer Of Violent Sexual Assault)

Major League Baseball has suspended Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for 324 games (two full seasons) under its domestic violence policy. The suspension (scheduled to begin tonight) is in addition to the games Bauer missed while on administrative leave: 81 last season and 18 this season.

[Update: The Washington Post reports a new woman has come forward to accuse Bauer of violently assaulting her without her consent. She says Bauer choked her unconscious without her consent in 2013, slapped her without her consent, and anally penetrated her while she was unconscious. She shared with the Washington Post screenshots of text messages documenting her relationship with Bauer.]

Bauer stated he would appeal the suspension. It is unclear on what grounds his appeal would rest, since during his hearing on sexual assault charges, Bauer did not deny sworn evidence that he choked a woman to unconsciousness before punching and sodomizing her. Bauer's lawyers did not deny this evidence, either.

MLB/MLBPA's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy states:

Sexual assault refers to a range of behaviors, including a completed nonconsensual sex act, an attempted nonconsensual sex act, and/or nonconsensual sexual contact. Lack of consent is inferred when a person uses force, harassment, threat of force, threat of adverse personnel or disciplinary action, or other coercion, or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, unconscious or legally incapable of consent. (my emphasis)

Bauer's groundless, time-wasting appeal should be quickly dismissed.

His 324-game suspension will last until the Dodgers' 19th game of the 2024 season, which is beyond the term of Bauer's current contract with the team. Bauer will lose a total of roughly $60 million in salary while suspended.

Previous posts about Bauer:

Pasadena Police Investigating Sexual Assaults By Dodgers Pitcher Trevor Bauer (Victim Was Punched Repeatedly In the Genitals And Suffered A Skull Fracture & Significant Facial Trauma)
July 2, 2021

Bauer Accused Of Punching And Choking A Second Woman (Who Also Asked For A Protection Order)
August 16, 2021

After Bauer Argues Any Woman Who Agrees To Have Sex With Him Assumes The Risk Of Being Assaulted While Unconscious, MLB Must Make A Decision Re Suspension
August 20, 2021

Trevor Bauer Will Not Face Criminal Charges For Sexual Assault (Despite His Lawyers Admitting He Committed Sexual Assault)
February 9, 2022

Weak-Hitting Red Sox, Having Lost 7 Of Last 9, Visit Orioles For Weekend

To call the Red Sox lineup that Alex Cora wrote up on Thursday to face Toronto's Alek Manoah "weak" would be an understatement.

Boston's 4-9 hitters were (with current averages):

Kiké Hernandez     .197
Jackie Bradley     .161
Christian Arroyo   .194
Bobby Dalbec       .154
Travis Shaw        .000 [0-for-19]
Christian Vázquez  .209

Trevor Story was at the top of the lineup, where he has batted .207 over seven games (.224 overall).

Not surprisingly, the Red Sox were held to only four hits and lost 1-0.

Boston (8-12, 5.5 GB) now has lost seven of their last nine games. The Red Sox are hitting .210 and scoring 3.1 runs per game on this current road trip (through seven games). Overall this season, they have been held to two or fewer runs in almost half of their games (9 of 20).

The team has also gone six games without hitting a home run. Their most recent dong came last Friday. The Red Sox had not gone six consecutive games without a homer since April 11-16, 2001.

Rich Hill gets the ball tonight in Baltimore against the Orioles (6-13, 7 GB), a team the Red Sox would  dearly love to stay above in the AL East. They'll need to get a few bats going (at the very least) to do that.

April 28, 2022

Rōki Sasaki's Streak Of 52 Consecutive Batters Retired Ends On First Pitch Of April 24 Start

Rōki Sasaki, the 20-year-old pitching phenom for Chiba Lotte Marines (Nippon Pro Baseball), saw his streak of 52 consecutive batters retired come to an abrupt end in his most recent start. On April 24, Shuhei Fukuda, leading off for the Orix Buffaloes, the victims of Sasaki's perfect game two weeks earlier, singled on the first pitch of the game

Sasaki's pitching line in Chiba Lotte's 6-3 win was nothing you'd look twice at: 5-6-2-3-4. He also hit two batters.

On April 10, he pitched the first NPB perfect game in 28 years, striking out 19 Orix Buffaloes (including 13 in a row). The 19 strikeouts tied a record; the 13 consecutive Ks shattered the old NPB record of nine. Sasaki struck out Orix's 3-4-5 hitters in all nine of their plate appearances. Sasaki (whose fastball was clocked at 101.9 mph earlier this season) was also the youngest pitcher in NPB history to throw a perfect game.

In his next start, on April 16, Sasaki pitched eight perfect innings against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (with 14 strikeouts) before being pulled after 102 pitches. The game was scoreless at that point; Chiba Lotte lost 1-0 in extra innings.

April 27, 2022

MLB's 2017 Investigation Into Yankees' Claim Of Sign-Stealing By Red Sox Found Yankees Had Cheated In Exactly The Same Way In 2015-16 (But Manfred Kept That Info A Secret)

In August 2017, the Yankees asked the Commissioner's Office to investigate "the illegal use of electronic equipment" by the Red Sox in order to steal signs and relay the information to batters. After that investigation, Rob Manfred sent the letter quoted below to Yankees GM Brian Cashman on September 14, 2017.

The Yankees fought for years against the public release of this letter. Now we can see why. Evan Drellich (The Athletic) notes that Manfred's letter reveals the stark difference between the way the Yankees' behavior was described publicly and privately.

In his 2017 statement, Manfred ruled the Red Sox had violated the rule against using electronic equipment "for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information". He added that during the course of MLB's investigation, it was found the Yankees "had violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone" during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but Manfred explained that "the substance of the communications" on that phone "was not a violation of any Rule or Regulation in and of itself".

Manfred was, at the very least, telling a lie of omission. After the Yankees filed their complaint, the Red Sox filed a complaint in response, claiming the Yankees were stealing signs in 2017. Manfred stated that the evidence he saw was insufficient. However, as he noted in the final paragraph of his letter to Cashman, the Yankees were stealing signs in 2015 and 2016 (and Manfred fined the club $100,000). In fact, the Yankees were guilty of the exact same thing they later complained about with respect to the Red Sox. (emphasis added below)

September 14, 2017

Dear Brian:

On August 23, 2017, the New York Yankees filed a formal complaint and requested that the Office of the Commissioner "conduct a full and complete investigation concerning the illegal use off electronic equipment, in game, by the Boston Red Sox in order to steal signs and gain an illegal advantage in the game." As a result of the Yankees' complaint, I directed the Department of Investigations to interview a number of employees of the Red Sox and the Yankees in connection to this matter. Based on the information we received, I have concluded that the Red Sox violated On-Field Regulation 1-2.A by using electronic equipment "for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage." I will address this violation of the On-Field Regulations directly with the Red Sox.

