I mentioned in the recaps this morning that it’s hard to gauge the impact of the rainout given that the Tigers will throw better starters out there while the Twins have a better bullpen. What I didn’t think about until some readers and the Strib’s Joe Christensen reminded me of it was that two games in one day will have some fallout with respect to Joe Mauer deployment. As in, can the guy catch for eighteen innings in one day and still be expected to carry the offensive load?
While Ron Gardenhire says he hasn’t made up his mind, Christensen and my reader thinks that Mauer will catch Game 1 and be the designated hitter in Game 2. Makes sense to me. Which may not actually be a bad thing in terms of offense maximizaton, because recently Ron Gardenhire has been using Brendan Harris as a DH when Mauer catches, but putting in Jose Morales behind the plate when Mauer DHs. I don’t know how Morales’s defense measures up — it’s likely inferior to Mauer’s — but Morales > Harris with the stick, and runs may be hard to come by against Porcello and Verlander today.
Right now the weather, while iffy — it’s going to be cold and gusty, but the rain will be of the scattered, as opposed to soaking variety — looks like it will hold. It’s possible that by the time we go to bed tonight the Tigers will have all but locked up the division. It’s also possible that the Twins will have tied the damn thing. Either way, I’m excited as hell for a truly meaningful twinbill.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.