LaRoches and Weavers making brotherly history

Leave a comment

Adam LaRoche and Andy LaRoche both homered last night against the Twins, becoming the first brothers to do so in the same game for the Pirates since Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner in 1938.

The Waner boys
are among the best brother combos in baseball history, combining for
5,611 hits and two of my favorite nicknames. Paul was “Big Poison” and
Lloyd was “Little Poison” because a fan in New York one day decided to
heckle them as “Big and Little Person” with an accent too thick to
completely understand. Seriously.

In other brother news, Jered Weaver of the Angels and Jeff Weaver of the Dodgers are scheduled to face off Saturday for the first time. MLB.com notes
that 20 pairs of pitching brothers have matched up against each other
throughout baseball history, with the most recent coming in 2002 with
Andy Benes and Alan Benes.

Jered is obviously the superior Weaver right now, ranking second in
the AL with a 2.08 ERA while his brother is merely making a spot start
in place of the injured Eric Milton, but once upon a time Jeff was
nearly as promising. Here are the Weaver’s respective numbers through
the age of 25:

             IP      ERA     SO9     BB9
Jered 461 3.71 7.3 2.6
Jeff 793 4.30 6.1 2.5

Jeff fell apart in his age-26 season by going 7-9 with a 5.99 ERA
following a trade to the Yankees and has posted a 5.03 ERA overall
after the age of 25, whereas Jered is currently 7-2 with a 2.08 ERA as
a 26-year-old and appears destined for a much more successful career.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

Getty Images
1 Comment

Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.