During our investigation into the Red Sox's misconduct, [redacted] informed the Department of Investigations that the Yankees used a similar scheme to that of the Red Sox to decode opposing Clubs' signs and relay them to the batter when the runner was on second base. [Redacted] — who initially noticed that the Red Sox were using a smartwatch to pass information to their players — admitted to the Department of Investigations that during the 2015 season and the first half of the 2016 season, [redacted] provided information about opposing Club's signs to players and members of the coaching staff in the replay room in Yankee Stadium, who then physically relayed the information to the Yankees' dugout. [Redacted] also admitted that during that same time period, in certain stadiums on the road where the video room was not proximate to the dugout [redacted] used the phone line in the replay room to orally provide real-time information about opposing Club's signs to Yankee coaches on the bench.

Section VI(C)(2)(c) of the Replay Review Regulations (2-14) provides as follows:

The dugout phone will be connected to the video review location. If the dugout phone does not work at any point during the game, upon notifying the home plate Umpire, the Manager shall be permitted to communicate with his Club's video review location via walkie-talkie. On-field personnel in the dugout may not discuss any issue with individuals in their video review room using the dugout phone other than whether to challenge a play subject to video Replay Review.

The Yankees' use of the dugout phone to relay information about an opposing Club's signs during the 2015 season, and part of the 2016 season, constitutes a material violation of the Replay Review Regulations. By using the phone in the video review room to instantaneously transmit the information regarding signs to the dugout in violation of the Regulations, the Yankees were able to provide real-time information to their players regarding opposing Club's sign sequence — the same objective of the Red Sox's scheme that was the subject of the Yankees' complaint (1).

Based on the foregoing, the Yankees are hereby fined $100,000. Please send a check in that amount, made payable to Major League Baseball Charities, to my attention. The money will be used for Hurricane Irma relief.

I expect your strict adherence to the On-Field Regulations going forward. Any similar violations will result in more significant discipline, including but not limited to the denial or transfer of player selection rights provided by Major League Rules 4 and 5.


Robert D. Manfred, Jr.


(1) As you know, on September 5, 2017, the Red Sox submitted a separate formal complaint and request that my office investigate the Yankees, alleging that the Yankees have employed "techniques of sign stealing and relaying, as well as other questionable methods of gathering information on opposing teams' strategies," which have included "using YES Network cameras pointed at [the Red Sox's] coaching staff and players giving signs in the dugout, in order to gain an illegal advantage in the game." My office has thoroughly investigated the Red Sox's claims in this regard and has concluded they are without merit. The Red Sox also submitted a video clip from a YES Network broadcast of a June 13, 2017 game between the Yankees and the Angels in Anaheim that appears to show a Yankees bullpen coach watching the Angels' network broadcast of the game on an unauthorized iPad in the Yankees' bullpen. The broadcast is on a one-pitch delay, and there is no evidence the Yankees were using the iPad as a part of a sign-stealing scheme. Regardless, use of this iPad violated On-Field Regulation 1-2.A.

April 26, 2022

Ángel Hernández Has Blown More Than 2,600 Ball-Strike Calls Since 2015

How many games has Ángel Hernández changed the outcome of with his incompetence? It doesn't have to be in the ninth inning for him to definitively affect the outcome of a game. It might be a blown call that ends a second-inning rally or a blown call that gives a tiring pitcher a boost he needs to end the sixth inning.

If you screwed up at your job 370 times a year for seven years, would you still be employed there? Would you deserve to still be employed there? (It's a good thing Hernández didn't decide years ago to become a surgeon.)

Both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Umpires Association have no problem with Hernández (and other incompetent umpires like Laz Diaz, C.B. Bucknor, Fieldin Culbreth, etc.) regularly ending rallies when they should not be ended, calling out players who have actually walked or should still be batting, and cheating teams out of well-deserved victories day after day after week after week after month after month after season after season after season.

On April 16, Jeff Nelson missed 27 calls, with one-third of his called strikes (18 of 56) outside the zone.  . . . In a game last September, Hernández blew 27 calls!

Major league umpires blew 34,294 pitch calls in 2018. Fifty-five games that season ended on an incorrect call! 55!
Research results demonstrate that umpires in certain circumstances overwhelmingly favored the pitcher over the batter. For a batter with a two-strike count, umpires were twice as likely to call a true ball a strike (29 percent of the time) than when the count was lower (15 percent). These error rates have declined since 2008 (35.20 percent), but still are too high. During the 2018 season, this two-strike count error rate was 21.50 percent and repeated 2,107 times. The impact of constant miscalls include overinflated pitcher strikeout percentages and suppressed batting averages. Last season, umpires were three times more likely to incorrectly send a batter back to the dugout than to miss a ball-4 walk call (7 percent). Based on the 11 regular seasons worth of data analyzed, almost one-third of batters called out looking at third strikes had good reason to be angry. . . .

Umpires from 2008 through 2018 also exhibited a pronounced and persistent blind spot with a number of incorrect calls at the top of the strike zone. Remarkably, pitches thrown in the top right and left part of the strike zone were called incorrectly 26.99 percent of the time on the right side to 26.78 percent on the left. And while there was marked improvement in umpiring, the incorrect calls around the bottom right strike zone in 2018 was still a mind-boggling 18.25 percent. . . .

The top 10 performing umps averaged 2.7 years of experience. The bottom 10 averaged 20.6 years of experience. . . .

Imagine player and fan experience and what baseball would look like if each year the more than 34,000 incorrect calls vanished.
But incorrect calls have not vanished.  Rob Manfred looks at the video below and thinks, "Well, it's not that bad yet, so everything is perfect." This was the first inning of a Mexican League game in July 2018. The two umpires in the video were suspended by the league for the rest of the season.

April 25, 2022

Red Sox, In A Batting Slump (2.3 Runs/Game Over The Last Week), Face Blue Jays

On Sunday, the Red Sox knocked out four hits in their first five plate appearances against the Rays. For the rest of the game, they reverted to form, going 2-for-28 (with one walk), and lost 5-2.

The Red Sox (7-9) have lost four of their last five games and will now face Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.351/.409/.649) and his tied-for-first-place Blue Jays for four games.

Starting Pitchers:

Tonight: Nate Eovaldi / José Berríos, 7 PM ET
Tuesday: Nick Pivetta / Kevin Gausman, 7 PM ET
Wednesday: Michael Wacha / Ross Stripling, 7 PM ET
Thursday: Garrett Whitlock / Alek Manoah, 3 PM ET

The Red Sox will be without pitchers Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford for the Toronto series. Both  unvaccinated players have been placed on the restricted list and will not be paid or accrue service time. Tyler Danish has been called up to replace Crawford.

Over their last seven games, the Red Sox have scored only 16 runs (2.3 per game), including three runs or fewer in all but one of those contests. Runs by game since April 17: 3, 2, 1, 2, 4, 2, 2. Over that span, the team is hitting .217/.262/.302. The pitching has been decent (3.59 ERA), averaging 4.1 runs per game. (Overall this season, Boston is averaging 3.6 runs per game.)

The Red Sox need to start hitting (and scoring runs), but it also wouldn't hurt if they didn't have to contend with asshat umpires. On Sunday, Boston led 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Rays had the bases loaded (thanks to two walks and a HBP) with one out. Ryan Brasier came in from the pen and, on an 0-2 count to Ji-Man Choi, threw Pitch #4.

