Alex Rodriguez running across Dallas Braden’s mound in Oakland got people talking about baseball’s so-called unwritten rules and they were on display again yesterday when the White Sox freaked out after the Marlins twice stole a base up 7-0 in the fourth inning. White Sox starter Freddy Garcia was responsible for allowing the seven runs before being chased from the game in the third inning, and had this to say afterward:
It’s 7-0, it’s not a good thing to steal a base. That’s no respect for the other team. Whatever happens happens, but it’s not showing respect. It’s 7-0 when you steal second and third. I think it’s bad baseball.
And here’s what manager Ozzie Guillen said:
I don’t know what happened there, but this is baseball. You have to respect [the other team]. I was up eight a couple of days ago. That’s the way we learn to play the game. We had to do something about it, and we did. We had to tell the guys not to play like that.
What the White Sox “did” was plunk one of the players who stole a base, Brett Carroll.
Here’s the thing, though: MLB teams come back from seven-run deficits in the early innings all the time, either to make it a one- or two-run game by the later innings or to actually pull off a comeback win. For the White Sox to say the Marlins should just close up shop in the fourth inning because they’re ahead 7-0 is absurd, particularly since it’s not as if the White Sox will stop doing everything they can to close the gap.
Plus, this isn’t little league or high school or even college. This is professional baseball, at the very highest level, played and managed by grown men making millions of dollars. If you want the other team to stop scoring, then pitch and defend better. Do you think Guillen would apologize to the Marlins if they ceased trying to tack on more runs and the White Sox ended up coming back to win the game? Of course not.
Paul Konerko thankfully stepped up as the voice of reason in the White Sox’s clubhouse afterward:
I don’t know. Everybody has a different opinion. We were still holding the guy on base. Usually unless you have a double-digit lead you [can] steal a base. [Carroll] was afraid not to go because he thought he missed a steal sign. That’s what he told me. But as far as the unwritten rule, if you ask five different guys you are going to get five different answers.
Exactly. The day seven-run leads in the fourth inning mean an automatic victory is the day an unwritten rule against teams trying to score more runs should be followed.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.