In the recaps I called the Sox-Yankees game “boring.” Upon reflection that was unfair. It wasn’t a boring game. While not the most crisp affair imaginable, it was close and competitive and I shouldn’t really be complaining. It was long, sometimes unnecessarily so, and that’s really what I was reacting against. “Boring” was not the right choice of words, however.
What was interesting: Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez trying, in his own way, to move things along. On one occasion Derek Jeter asked for time and the ump refused to give it to him. Same with David Ortiz. When Oritz didn’t get time called Jorge Posada and
A.J. Burnett got confused and called time themselves. The announcers then
went on about how Major League Baseball is pushing umpires to move things along — especially in Sox-Yankees games — and that pitchers should just take advantage and just throw the ball there.
I’m sure this was discombobulating for the hitters — and since the game was still nearly four hours long it wasn’t necessarily effective in this instance — but I hope the umps keep it up and impress upon hitters that there is really no need to spit on your batting gloves like Ortiz does or back out of the box and take that big deep breath Jeter does every time or chomp on your gum and squint like A-Rod and all that nonsense.
Get in there and swing, dammit.
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.
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.