Plate umpire Ryan Wills clearly blew what should have been a strike three call, giving the Red Sox a second out. Vazquez stood up to catch the pitch, but a competent umpire should be able to deal with that distraction. Instead, Choi continued to bat and hit the next pitch for a game-tying double. A groundout gave the Rays a 3-2 lead. And they won 5-2.

April 24, 2022

A Livid Kyle Schwarber Unloads On Angel Hernandez (Who Blew 19 Calls & Rang Up Six Batters On Pitches Outside The Zone): "A Cheese Steak Has Better Eyes Than You"


Holy Shit!

Bill Burr On NESN: Canadians "Try To Act Like They're The Best White People"

I'm not sure I can be friends with Bill Burr anymore.

Ol' Billy Breaking Balls expressed respect for Derek Jeter during Tuesday's Red Sox game.

On the plus side, though, he ragged on Canadians (after being incredulous that Torontonians could be mean) and insulted what I really hope is a NESN sponsor.

Burr will be the first comedian to perform at Fenway Park when he does a show on August 21.
Burr: I gotta tell you, Toronto talking trash really kind of lit a fire. It's really bugging me.

Kevin Youkilis: Oh, they got some rough fans, too, up at the Rogers Centre now.

Burr: Toronto?

Youkilis: Oh, they get nasty. In that bullpen.

Burr: Toronto? . . . 

* * *

Burr: Toronto, actually Canada in general, is low-key hostile. You know what I mean? They try to act like they're the best white people. And it's like, dude, there were people here before you, so get off your high horse. . . . Oh, I got a vitamin water! Who drinks this stuff? You guys advertising on that – look at that. What – that looks like a dirty pool.

Youkilis: It's electrolytes.

Burr: Are electrolytes even real?
Burr is just old enough (b. 1968) to do a decent Looie impression.

April 23, 2022

G15: Rays 3, Red Sox (10)
Also: The First 21-0 Game In National League History (After 145+ Years!)

Red Sox - 000 000 000 2 - 2  2  1
Rays    - 000 000 000 3 - 3  3  1
The Red Sox were no-hit for nine innings on Saturday before an almost pulled off a victory before losing a heartbreaker, 3-2 in ten innings, to the Rays. The loss dropped Boston (7-8) into fourth place, 3 GB the Blue Jays, who happen to be the Red Sox's next opponent.

Six Tampa Bay pitchers, none of whom recorded more than six outs, combined for a 9-0-0-5-5, 123 line. Although they had no hits, Boston put two runners on base in both the third and fourth innings (Rays shortstop Wander Franco made sensational plays in both of those frames), and single baserunners in the fifth and sixth.

It's the first time in 52 years that the Red Sox had two or fewer hits in an extra-inning loss on the road (May 24, 1970, a 2-1 loss at Baltimore).

The Rays are the first team in major league history "to throw a no-hitter through 9 innings, lose said no-hitter in extras, then end up winning the game via walkoff". (Note: I am applying an asterisk because of the FURMR (the Fuck You Rob Manfred Runner).)

For the Red Sox, starter Garrett Whitlock (4-1-0-0-7, 48) was superb, constantly getting ahead of hitters and getting 11 swings-and-misses. In his 51 major league games, Whitlock has a 1.76 ERA and an opponents OPS of .590. (Earlier this month, Whitlock, 25, signed a four-year contract extension ($18.5 million) that covers 2023-26 and includes club options for 2027 and 2028.) And to think, we got him for free from the Yankees!

Kutter Crawford pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five, which was the exact opposite of what he had done in his previous two appearances. In two innings, he shit the mound to the tune of five hits, six walks, and seven runs.

Boston's top of the tenth began against Matt Wisler, with Jackie Bradley on second base. Wisler got ahead of Bobby Dalbec 0-2 before Dalbec lifted an outside slider towards the right field corner. Brett Phillips sprinted over and dove on the warning track, but the ball was tailing away from him and it fell just beyond his reach. Although Bradley had retreated to second to tag in case the ball was caught, he still scored easily.

This was the 15th major league game in which a team has allowed no hits through nine innings and then given up a hit in extra innings. It's the first time the first hit was a triple, however.

Christian Vázquez took a ball and hit a high fly to left. Josh Lowe made the catch in front of the warning track and Dalbec scored, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Travis Shaw lined to right and Trevor Story lined a single to left. Rafael Devers worked a full count, but went down swinging.

Hansel Robles (whose string of 20 consecutive scoreless appearances is the second longest active streak in the AL) struck out the first two Rays in the bottom of the tenth and had an 0-1 count on Taylor Walls. Then Robles balked when going into his set-position and EIR Randy Arozarena advanced to third. Robles fired another strike and he and the Red Sox were one strike away. A ball in the dirt was blocked by Vázquez. Walls hit a grounder to Story's right. He went down on one knee to backhand it where the infield dirt meets the fake grass. His throw seemed to be powered solely by his arm; the rest of his body was stuff. The throw skipped past Dalbec, who dove and tumbled to the right field side of the bag. Walls stayed at first.

Kevin Kiermaier was next and the Red Sox held a mound meeting. No real harm: tying run at first, two outs. Robles's first pitch was a changeup away. Kiermaier fouled off a fastball. After a pickoff attempt, Walls took off, stealing second on a pitch up and away. Robles 2-1 pitch was low. Kiermaier lined the next offering, a flat fastball on the inner half, to right field for a game-winning home run.

Robles is the second pitcher in Red Sox history to give up one hit, no earned runs, strike out two or more batters and be charged with both a blown save and a loss. Derek Lowe was the first, against the Mariners on September 1, 1998. (For what it's worth, in that 1970 loss to the Orioles, linked above, Red Sox reliever Sparky Lyle allowed two hits, one walk, one run, and was charged with a blown save and a loss.)

The first seven Red Sox were retired when Vázquez grounded a ball to the left of shortstop Wander Franco. The ball hit off his glove and went up in the air. Franco turned his back to the plate and somehow caught the ball on the outfield turf. He turned and then, a little bit off-balance, fired to first and nabbed Vázquez by a hair. (In the top of the fourth, Franco ranged far to his left to glove Alex Verdugo's grounder up the middle. Verdugo was initially called safe at first, but after a challenge, the call was changed to out.)

After Vázquez was retired, Rob Refsnyder walked and Trevor Story reached on an infield fielding error, before Rafael Devers popped out to second.

Boston had two baserunners in the fourth, as well, after the Verdugo groundout. Kiké Hérnandez and Jackie Bradley both drew walks, but Dalbec stranded them with a K.

Whitlock allowed a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe in the bottom of the fourth but held firm, getting a fly to right, a strikeout, and a fly to center.

Story walked and stole second with two down in the fifth, but Devers ended the inning with a fly to left.

After Verdugo's one-out walk in the sixth was wasted, the Red Sox were retired in order in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.

Tyler Danish (All-Pastry Team) walked Lowe to start the bottom of the ninth, but Danish earned his dough by getting a force and a double play, the latter off Randy Arozarena's bat.

