One final note from that Braves-Reds game yesterday. After the game, Dusty was being asked about his bullpen usage. Specifically, why he pulled Arthur Rhodes after he struck Jason Heyward out with the bases loaded rather than have him face the grand slam-hitting Brooks Conrad. Dusty’s response:
“He wouldn’t have faced Conrad,” Baker said. “It would have been Clevlen.”
That’s Brent Clevlen, the Braves’ right-handed bench jockey.
To which I ask whether or not Baker is aware that Brooks Conrad is a switch hitter, thereby obviating the need for Cox to bring Clevlen into the game to face Rhodes. That is, if he even would have done so had Rhodes stayed in. Clevlen has had exactly one plate appearance so far this year, and that came after he was used as a pinch runner in a blowout. I’d be shocked if Bobby Cox would have gone with anyone other than Conrad in that situation, regardless of who was pitching.
Of course this is Monday morning quarterbacking, and in saying what he said I think Dusty was exhibiting more frustration about an obviously crushing game than he was exhibiting ignorance about Brooks Conrad’s handedness (which I didn’t even know until it was pointed out to me).
To be honest, if I were Dusty I probably just would have said “look, what are the friggin’ odds that Brooks friggin’ Conrad would hit a friggin’ grand slam off my friggin’ $45 million closer? Go ask Cordero why it happened. Go ask my defense why they gave the Braves so many damn chances today. I’m gonna go get on the team plane and drink whiskey until they run out of it, OK? We done?”
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had trouble coming up with an Anthony Rizzo line drive in the top of the third inning. The ball seemed to curve at the last minute, clanking off of McCutchen’s glove, setting up first and third with two outs for the Cubs. McCutchen was sacked with an error. Ben Zobrist then cranked out a three-run home run off of starter Juan Nicasio to put the Cubs up 3-0.
Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, McCutchen said after the game, “Whoever scored that an error should be fired. That’s unbelievable. I did everything I could to catch it.”
Here’s the video. Rule 9.12(a) in baseball’s official rules states:
(a) The official scorer shall charge an error against any fielder:
(1) whose misplay (fumble, muff or wild throw) prolongs the time at bat of a batter, prolongs the presence on the bases of a runner or permits a runner to advance one or more bases
Pretty cut and dried stuff here. It was an error.
Rangers 3B/OF Joey Gallo will miss three to four weeks with a Grade 1 groin strain, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Gallo, 22, has spent the season at Triple-A Round Rock, where he’s hit a productive .254/.400/.642 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 85 plate appearances. Gallo was at times impressive in 123 plate appearances with the Rangers last year, but the club felt he needed some more work on his plate discipline, as he struck out 57 times in 123 PA at the big league level in 2015. At Triple-A this year, Gallo has drawn 17 walks and struck out 21 times.
Assuming he heals as expected from the injury, Gallo should join the Rangers at some point during the summer.
Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy flirted with the cycle in Wednesday afternoon’s 13-2 drubbing of the Royals, as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of singles, a two-run double, and a solo home run. That brings his triple-slash line on the season up to .398/.449/.663. Comparatively, teammate Bryce Harper — the defending NL MVP and arguably the best player in baseball — is currently hitting .266/.372/.649.
Murphy has always been an above-average hitter, but this level of hitting is something else. Of course, he flashed it in the post-season last year when he homered in six consecutive games, helping the Mets advance past the Dodgers in the NLDS and sweep the Cubs in the NLCS.
The Nats signed Murphy to a three-year, $37.5 million contract in January. If Neil Walker, acquired from the Pirates to replace Murphy, wasn’t hitting so well, the Mets would probably be jealous. Walker is hitting .296/.330/.582 with nine home runs and 19 RBI.
It’s always fun when this happens. Cubs starter Jon Lester snagged a grounder hit back up the middle by Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the second inning. The only problem was that the ball got stuck in the webbing of his glove. Rather than fight to pry the ball out, Lester just lobbed his glove over to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to get the first out of the inning.
Lester has had issues throwing baseballs to first base, so maybe it was a good thing the ball got stuck in his glove.
Lester did this last year, too, by the way.