Some nights nothing goes your way, including the manager.
Every close-knit group of friends will develop its own vernacular. Spend enough time with the same people and you’ll share enough experiences and stories that it doesn’t make sense to spell out the entire metaphor—you just quote the line from the movie everyone has memorized, and everyone understands.
Similarly, people who love baseball develop their own semi-secret language around the game—maybe not every Tom, Dick and Harry at the ballpark, but you’re enough of a diehard to read Baseball Prospectus, so you know what I’m talking about. The vocabulary comes from old friends or coaches, or from indelible moments from the past, and every fan has his or her own unique set of idioms.
The A's ace adjusts but struggles again, the Yankees hit bombs, Corey Kluber bombs, and the best Bad-Braves Fun Fact we heard yesterday.
The Monday Takeaway
When this season began, Sonny Gray was Sonny Gray. Seven innings of one-run work on Opening Day paved the way for three more quality efforts, amounting to a 2.73 ERA four starts into his 2016 campaign. Then, on April 27th, the Tigers sent Gray to the showers after just two-plus innings. And while the right-hander bounced back to log seven innings six days later, the Mariners tagged him for 11 hits and seven runs during his time on the hill.
The last-place Yankees continue to suffer, the Blue Jays offense breaks out, and Colin Rea hacks the feed for two hours.
The Thursday Takeaway
A game that stays scoreless into the 10th sounds like a textbook example of a pitchers’ duel. This presumption gets a bit weaker when the teams in question are the Orioles, who had not scored in 12 innings heading into Thursday, and the last-place Yankees, who have hardly been a model of offensive capability this year. Regardless, keeping the scoreboard empty into extras is a feat, and both Masahiro Tanaka and Kevin Gausman looked sharp yesterday—particularly Gausman, who held New York to three hits with no walks over eight innings.
In the four years since Gausman was drafted, he’s been seen (among other things and in no particular order) as: a top prospect, a question mark, a disappointment, a popular example of every question around the Orioles’ pitcher development, and a young man painfully familiar with the road between Baltimore and Norfolk. Right now, he’s a back-of-the-rotation starter, and on Thursday, he was a very good pitcher.
Joshua finds a book of interesting stories, then an interesting story in the flesh, as he job takes him to unexpected places.
Since my last column, I have had many opportunities to celebrate during this young season: Jeremy Jeffress is six for six in saves, and in his arb year no less; Steve Clevenger has finally found some stability, on the Mariners’ 25-man roster; Carlos Asuaje is hammering for the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, and seems to be right on the verge of making it. It’s been a nice season thus far, beginning with an odd day I spent in Arizona.
Three years ago, Michael was dead wrong about the shift. He still is, but now he has a powerful ally.
I love Joe Girardi, in large part because he looks like a Serious Dad. He’s got the kind of stern face that makes you believe that you were actually wrong to play Indoor Softball in front of the new TV.
By virtue of his Serious Dad Face, among other skills and virtues, Girardi has navigated two tricky ownership groups, become the only manager ever to win Manager of the Year with a losing record and—most importantly—won the 2009 World Series.
The Braves' outfield battle is down to three contenders, while the Orioles and Yankees try to round out their pitching staffs before Opening Day.
The Braves’ fourth outfield spot is still open to Jeff Francoeur, Michael Bourn, or Emilio Bonifacio Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn may have been a package deal for the Braves at the 2015 deadline, but it’s almost certain that they’ll be parting ways by Opening Day. The Braves are narrowing down their bench candidates, and according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Nick Swisher is likely to get the boot by the end of spring training if he fails to net a trade offer. Assuming the Braves offload the veteran outfielder by absorbing the rest of his $15 million contract, they’ll still have to rid themselves of another outfield candidate to set their 25-man roster. That leaves just three outfielders to duke it out: Bourn, clubhouse personality Jeff Francoeur, and bargain backup Emilio Bonifacio.
MLB issued the first suspension under its new domestic violence policy. Was it the right case to rule on first?
Aroldis Chapman received a 30-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Tuesday. In some ways, his case is a lot like many other domestic violence cases: Witnesses gave conflicting statements; the details were alarming, but hard to parse. It is obvious something happened, but local authorities didn’t believe whatever that was merited criminal charges. But because Chapman struck out 41.7 percent of the batters he faced last year, his case isn’t like a lot of other domestic violence cases. He was traded to the Yankees in December, at which point it became clear the Yankees had worked their way into a deplorable win-win: If MLB chose not to suspend Chapman, the Yankees would enjoy his services for a full season. If he were suspended, it might stunt his service time sufficiently to delay his free agency for another year. The 30 games avoid that question, and Chapman’s decision not to appeal avoids a potentially ugly arbitration.
Many of us clamor for players to express themselves, and for clubs to let them. But woe to the expressive player who displeases us.
Last week, after careful consideration of their organizational dysfunction, the Miami Marlins got to the root of the issue and banned facial hair. A new season and media training session brought Yankees players an uncomfortable comparison between Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. And months after his notorious scuffle with Bryce Harper, Jonathan Papelbon traipsed through the Nationals Spring Training facility in an “Obama Can’t Ban These Guns” t-shirt. All three incidents stirred the baseball world’s collective ire, with the Marlins, Yankees, and Papelbon facing derision. Papelbon is ready made for a black hat; the Yankees and Marlins are ironically ready to twirl mustaches. But the backlash seemed to me a failed test of our self-professed commitment to player expression.