May 23, 2022

Schandenfreude 328 (A Continuing Series)

The Red Sox have won five straight games (thanks to Franchy Cordero's bottom-of-the-10th grand slam which also gave Boston its first walkoff win of the season) and nine of their last 12.

Cordero's blast was the first walkoff extra-innings grand slam allowed by the Mariners since May 2010, when Kendrys Morales of the Angels broke his leg jumping on home plate. It was the Red Sox's third walkoff grand slam against the Mariners, though the first in extras. The earlier slams both came in 1998: Mo Vaughn (April 10, an epic home opener)) and Nomar Garciaparra (September 2).

The Red Sox's surge brings their record to 19-22, the first time in nearly a month they have been within three games of .500. After taking two of three from both Texas and the Astros and then sweeping four games from the Mariners, Boston will battle the White Sox (21-20) beginning Tuesday night. It's a one-city, three-game road trip — forget the suitcase, just toss some clothes in a carry-on bag — after which the team returns home to host two cellar-dwelling pushovers, the Orioles (who have actually won three of their last four games, all of them by walkoff) and Reds. (I'll call it here: on June 2, the Red Sox will be at least 25-25.)

The White Sox enjoyed their first doubleheader sweep in the Bronx since July 18, 1995, an especially  gratifying day after dealing with some racist bullshit from MFY third baseman Josh Donaldson. The nightcap's 5-0 score was the Pale Hosers' biggest shutout at either Yankee Stadium (neither of which was/is the legendary one, btw) in 32 years (July 12, 1990). We applaud Grandpa LaRussa's boys for those achievements (hey, no celebrating-and-driving, Tony), but now it's time for them to start losing again.

Mike Vaccaro, Post:

The Yankees lost a pair to the White Sox Sunday, 3-1 and 5-0 . . . 

The day began with Boone doing his best to limit the damage of one potential spit-storm, and it ended with him needing to address the emergence of another.

A day after Josh Donaldson caused a major stir by either playfully (his version) or disrespectfully (almost everyone else's) citing Jackie Robinson while addressing White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson . . . hard feelings remained, Sox closer Liam Hendriks — who, like Anderson, has had issues with Donaldson in the past — called the Yankees' third baseman's explanation "bulls—" and called him "delusional," among other pleasantries. . . .

[W]hat has to be [Boone's] chief concern [is] making sure the African-American players in that room are as willing to give Donaldson a mulligan as he is. That's something that will only be known over time.

Of as much concern is the status of his bullpen. . . . Chad Green, in his walk year, is headed for a Tommy John procedure.

Then Aroldis Chapman gave up the go-ahead home run to A.J. Pollock leading off the ninth inning of the opener, was completely ineffective in a 16-pitch outing and now may or may not be dealing with an Achilles issue. And then in game two Jonathan Loaisiga, who gave up only 17 earned runs, total, for all of 2021, allowed numbers 10, 11, 12 and 13 for 2022 as that game blew up on him in the eighth. . . .

[H]ow much longer can Boone keep giving Chapman the ball? It has been a thoroughly star-crossed time in New York for Chapman [whose] extended slumps every season . . . are as puzzling as they are damaging.

Yankees fans have never been terribly patient with Chapman. . . . 

Chapman's heel may buy Boone some time, but it is a reckoning that he will have to confront sooner or later. It's never as easy as it looks . . . 

The baseball season always finds you and challenges you, eventually. . . . Consider Sunday just a friendly reminder.

Phil Mushnick, Post, May 21, 2022:

Reader Pat Esposito sent a screen shot from the Mariners-Red Sox game, as televised Thursday by the MLB Network. . . .

The Red Sox had the bases loaded — Alex Verdugo on third, Trevor Story on second, Bobby Dalbec on first. 

That's when MLBN — from a high, wide shot — decided to graphically explain what it means to have the bases loaded. You know, just in case there wasn't enough to impede the view or that a viewer, just arrived from the Isle of Duh, needed help. 

Above Verdugo, MLBN posted a graphic, an arrow pointing down at him. It read, "Verdugo, R 3B," apparently to explain that Verdugo was the "R" — runner on third. Or was R 3B his blood type? . . .

Same for Story and Dalbec. Their name, that arrow pointed toward them, plus each given a graphic, "R 2B" and "R 1B." . . .

MLB daily qualifies as the village idiot. And for all the things in immediate need of fixing, MLB repairs what already works. It's like replacing a roadside "STOP" signs with audio commands. . . .

The fully unintended application of MLB's replay rule — a close call followed by a second guess — was again in bloom Wednesday on SNY. 

Pete Alonso, after a first inning pitch, up and in, was ruled to have been hit by it. The Cardinals challenged, claiming, after a peek at a replay, that the ball had hit the knob of Alonso's bat, thus in addition to returning to bat, Alonso would be charged with a foul-ball strike. 

A bunch of replays followed, the usual unnatural stuff — slow motion, freeze frames, a shot from a hidden camera in a potted plant. Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez agreed: off the knob. Cohen even suggested Buck Showalter knows the call "will be overturned."

But after further delay, word was relayed from MLB's Downtown Video Nerve Center & Home of Definite Maybes: "After review, the call stands." SNY cut to the Cards' dugout, where players were seen gesturing disbelief. "Wow, that's a bad call," Hernandez said. . . .

MLB is stuck in stupid. . . . 

MLB already has chosen to artificially put quick ends to extra inning games — once often memorable, even cherished for their tension and unforeseen occurrences — with automatic runners at second. 

Yanks Love To Give Up Bases Admiring Almost-Homers

Even if the Yankees win 110 games, they'll enter the playoffs a highly vulnerable team if they continue to play Aaron Boone Baseball. 

At least four times in recent games, the Yankees wound up a base short due to the youth league-forbidden failure to run to first base. 

In one game, Josh Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu, prematurely surrendering to infield ground balls, jogged to first then headed for the dugout when they should have been on first due to first a bobbled ball, later to a bad throw. 

This past week, first Aaron Judge, then Giancarlo Stanton chose similarly. For Stanton it was a recurring tale of doing the least he can do playing for a manager who consistently indulges the least from professionals at the sport's highest level. 

That Stanton, last season in a one-game playoff the Yankees lost in Boston, posed a double into a single high off the wall wasn't going to bother or change him. Not at $29 million per. 

Thursday in Baltimore, he did the same, posing to watch his shot smack off the wall, then only reaching first. 

Did it matter that the Yankees lost to the O's in the ninth? Judging from what we've seen from Stanton, not a bit. It's obvious he cares only about hitting home runs — and that Boone is good with that. 

Tuesday, Judge jogged to first while watching his blast slam off the left-field wall then roll back toward the infield. As per modern minimalism, the center fielder didn't bother to back up. Judge, who drove in a run with the double, was then thrown out at third. 

On YES, Carlos Beltran, who nearly managed the Mets, twice praised Judge's "hustle." Had he run the whole way he'd have been safe at third! 

Of course, such lethargy is explained as batters having "thought" they cleared the fence, when it's often a case of "hoping," then a case of too late. 

Yep, come the playoffs the Yankees will be vulnerable. Then again, the likelihood that their opponents play the same way is pretty good, too. . . .

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