The Cubs beat the Pirates 21-0, a franchise record for most runs in a shutout. (That's a franchise that goes back 146 years!) On May 28, 1886, the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) blanked Washington 20-0.
Pirates - 000 000 000 -  0  3  2
Cubs - 180 250 14x - 21 23  0
This was also the first 21-0 game in National League history and the first 21-0 major league game in 83 years!
May 7, 1889        - St. Louis Browns (now Cardinals) vs Columbus (American Association)
September 15, 1901 - Tigers vs Cleveland Blues (now Guardians) (American League, 8 innings)
August 13, 1939    - Yankees at Philadelphia Athletics (American League, 8 innings)
April 23, 2022     - Cubs vs Pirates (National League)

While Pittsburgh managed only three hits today, five different Cubs had 3+ hits, the first time the team has done that since Opening Day 2005. The Cubs had not scored 21+ runs since pounding the Rockies 26-7 on August 18, 1995.

Miguel Cabrera got his 3,000th career hit in the first inning on Saturday, a 13-0 win for the Tigers. He's  the 33th player to reach 3,000 hits and the seventh player to have 3,000+ hits and 500+ home runs. Miggy is also the third player to get #3,000 as a Tiger, joining Ty Cobb (August 19, 1921 vs Red Sox) and Al Kaline (September 24, 1974 at Orioles).

The Reds won on Opening Day, but have gone 1-13 since then. On Saturday, they lost their 11th consecutive game. Cincinnati has not scored more than 2 runs in any of their last eight games! 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 0, 2, 0.

April 22, 2022

Will Venable (Bench Coach) Is Acting Manager After Alex Cora Tests Positive For Covid-19

A fully vaccinated and boosted Alex Cora has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not accompany the Red Sox to the fucked-up state of Florida for a Friday/weekend series against the Rays.

Bench coach Will Venable stepped in to manage the team on Thursday, a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays that ended after the Red Sox failed to get the tying run home from third with only one out in the bottom of the ninth. Trevor Story was the leadoff hitter last night, as Kiké Hernández has not been up to the task (.157/.246/.333). Story is an improvement, but his OBP is under .300 as well (.296). . . . Story is leading off again tonight, with Hernández hitting fifth (?!?).

The team is a bit of a mess as it hits the road for seven games against the Rays and Blue Jays. Cora is only the latest member of the Red Sox to contract the virus. Kevin Plawecki (vaccinated) and two staff members tested positive on Monday and Jonathan Araúz and Christian Vázquez tested positive on Tuesday. Vázquez returned to the lineup last night. Also, J.D. Martinez did not play on Thursday because of tightness in his left adductor. The strain will likely keep him out of tonight's game, too.

The team's offense is also decidedly pallid. The Red Sox are averaging 3.8 runs per game, 18th among all MLB teams and their lowest average over the first 13 games of a season since 2014 season. Boston's OBP is .284, their worst mark through a seasons first 13 games since 1963! (Trust me, that's a looooong time ago.) As a response, perhaps, the team is swinging at everything. The Red Sox have the worst chase rate in MLB, waving at 35.2% of pitches outside the strike zone; they are swinging at 50.8% of pitches overall, second highest in MLB.

So they are hacking and they are hacking early, too, ranking 30th (dead last) with only 3.7 pitches per plate appearance. As the Globe's Alex Spieier notes, that undisciplined approach "lends itself to swings and misses, bad contact, and low walk rates". Last night, Toronto's Kevin Gausman became only the fourth starting pitcher to finish eight innings this season. He needed only 87 pitches.

Jason Mastrodonato of the Herald writes that the Red Sox look "like a car that keeps stalling". Individually, numerous hitters are slumping. Bobby Dalbec (7-for-40, .175/.250/.275) has one of the lowest contact rates in baseball (63%) and Travis Shaw is 0-for-10. Story is hitting only .235 with two extra-base hits in nine games and yet to barrel up a baseball, according to the Baseball Savant website. 

Pitcher Tanner Houck has refused to get vaccinated and will not be allowed into Canada. He won't make his scheduled start next Tuesday. "It's a personal choice and I'm not going to comment on it anymore. I've tried to stay away from it no matter what side of the fence you're on there are always going to be positives and negatives."

Really? No matter what you do, you're gonna get shit for it? . . . One the one hand, you run the risk of contracting (and/or spreading) a deadly virus that has killed a minimum of six million people worldwide and is responsible for killing 400-500 people in the US every single day. On the other hand, you can get a free and safe vaccine that will, in large part, keep you and your family safe and alive. . . . Yeah, I can see how it's pretty much a toss-up. . . . Jesus, that's some fucking serious NYT-level bothsides-ism.

A new study from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation states that from June 2021 to March 2022, 61% of Covid-19 deaths were probably preventable had the decedent been vaccinated. Since June 2021 (when every US adult had access to vaccines), more than 234,000 unvaccinated Americans died who could have lived had they been immunized against the virus. Looking at the US's official death toll (approx. 1,020,000), that means roughly 1 out of every 4 deaths did not have to happen.

Michael Wacha starts tonight in Tampa Bay, with Question Mark on Saturday and Rich Hill on Sunday. Cora said Garrett Whitlock might start on Saturday (0.93 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 9.2 relief innings)  and Houck will likely follow Hill out of the pen on Sunday.

It is still unknown which other unvaccinated players will not be with the team next Monday-Thursday.  I can't wait to see who'll be joining Meatloafhead Houck in singing "I'd Do Anything To Help The Team (But I Won't Do That)".

Some Good News:

April 21, 2022

Orsillo: Red Sox Told Me My Remy Tribute "Would No Longer Be Needed"
Red Sox's Numerous Attempts To Explain = Sideshow Bob
Stepping On Rakes

There was no mention of longtime Red Sox television play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo during last night's on-field remembrance of Jerry Remy, who passed away last October, at the age of 66.

Orsillo's absence was a glaring omission that has only been made worse by the Red Sox's inability to explain why the wildly popular announcer, who is now a broadcaster for the Padres, was excluded. Remy spent 34 years in the Red Sox broadcast booth, 15 of them with Orsillo, who was unceremoniously dumped after the 2015 season. It boggles the mind to think the Red Sox could be so petty, so childish, after nearly seven years, of seemingly wanting to punish fans of the team (and Orsillo) for strongly disagreeing with the decision to get rid of Orsillo.

WBZ's Michael Hurley called it "a true disgrace". The Red Sox told the Globe that "ultimately, videos weren't part of the ceremony". Except the ceremony did include multiple montages of Remy, some of which included images of Orsillo. So why not show his short tribute?

OTM's Matt Collins says the move "seems more like incompetence than malice". I don't think so. (Does anyone think they simply forgot to include Orsillo?) But, hey, I'm feeling generous, so . . . why not both?
It's hard to put into words how truly shameful this is . . . The duo had the kind of chemistry that can not be faked, and has largely not been replicated in any other booth I've seen in any sport. They made the great moments greater, and they made what should have been dull blowouts must-watch television. . . .

They're forever linked in the hearts and minds of so many Red Sox fans. . . .

The cynic in me found it hard to believe this was anything but pride. The Red Sox have been reminded time and time again by this fanbase what a big mistake it was to let Orsillo go, and he certainly would have received a large applause had he been present, whether in-person or on video. That would have looked bad for the team. . . .

