Mike Lupica is one of about 3,246 people previewing the Yankees-Sox series that begins tonight. He says something in his preview that a lot of Yankees-types are saying:
The Yankees do not need to sweep the Red Sox this weekend. And even if they take three of four, they don’t knock the Red Sox out of the race, they don’t prove they are the best team in the league, they don’t settle the score for starting out 0-8 against Boston this season. The Yankees just need to do this: Bring an old swagger to a new ballpark over the next four days . . . A good time to make it seem like old times around here. New park, old swagger.
Can someone please explain to me what this means apart from, you know, winning games? The term “swagger” really started getting thrown around in sports with those Miami Hurricanes teams of the 1980s. Back then I took it to mean arrogance or showboating or something, as a swaggering walk (say, after sacking the QB or scoring a touchdown) kind of implied. The term is used so often now that I think it has lost all meaning. Does Lupica mean that the Yankee pitchers should knock down some Sox hitters (if so, read this for a second opinion)? Does he mean that Teixeira should circle the bases with one flap down, Jeffrey Leonard style? I wish he’d explain.
Baseball is not football. There is no physical domination or really a lot of room for style like you might see in the NFL. If you execute, you win. If you don’t, you lose. I can’t imagine how “swagger” enters into it, apart from providing an empty concept about which sports writers can bleat until the actual games start.
Maybe I’m just missing the point. If so, someone please tell me exactly what “swagger” looks like in a baseball context.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”