Philly columnist: Braves screwed up by keeping Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz together

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Maddux Glavine Smoltz.jpgSomeone must have slipped me some bad liquor or something, because I’m sure I didn’t just read an article by Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that the Braves would have won more titles in the 90s if they hadn’t had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. I mean, that would be, like, the stupidest thing ever:

Yes, the Braves cut loose some stars along that 14-season run. But they also did exactly what the Phillies resisted doing this winter. They already had John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine when they signed Greg Maddux before the 1993 season . . . Did keeping three future Hall of Famers for all those years cash-strap them out of multiple world titles? It’s a thought.

Yes, bringing together three Hall of Fame pitchers to form the best starting rotation of all time was what prevented the Braves from winning more World Series. Clearly the team would have been better off if they had avoided splurging on Greg Maddux and, rather than have him post historically awesome seasons throughout the 90s in a Braves uniform, spent the money on a lefty specialist.

And if you think I’m taking this quote out of context or something, here’s the windup:

So be careful with our hearts, fellas. We’ve made you The Show in this
hard-to-please town. Maybe we can’t be the Yankees, but we sure don’t
want to be the Braves for the next decade either.

Yeah, winning the division every year would be, like, a total downer.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.