Stat of the day: Triple-A ERA leaders

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International League top 10
1. Carlos Torres (White Sox) – 2.39
2. Matt Maloney (Reds) – 3.08
3. Michael Bowden (Red Sox) – 3.13
4. Justin Lehr (Reds) – 3.31
5. Kyle Kendrick (Phillies) – 3.34
6. Drew Carpenter (Phillies) – 3.35
7. Wade Davis (Rays) – 3.40
8. Daniel McCutchen (Pirates) – 3.46
9. Marco Estrada (Nationals) – 3.63
10. Chris Lambert (Tigers-Mets) – 3.84
– Of course, most of the International League’s most talented pitchers didn’t qualify for the list. Tommy Hanson had a 1.49 ERA in 11 starts, Clay Buchholz had a 2.36 ERA in 16 starts and Chris Tillman had a 2.70 ERA in 18 starts.
– The league strikeout leader was Carlos Carrasco at 148. He also had just a 1.24 WHIP, but he finished with a 4.64 ERA. It’s becoming easier to see why since the Indians added him to their rotation at the beginning of the month.
– Making Bowden’s season remarkable was that he finished 4-6 with a whopping 14 no-decisions in his 24 starts. He did average just 5.3 innings per start, but that’s still pretty incredible.
– It will be interesting to see if anyone wants to take a chance on Kendrick after the season he had. To go along with his 3.34 ERA, he had a fine 1.17 WHIP and he allowed only nine homers in 143 innings. However, he also struck out just 68 batters. The Phillies will probably opt to keep him around as insurance unless they get offered a quality prospect for his services.
PCL top 10
1. Bud Norris (Astros) – 2.63
2. Ramon Ortiz (Giants) – 3.05
3. Yorman Bazardo (Astros) – 3.20
4. Lenny DiNardo (Royals) – 3.32
5. Josh Banks (Padres) – 3.46
6. Giancarlo Alvarado (Dodgers) – 3.49
7. Charlie Haeger (Dodgers) – 3.55
8. Clay Hensley (Astros-Marlins) – 3.56
9. J.R. Mathes (Cubs) – 3.62
10. Willie Collazo (Marlins) – 3.70
– Brandon Hynick, the pitcher the White Sox got from the Rockies for Jose Contreras earlier this month, also deserves mention. He finished 11th at 3.83, but given that he was pitching at Colorado Springs, his performance was more impressive than that of a few guys ahead of him on the list.
– Hensley came in at 3.24 in his 19 starts with New Orleans after a failed stint at the Astros organization at the beginning of the year.

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.