Mariano Rivera has been a major league pitcher since 1995. In those 15 years, I can recall exactly zero instances of him being critical of someone in the press. The man does his job, takes a shower, goes home and does it again the next day and doesn’t let the petty affairs of the mere mortals around him disturb him in any way whatsoever. So when he spoke with the New York Post about Joe West’s intemperate bleatings yesterday, it was definitely notable:
“It’s incredible. If he has places to go, let
him do something else. What does he want us to do, swing at balls? He has a job to do. He should do his job. We don’t want
to play four-hour games but that’s what it takes. We respect and love
the fans and do what we have to do and that’s play our game.”
Joe West might have a point about game length, but (a) it’s his job to try and do something about it; (b) he could start by calling strikes strikes instead of squeezing everyone like he does; and (c) regardless of any of that, he was way, way out of line in going public with his complaints about the Yankees and the Red Sox. If he’s got a problem with them he should take it to the Commissioner’s Office, and in no event should he — a freakin’ umpire crew chief — be ripping teams in the press.
I hope West is disciplined for his wrong-place, wrong-time comments yesterday, and I hope that Major League Baseball makes that discipline public, just as it would do for any player or manager who went after the umpires. Integrity is a two-way street, and if it’s improper for players to questions an umpire’s integrity, it’s improper for an umpire to do the same of the players over whom he has considerable power.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: