Things could be going better for new Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley, who was ejected for a second time in three days Friday night after exchanging words with home plate umpire Jon Merry following a questionable called third strike.
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu immediately came to the defense of his outfielder, and seems to think umpires are targeting Bradley specifically. Here’s what he told the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker after Friday’s 2-6 Cactus League loss to the Reds:
“To me, it’s almost like a witch hunt,” said Wak. “I mean, it’s almost embarrassing to me when egos get involved to the point where they don’t
even give a guy a chance. … Again, I think it’s pretty blatant that some guys have it out for him.”
The conspiracy talk may be overdoing it, but it’s pretty evident that Bradley’s reputation is going to leave him with little leeway in arguments no matter the jersey he is wearing. He needs to be careful this season, because we’re sure Wakamatsu and the rest of the Mariners’ management team will quickly tire of defending his actions. Bradley, 31, batted .257/.378/.397 last season for the Cubs. He’s just one year removed from a career-best .321/.436/.563 batting line.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.