John Harper of the New York Daily News, after talking about how Bartolo Colon and the Angels stymied Alex Rodriguez in the 2005 playoffs by pitching him inside, passes along the Angels’ top-secret plan to contain A-Rod this year:
As a scout from a different AL team said yesterday: “The book on (A-Rod) hasn’t changed over the years. You need to come inside hard, above the hands. That’s where his hole (in his swing) is. If you get his attention in there, then you have a better chance of getting him to chase breaking stuff away.”
I’m reminded of the famous passage in “Ball Four” where Jim Bouton observes that almost every single scouting report for every single hitter is “smoke ’em inside and then get him to chase something away.”
Seems to me that the key thing here isn’t a scouting report, it’s the ability to execute it. A-Rod may have a hole in his swing, but based on his career numbers, not too many people have been able to find it.
Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.
While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.
Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.
SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.
Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.
Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.
At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.
In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.