The Cardinals are complaining about slick balls again

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chris carpenter headshot cardinals.jpgLast October John Smoltz and the Cardinals complained mightily about the balls being used in Great American Ballpark. The beef: that the Reds don’t properly rub them down with Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud to remove the gloss as God and Major League Baseball rule 3.01(c) intends.

They’re at it again, with Chris Carpenter saying after yesterday’s game that the baseballs
were not prepared properly. Carpenter: “(Either) they make an adjustment or look into it, (or) ultimately,
somebody’s going to get hurt. Something’s going to get
away, or whatever, and end up getting somebody in the head. I hope that
doesn’t happen.”

This is the power of suggestion at work. Last fall Carpenter’s manager and the future Hall-of-Famer made a big stink over it. He knows for weeks if not months ahead of time that he’ll make his season debut in Cincinnati. I think he just psyched himself out over it.

And to be sure: the rule linked above says that it’s the umpires — not the home team who supplies the balls — who has final sign-off on whether they’re acceptable for game play.  The umpires for yesterday’s game thought the balls were OK. The Reds’ pitchers had to use the same balls and they didn’t complain. Unless Carpenter thinks they’re all in on the conspiracy too, I’m chalking this up to self-inflicted delusion.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.

Shelby Miller has a tear in his UCL, considering Tommy John surgery

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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and is considering undergoing Tommy John surgery. Surgery would end Miller’s 2017 season and would cut into a significant portion — if not all — of his 2018 season as well.

Miller sent his MRI results to Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. James Andrews for second and third opinions, respectively. He could choose to rehab his elbow rather than undergo surgery, but that comes with its own set of positives and negatives.

Miller lasted only four-plus innings in his most recent start on Sunday and carries a 4.09 ERA on the season, his second with the Diamondbacks. His time in Arizona has not gone well.