There is absolutely, 100 percent no reason for the team to have not played the video. . . . [It's] a sign of an organization that, at least in this instance, can't help but trip over themselves. . . .

The Red Sox blew it, plain and simple, and it's something that will take a long, long time to forget and forgive, if it ever even gets to that point.
Collins quotes Red Sox senior vice president Pam Kenn's initial response: "Two sides to all stories."

Really. That's what she said, which is more of an insult than explanation. Kenn later posted a longer, but no less feeble, excuse.
Yes, you read that right. Kenn is implying Orsillo wanted to grab all the attention for himself on a night devoted to Remy. (For christ's sake, Pam, quit digging.) A quick scroll indicates that exactly 100% of of the replies to her tweet (correctly) recognized it as Grade-A, Unadulterated Horseshit.
Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy's mealy-mouthed response:
Strike 1: Purposefully excluding Orsillo.
Strike 2: Lying about not using videos.
Strike 3: Kenn's nonsense (including insulting Orsillo).
Strike 4: Kennedy's blathering.
Strike 5: [It's best if you shut the fuck up now, Red Sox]

April 20, 2022

Big Innings Have Eluded The Red Sox So Far

The Red Sox have scored 47 runs this season, good for 6th in the AL, a bit better than the league average (43). Their runs per game also ranks 6th (4.27).

There have not been many big innings, however. In 98 innings in 11 games, Boston has scored more two runs in an inning only five times. They scored six runs twice (April 13 and 17) and three runs thrice (April 8, 12, and 15; and they lost two of those games). The Red Sox have not scored in more than three innings of a single game.

Part of the problem is not getting guys on base. The Red Sox's .283 OBP is 13th in the AL. Alex Verdugo, far and away the team's best hitter so far, has an OBP of .395. Everyone else is at .333 (Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts) or below. That includes leadoff hitter Kiké Hernández (a woeful .269).

Another problem: The bottom third of the lineup is quite possibly the worst of all 30 teams. In last night's victory, the 7-8-9 hitters went 0-for-8 and left nine runners on base. 

Last night's 2-1 win over the Blue Jays was the first time the team had won when scoring three runs or fewer. [0-3 runs: 1-3 / 4+ runs: 5-2]

The Red Sox are also the only major league team without a stolen base. They are 0-for-1.

AL East

            W   L   GB   RS  RA  DIFF   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS    ERA
Red Sox     6   5  ---   47  44   + 3  .228  .283  .379  .662   3.86
Blue Jays   6   5  ---   34  31   + 3  .250  .312  .424  .736   4.22
Yankees     6   5  ---   43  47   - 4  .224  .313  .349  .662   2.48
Rays        6   6  0.5   52  53   - 1  .249  .318  .378  .696   3.74
Orioles     3   8  3.0   23  37   -14  .209  .306  .289  .595   2.81

April 18, 2022

Multiple Unvaccinated Red Sox (Including Houck) Will Not Be Allowed Into Canada
For Next Week's Four-Game Series Against The Blue Jays

When the Red Sox begin an important four-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on April 25 (one week from today), they will be without multiple players, according to manager Alex Cora.

One of those missing players will be pitcher Tanner Houck, who told the Globe on Sunday that he will not accompany the team across the border because he is not vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Houck was expected to start the second game of the series. 

Houck did not give a reason for being unvaccinated beyond the nonsensical "it's a personal choice". It's also Houck's "personal choice" to be too much of a chickenshit to explain why he is unvaccinated and unable to help his teammates battle an extremely tough division opponent. ("That's all I really got to say on it.") This situation has nothing to do with medical privacy. When someone refuses to say why he won't take a safe, preventative step to not contract, or not infect others with, a deadly virus, it's often because they understand they would sound batshit crazy to most people.

Houck, who has given up eight hits and six walks in nine innings this season, said:

I'm definitely bummed that I won't be able to make that start. But the starts that I am able to make, I plan on giving 100 percent for this team, if not moreso. Anything I can do for this team to help them win, I'll do it.

I hope very few Red Sox fans are stupid enough to believe this horseshit. Houck pretends the decision to pitch or not pitch is completely out of his control – he's simply unable to pitch, what a bummer – when, obviously, the truth is the opposite. The choice is entirely his – it belongs to no one else.

Houck is lying (and lying very badly) when he claims he of course would do "anything" for his teammates. The only reason Houck is forced to lie and say he'll do "anything" is because he won't do "anything". He has refused to take one simple step for his teammates – a step so simple that five-year-old kids are doing it without batting a fucking eye.

As the Globe notes, the Canadian government requires everyone entering the country to show proof of a second dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 calendar days prior to entry.

Cora did not name the other players, all of whom will be placed on the restricted list for the series.

The Red Sox's other trip to Toronto will be for the season's penultimate series: September 30-31 and October 1.

April 17, 2022

Schadenfreude 327 (A Continuing Series)

Hits On Sunday

The Entire New York Yankees Team            4-for-30
Jorge Mateo (Who Bats 9th for the Orioles)  3-for- 4

New York went 22-for-102 (.216) against the Orioles, scoring six runs in three games.
In their two losses, the Yankees scored one run in 20 innings.

Dan Martin, Post:

Not even the Yankees' bullpen can overcome the hapless Yankee offense.

Jonathan Loaisiga gave up a go-ahead, two-run single to pinch-hitter Rougned Odor as part of a five-run eighth inning, as the Yankees dropped a series to the woeful Orioles thanks to Sunday's 5-0 loss at Camden Yards.

The defeat came two days after the Yankees managed just one run in an 11-inning loss in Baltimore, as they continue to insist the lineup is on the cusp of finding its footing. . . .

[T]he Yankee bats were almost entirely silent for three games in Baltimore and have largely disappointed through the season's first 10 games.

This time, they were blanked by Bruce Zimmerman for five innings, before three Baltimore relievers finished the game.

To make matters worse on Sunday, the lack of run support wasted a tremendous performance by Nestor Cortes, who tossed five shutout innings — including a career-high 12 strikeouts — in his second sterling effort of the season. . . .

In the seventh, the Yankees went to their left-handed bats . . . Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo leading off against right-hander Dillon Tate. But Rizzo struck out and Gallo lined out . . .

Baltimore broke through in the eighth against Loaisiga, as Mountcastle led off with a single and Mancini walked. Santander popped to short and Mullins flied to left, but Robinson Chirinos drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases for Odor, hitting for Chris Owings.

The Yankees left Loaisiga in the game instead of going to the lefty Lucas Luetge to deal with the left-handed bat of Odor — and it didn't work, as Odor singled up the middle to drive in the first runs of the game. Luetge then came on and allowed a two-run double to Gutierrez and Mateo then singled to drive in another run to make it 5-0.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Baltimore rallied for five runs in the eighth inning off the Yankees formidable bullpen Sunday and shut out the Bombers 5-0 . . .

The Yankees (5-5) lost two out of three here this weekend . . . Just 10 games into the season, it's not a red flag, but it does bring up the questions from last season. The Yankees were 11-8 against the Orioles last season . . . They ended up . . . having to play the Wild Card game on the road because they didn't dominate the teams they were supposed to dominate . . . 

