Scott Olsen had his no hitter broken up with one out in the top of the
eighth inning against the Braves. If he had actually no-hit Atlanta, it would have been the second time on the young season that it happened (See, Jimenez, Ubaldo). That wouldn’t have been good. Indeed, after the game, Chipper Jones said “”I think if that would have happened you’d probably have to put us all
on suicide watch.”
Sounds to me like the Braves would have done anything to avoid that. But would they have sunk to mind games, dirty tricks and general nefariousness?
That’s what the Nationals Enquirer blog thinks. After pointing out that Bobby Cox had the grounds crew come out to the mound to tamp it down and do a little maintenance a half-inning before the no-no was broken up, Nats’ Enquirer says:
Okay, so maybe in the grand scheme of things, this request by Bobby Cocks Cox and/or Tim
Hudson had nothing to do with David Ross breaking up the no-no an inning
later, but damn if that doesn’t appear to be a totally Bush League,
Hurm. Though I’m sure mound
maintenance during a no-hitter is not printed somewhere in the unwritten rule book, I can’t say I know the politics of that sort of thing. For what it’s worth, I scoured various Braves and Nats blogs this morning, as well as the game reports from the AJC, the Washington Post and MLB.com, and I couldn’t find a single mention of the mound tamping thing.
I’m not one of those guys who offers knee-jerk defenses of my team, but
in this case I’m not seeing it. If any of you have any insight into this matter, by all means, I’d love to hear it.
Update (11:09 PM EDT):
From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.
The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.
The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.
As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.
Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.
The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.
During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.