Lou Piniella going off on Steve Stone last week was obviously a long time in the making, but it was pushed to the surfaced because of comments Stone made recently criticizing Piniella for not playing rookie Tyler Colvin enough.
Piniella blasted Stone for having the gall to criticize him, basically said he has no idea what he’s talking about … and is now doing exactly what Stone suggested. Seriously. Piniella said yesterday that Colvin will begin to get more playing time:
We said when the time was right we were going to make this type of move, and the time’s getting real right. He deserves an opportunity. We brought him along and he waited his turn and he deserves an opportunity.
So, maybe Piniella was just upset at Stone for stealing his thunder?
Colvin started in right field and batted second last night, replacing fellow left-handed hitter Kosuke Fukudome against right-hander Gavin Floyd. Colvin has forced his way into the lineup by hitting .296 with six homers and eight doubles in 98 at-bats as a part-time player, posting a team-leading .936 OPS, and the fact that Fukudome is also in his annual post-April slump makes things a lot easier on Piniella.
As for Stone … well, he didn’t seem to be bothered one bit by Piniella taking shots at him, seemingly taking it as well as he dished it out, and is probably pretty amused by how quickly the Cubs’ manager followed his advice. Or maybe the whole feud was all just a ruse to get the focus away from the team’s 28-35 record.
The Marlins were somehow able to muster up the strength not only to play Monday night’s game against the Mets, but also win it convincingly one day after losing Jose Fernandez in a tragic boating accident. The Marlins and Mets helped pay tribute to Fernandez prior to the start of the game as outlined here.
When the game started, the Marlins came out of the gate with a bang. Dee Gordon homered in his first at-bat, then the club hung a four-spot in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning to chase starter Bartolo Colon and take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Mets chipped away for two runs in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run homer and tacked on one more in the eighth, but ultimately fell short by a 7-3 margin.
Gordon finished 4-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. Justin Bour went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, and a walk along with an RBI and two runs scored.
A.J. Ramos, who closed out the win, placed the ball on the pitcher’s mound for Fernandez. The Marlins huddled around the mound and said a prayer. The players huddled closer to the rubber on the mound, then left their hats behind as they retreated to the clubhouse as fans at Marlins Park chanted, “Jose, Jose, Jose.”
In a post-game interview, Gordon called his first-inning home run “the best moment of my life,” as NBC 6 Sports reports.
The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.
Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.
In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.
Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.
The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.
Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.
The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.
The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.