[T]he Yankees struggles last season stemmed from an inconsistent offense. So far this season, it doesn't look that much different. Through 10 games, they have scored 30 runs, sixth worst in the majors. They are 20th in slugging (.366) and 17th in OPS (.677).

The Bombers managed four hits Sunday, all off Baltimore lefty Bruce Zimmermann. . . .

Despite having lefty Lucas Luetge ready, Aaron Boone let Jonathan Loaisiga, who was superb last season, face lefty hitter Rougned Odor.

"It's Jonathan Loaisiga," Boone said. . . . "[T]hat's absolutely the match up I wanted there."

The former Yankee singled in two runs on a ground ball up the middle. Boone then went to Luetge, who gave up a two-run double to Kelvin Gutierrez. Jorge Mateo singled in Gutierrez.

Dan Martin, Post:

Just when you might have thought Gleyber Torres was about to regain the form he had in 2018 and 2019, the second baseman has started to look like the version of himself from the past two seasons.

After going hitless for a fourth straight game in Sunday's 5-0 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards, Torres is 0-for-13 with two walks and four strikeouts since . . . Wednesday.

Sunday's effort included a fourth-inning bunt after DJ LeMahieu led off with a single. . . . Torres was trying to get a hit . . . But Torres didn't get enough on the bunt and [Baltimore pitcher Bruce] Zimmermann fielded it easily. . . .

Torres also moved from second base to shortstop after Anthony Rizzo pinch hit for Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the seventh inning . . . Torres then hurried his throw on a grounder by Kelvin Gutierrez with two outs in the inning and it pulled Rizzo off the bag. The play went for a hit, but a better shortstop likely makes it.  . . .

Gerrit Cole is set to make his third start of the season on Tuesday against the Tigers after allowing a homer in the first inning in each of his first two outings — one to Boston's Rafael Devers on Opening Day and a second to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. his last time out against the Blue Jays. Guerrero also took him deep in the third inning of that game. . . .

Cole said he was looking at . . . "just being efficient."

Joel Sherman, Post, April 12:

In the past few years, the pathway to a division crown has been clear — win the season series against the teams that are trying in the AL East and just obliterate the one that is not. For those scoring at home, that would be the Orioles, who are in about Year 60 of what might turn out to be a century-long rebuild. . . .

The Yankees reached the midway point of a 10-game, AL East-only spate to open their season Tuesday night [April 12] by beating the Blue Jays 4-0. In the half-full world, they are 3-2 in that period against Boston and Toronto. In the half-empty, they are exhibiting many of the same offensive foibles that ensnared their 2021 in inconsistency.

Their attack once again is going as far as the ball off the bat. They have won the three games in which they have hit a homer and lost the two in which they did not. . . .

[E]ven in victory, the Yanks were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. For the season, they are 14-for-75 (.187) with men on base, 6-for-33 with runners in scoring position (.182) and hitless in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs. . . .

Last season, the Yankees won 92 games and were a wild card, despite their offensive shortcomings, thanks to strong pitching. But what has been lost is fear and dread felt by opponents, especially in Yankee Stadium. There is no sense right now, like say in 2019 that the Yankees can just maul an opponent offensively.

The Blue Jays won eight of 10 games at Yankee Stadium in 2021 then the first meeting of 2022 Monday. They had outscored the Yankees 48-23 in those 11 Bronx games. That has been part of a growing sense from last year that Toronto is ready to win the AL East. . . .

In the past three full seasons (not counting the COVID-shortened 2020), the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays each have won the East, all in pretty much the same fashion. The division champ each time had a winning record against every other AL East team and obliterated Baltimore. The 2018 Red Sox were 52-24 in the division and 16-3 versus the Orioles; the 2019 Yankees were 54-22 and 17-2; and the 2021 Rays were 51-25 and 18-1. Baltimore was a combined 6-51 in those games. . . .

The Yanks were 19th last year in runs while the Rays, Jays and Red Sox finished 2-3-4. The inability to score consistently led to one close game after another. The bullpen, in particular, proved deep and formidable . . . The pen has been great again in 2022 . . .

But that is a dangerous formula to try again . . . For the Yanks to return atop the AL East, they need to return at least near the top in runs scored.

Phil Mushnick, Post (my emphasis):

In 1989, [George] Steinbrenner . . . hired bootlicking John Sterling as the radio voice of the Yankees. The rest is a 32-year continuing history of blown calls, and premature, wildly and inexcusably inaccurate presumptions that, if corrected, are heard on the third try.

Sterling arrived in The Bronx with a reputation as a tattletale, whatever it took to gain favor with team owners to land his next broadcasting gig.

His smug, condescending, ignore-the game, self-promotional cheerleading had already made Islanders and New Jersey Nets radio and TBS's [Atlanta] telecasts a dare to suffer.

And, of course, as the "eyes and ears" of Yankees radio, he has given his one-size-fits-all call to hundreds of Yankees home runs that weren't — a highly unprofessional, self-imposed habit he could've cured 32 years ago by waiting to know for sure rather than embarrassing himself.

But he chose to maintain his course. So what if he leaves Yankees fans disappointed and baseball fans to wonder how the New York Yankees would allow Sterling to represent them on such a stage.

For the past two seasons I've stayed off Sterling's back in deference to his age. But in the past several days, while stuck in the car listening to him, he is no different at 83 than he was at 51. To him, his mere presence is why we listen. The games, as well as the scores of games, both of which he so often ignores, are, at best, secondary.

Before he was hired by the Yankees, I witnessed him as he literally stood at his courtside microphone position to lead cheers for individual Nets while concocting strained and silly nicknames for them, another of his transparently self-promotional, untreated habits.

And since 1989 there has been no one at his station or within the Yankees to fix him, to set him straight, thus the most famous team in baseball history continues to give Sterling its full blessings to destroy broadcasts along the Yankees Radio Network, Florida through New England, and even on a station in Hawaii.

Last Saturday, Sterling announced that DJ LeMahieu, "Pops it foul, outside of third," then returned to his "You know, Suzyn" pontification. Did the ball land in the stands, was it caught by the third baseman? He didn't bother to say. As usual. It's radio, for crying out loud!

The next batter was Joey Gallo: "There she goes!" Sterling hollered. Then, "If it stays fair, it's gone!"  Then, "off the top of the wall!"

Then back to talking down to us.

Wednesday, Giancarlo Stanton at bat: "Swung on, there it goes! Deep left center! That ball is high! … It is far! … It is gone! … But caught. Boy, I though that was gone."

He's been thinking that for 32 years, and has been wrong hundreds of times. But nothing will change. His botched home run calls will be his legacy. A day at the beach with Sterling is no day at the beach. Pity, he and the Yankees allowed him to do that to himself, not to mention us. . . .

Sluggers a bunch of posers

Aaron Boone seems satisfied with the least his players can do, thus Giancarlo Stanton continues to pose at home plate, even if his blasts land in the first row or bang against the wall. His habit-formed failure to run in last year's playoff loss to the Red Sox turned at least a double into a single.

