CSI: Buster Olney

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Miguel Cabrera has apologized to his teammates and the Tigers have been eliminated, so the whole issue of him getting his drink on and getting violent is now less a public matter than it is a matter between Cabrera, his wife, his team, his health and the law, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out Buster Olney’s piece on it all today.  He contacted an expert to determine whether or not Cabrera was still drunk at gametime last Saturday. The upshot:

Jim Fell, the Director for Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md., said in a phone interview that the typical person processes alcohol at the rate of about .015 per hour, which means that someone with a blood alcohol level of .26 would need about 17 hours for the alcohol to clear his or her system. An experienced drinker would metabolize alcohol at about .020 per hour . . . an experienced drinker would have required 13 hours to metabolize alcohol at that level.

Based on the time of the BAC test and first pitch, that means that if Cabrera metabolizes booze like an experienced drinker, he was at a .08 at the time he showed up at the ballpark and a .02 at first pitch.  If he’s more of a regular Joe, he would have been a .08 at game time. Of course, Olney’s expert did not factor in the healing power of Sausage McMuffins in all of this, so I’m a bit dubious of the results. 

That aside, I’m inclined to think Cabrera would be better off if he metabolized like a normal person. A BAC of 08 is probably buzzed. With a .02, you’re likely entering full-blown hangover mode.  Your mileage may vary, but while being sober is always preferable, drinkers I know — and Cabrera sounds like one — tend to function a tad better with a little grease in the gears than they do when the gears are grinding following a bender.

Anyone who wants to take their last shots at Cabrera had better do so in the comments, because I’m not writing about him again until the inevitable “Cabrera enters rehab” story comes out.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.