As a Marlin, Stanton wrecked his groin sliding awkwardly toward second after jogging to first before seeing his fly ball drop. But he doesn't learn — or doesn't care — and it's not as if Boone demands better. . . .





Well worth bookmarking.

Maybe NESN Isn't So Bad
Who Am I Kidding? They're Completely Inept & Make The Same Embarrassing Mistakes Year After Year After Year

Joe Maddon Intentionally Walks A Guy With The Bases Loaded (Again)
Reds Rookie Hunter Greene Threw 39 Pitches Over 100 MPH Last Night
Japanese Pitcher Roki Sasaki Has Retired 52 Batters In A Row (33 By K)

Angels manager Joe Maddon intentionally walked Corey Seager of the Dodgers with the bases loaded on Friday night  in the fourth inning of a 3-2 game. (Mike Trout seems a bit baffled by the strategy.)

It's the second time Maddon has done this. The last time a batter was franked with the bags juiced was in 2008 (Josh Hamilton). That was Maddon, too.
Texas scored three runs after Seager left the on-deck circle (intentional walk, sacrifice fly, balk), so I'd say the decision failed. The Angels did score five times in their next half-inning and eventually win the game, but obviously no one knew that at the time of the Seager BBI. (It's not like Maddon's unorthodox move lit a fire in their bellies or something.) . . . And in the fourth inning of a 3-2 game? Maddon is thinking too much, or just drawing attention to himself.

Eight Players Intentionally Walked With Bases Loaded

August 2, 1881  - Abner Dalrymple, White Stockings (NL) (vs Buffalo Bisons, Chicago won 11-2)
May 23, 1901    - Nap Lajoie, Athletics (at White Sox, T9, White Sox won 11-9)
May 2, 1928     - Del Bissonette, Dodgers (at Giants, T9, 2 outs, Giants leading 2-0)
October 5, 1929 - Mel Ott, Giants (at Phillies, T9, 2 outs, Giants leading 11-3)
July 23, 1944   - Bill Nicholson, Cubs (at Giants, T8, 0 outs, Cubs trailing 7-10)
May 28, 1998    - Barry Bonds, Giants (vs Diamondbacks, B9, 2 outs, Giants trailing 6-8)
August 17, 2008 - Josh Hamilton, Texas (vs Rays, B9, 2 outs, Texas trailing 3-7)
April 15, 2022  - Corey Seager, Texas (vs Angels, B4, 1 out, Texas leading 3-2)

Bissonette: It was his 16th major league game. He had hit safely in 12 of his first 15 games (.333/.394/.683, 15 RBI in 15 games).

Dalrymple hit four doubles in a game in 1883. That's still the major league record, though it has been tied.

In 2021, the pitching staffs of only 10 major league teams threw fewer than 38 pitches clocked at 100+ mph.

Hunter Greene of the Reds threw 38 pitches at 100+ mph in only five innings last night!

Greene set two records last night (since at least 2008, Ye Olde Pitch-Tracking Era): 39 pitches at 100+ mph and 13 pitches at 101+ mph, which is a record for a starting pitcher. Greene's pitch count was 80, so half of his pitches topped 100!

Most 100 mph pitches in game (since 2008)

Hunter Greene    39   April 16, 2022
Jacob deGrom     33   June 5, 2021
Jordan Hicks     29   May 19, 2019
Nathan Eovaldi   28   August 19, 2015
Jacob deGrom     27   May 31, 2021

Roki Sasaki, the 20-year-old Japanese pitcher who threw a perfect game last Sunday, striking out 19 batters (including 13 in a row), tossed eight perfect innings today, with 14 strikeouts, before being Kershawed after throwing 102 pitches.

There had not been a perfect game in the NPB in 28 years. Sasaki nearly threw two in one week! In his last two starts, Sasaki has faced 51 batters, retired all 51, and struck out 33. (SI says his overall streak is 52 batters.)

In four starts: 31 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 56 strikeouts, 1.16 ERA, 0.290 WHIP (roughly one baserunner every 3½ innings). 
R.J. Anderson, CBS Sports:
According to data obtained by CBS Sports from Sunday's start, Sasaki's fastball averaged better than 99.5 mph and featured 19.8 inches of induced vertical break and 15.4 inches of horizontal break. That's an elite, unmatched combination. . . .

Sasaki's splitter checks in at 91.2 mph with 2.30 inches of induced vertical break and 7.80 inches of horizontal break.
Mark Buerhle, after pitching a perfect game in 2009, retired the first 17 batters in his next start, for a record 45 straight hitters retired. In 2014, Yusmeiro Petit retired 46 consecutive batters over eight games, as both a starter and reliever. Johnny Vander Meer pitched consecutive no-hitters for the Reds in June 1938.

April 16, 2022

Schadenfreude 326 (A Continuing Series)

Dan Martin, Post:

Aroldis Chapman walked in the winning run on Friday night, but the closer was the least of the Yankees' problems in a 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Orioles.

Most of the Yankees' issues came from their lineup, which produced just a run in the third inning and then were blanked by Baltimore's bullpen, their execution with runners in scoring position still a problem that seems to have hung around from last year.

On Friday, they went just 2-for-11 in those situations . . .

So when Chapman threw a 3-2 slider to Ramon Urias that was called a ball by home plate umpire Tom Hallion, forcing in Austin Hays with the winning run, it's not a surprise that catcher Jose Trevino got fired up, thinking the pitch was a strike.

"I was just asking where it was at the end,'' Trevino said. "I thought I caught it good. I thought [Chapman] made a good pitch. . . . I did go back and watch it [and] it was a little up." . . .

Boone was ejected at the conclusion of the game . . .

They didn't score in the first inning after Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton reached to start the game.

They left two more runners on in the third and had the bases loaded and one out in the fifth when Aaron Hicks grounded into a double play.

Hicks' grounder started a string of 13 straight hitters retired by Baltimore's bullpen — a streak that was only ended when Rizzo, as a ghost runner in the 11th inning, ran into Stanton's grounder to short for the first out. Stanton was given a hit on Rizzo's costly mistake. . . .

It's one of many parts of the Yankees' start that hasn't looked good — and another unwanted holdover from last year, when hitting with runners in scoring position and baserunning were issues. . . .

Asked how their approach is different this year, Boone said, "I just think we're better overall…" . . .

The Yankees have scored more than four runs or fewer in every game but the season-opener, when they scored six in 11 innings. . . .

The final inning started with Hays at second.

Clarke Schmidt got Jorge Mateo to line to shortstop before Anthony Bemboom walked. Schmidt then walked Kelvin Gutierrez to load the bases.

Chapman was then called in, a night after walking all three batters he faced against the Blue Jays before being bailed out by Michael King.

With the infield in, Chapman struck out Cedric Mullins for the second out.

After getting ahead of Urias 0-2, Chapman got to a full count before losing him — and the game.
Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
The Yankees offense, built on power, modified to be more balanced and under new leadership, is still waiting to see results. Eight games into the season and the questions about scoring and hits with runners in scoring position are already starting after a brutal 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Orioles . . .

The Yankees' major moves this offseason were to shake up the coaching staff. In particular, the Bombers let go long-time hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere . . . [The Yankees] finished seventh in the American League in OPS (.729), 10th in runs scored (711) and were fourth in strikeouts (1,482) last season.

[New hitting coach Dillon] Lawson has instituted an organizational philosophy of "hit strikes hard" . . .

So far that has not translated to the Yankees offense.

The Yankees went into Saturday night's game against the Orioles at Camden Yards . . . below the league average in OPS (.684), OPS+ (99) and slugging (.376). . . .

[T]he Yankees went into Saturday night's game ranked 26th out of 30 in runs scored per game. Their 3.12 runs per game is only better than the Brewers, Diamondbacks and Orioles. They've had the sixth most runners left on base with 59 this season and ranked the fifth worst with runners in scoring position, hitting .180. They have the third worst run-scoring percentage in the big leagues, meaning only 20% of their runners who reach base eventually score a run — they are better only than the Orioles and Diamondbacks.

Another trend that seems to have carried over from last season is their penchant for grounding into double plays, they are second in the majors with nine so far. Last season, the Yankees were second in the big leagues with 154 GDPs, the most in the American League.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
About 45 minutes after he threw his final pitch, Aroldis Chapman was still in his uniform, sitting in front of his locker going over that pitch. A slider high was called for a ball to walk in the winning run as the Orioles beat the Yankees 2-1 in 11 innings at Camden Yards Friday night.

Chapman had gone through a rough 48 hours. The Yankees' closer walked the bases loaded Thursday night, but the Yankees survived. Friday, he came in to clean up with the bases loaded and the Bombers' lost on a slider that was centimeters too high.

But that's how it goes when you are living on the thin margins of an inconsistent offense. Without run support -- this is the fifth out of eight games the Yankees have decided by two runs or less -- the bullpen has been walking a high-leverage tightrope every night.

That was a bad Yankees' trend of the 2021 team and so was losing to the Orioles.

The Yankees were 11-8 against the Orioles last season . . . The Rays, who won the American League East, went 18-1 against the O's, the Blue Jays went 14-5 and the Red Sox went 13-6. . . .

"We need to get wins," DJ LeMahieu said. . . .

It would be a lot easier to turn that around if the offense was clicking . . .

The Bombers went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position Friday night, a trend already this season that was a problem last year. They are now 11-for-61 with RISP this season, which is an admittedly small sample size.

But it certainly brings back the memories of 2021′s frustrating offense.

The Yankees hit .237/.328/.370 with a .698 OPS last season with RISP. They had 1,165 at-bats with RISP and converted that to just 453 runs. . . .

The Yankees had plenty of opportunity to do better, but none more so than the sixth inning, when they had the bases loaded with one out. Aaron Hicks, who was ahead 3-0 in the at-bat, grounded into a double play to end the Yankees threat. In the 11th, with Anthony Rizzo as the ghost runner, Giancarlo Stanton scorched a ground ball to short, which hit the first baseman for an automatic out. Josh Donaldson struck out and Joey Gallo was tagged out by the catcher on a swinging bunt. . . .

That put the bullpen back on the tightrope Friday night.

[In the 11th] Clarke Schmidt . . . issued two, one-out walks to load the bases. That's when Boone turned to Chapman, who threw 16 pitches and only hit the strike zone four times on Thursday. Chapman found the strike zone early, going ahead 0-2 on Romon [sic]  Urias, before he lost it. On the final pitch, Chapman walked in the winning run.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
Aroldis Chapman threw 16 pitches Thursday night. Only four of them found the strike zone. The Yankees' closer for the last seven years, the 34-year-old has struggled with fastball command over the past two.

Thursday night, Aaron Boone couldn't wait out another rollercoaster ride. As soon as Chapman walked his third batter, the minimum he had to face under MLB rules, the Yankees manager was slowly walking out to the mound to take the ball from Chapman. . . .

After seeing Chapman struggle last year — to the point where Boone was going to Jonathan Loaisiga to close while he gave time for the veteran closer to work out his issues — the Yankees had a quick hook with him. . . .

[The Yankees] have to be concerned about Chapman.

Chapman had not just walked three straight batters, but he had walked the bottom of the Blue Jays' lineup to load the bases and put the tying run at the plate. . . .

"I felt like he could have gotten out of it," Boone said of Chapman. . . . [JoS butting in here to ask Boone: "So why did you yank him as soon as you had the opportunity?"]

[T]he Cuban native is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career in 2021 and going into the final year on his contract with the Yankees with questions hanging over him.

Chapman finished with a 3.36 ERA (the second highest of his career) and allowed nine home runs, the most he has allowed in an MLB season. He also had one of the worst walk rates (15.6%) of any pitcher in baseball and hitters had the highest hard-contact rate off Chapman in his career.
Greg Joyce, Post:
On Thursday night, Aroldis Chapman walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and needed Michael King to save him out of the Yankees bullpen.

About 24 hours later, Aaron Boone called on Chapman to put out a fire with the bases loaded and one out in the 11th inning of a tie game.

Chapman nearly did for Clarke Schmidt what King had for him the night before, but after getting within a strike of escaping the jam, he threw four straight balls to walk in a run as the Orioles walked off with a 2-1 win . . .

After striking out Cedric Mullins on a slider for the second out, Chapman's final pitch in a full count to Ramon Urias was a slider that came in just above the strike zone. His 1-2 pitch was a 97 mph fastball that might have clipped part of the zone but was called a ball low by home plate umpire Tom Hallion.

Boone said he had no hesitation going back to Chapman on Friday in a situation that left no room for error, a night after the Yankees closer had thrown 12 of his 16 pitches for balls. . . .

In the clubhouse after the loss, Chapman was looking back at video of the decisive pitches and called them "very close . . . The last one, I thought it was a little high."
Dan Martin, Post:
Josh Donaldson has a team-high 13 strikeouts and an ugly OPS of .454, not exactly what the Yankees expected when they made him the centerpiece of the trade that sent Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to Minnesota last month.

"I think he's on the verge," Aaron Boone said . . .

Donaldson went 1-for-5 with a single and two more strikeouts. . . .
Bill Madden, Daily News:
Two weeks into the season and already we can make some definitive assessments:


Not that any player is worth that kind of crazy money, but the Yankees broke the bank for Cole because they knew they had to have a dominant No. 1 starter if they were ever going to get back to the World Series. In their minds, the money would be more than worth it if Cole filled the stadium every time he pitched, and pitched deep, and won almost all his big starts that got them both into and through the postseason. Hasn't happened.

In the pivotal Game 5 of the 2020 division series against Tampa Bay, Cole pitched well but was out of the game (which the Yankees went on to lose) after just 5.1 innings. Last year, he was hammered for nine hits and two homers in six innings by the Blue Jays in his last start of the season, and in the AL Wild Card game, the Red Sox kayoed him after just two innings. In his first two starts this year, against the Red Sox and Blue Jays, he was subpar at best (9.2 IP, 6 ER, 3 HR).

Remember, the Yankees are paying Cole roughly $1 million per start and he's been unable to give them even a whiff of the World Series. Whether or not it's the absence of the sticky stuff, if you're Hal Steinbrenner you have to be mighty concerned now about ever getting your bang for the buck from Cole . . .