Because of (a) a rain delay; and (b) the fact that the Tigers couldn’t get the Mets out last night, Jon Niese ended up going an hour and a half between his last pitch of the third inning and his first pitch in the fourth. The delay was consequential: The Tigers couldn’t touch Niese for the first three innings last night, but after the delay he gave up six runs on seven hits.
I’m assuming the reason Jerry Manuel sent Niese out was because he was staked to a 10-0 lead and, with a couple innings more, he would have gotten the easy win. In fact he ended up with a no-decision, unable to make it through five. Here’s Manuel on what happened:
“I thought what hurt him was trying to be careful with the lead knowing
he only had to go a couple more innings. He was throwing his
pitches for strikes but at the end he was just trying to get by. I
thought it was a great learning experience for him.”
Sure, being careful was what hurt him. It had nothing to do with going cold in the long delay and coming back with zero life in his arm, all because the manager thought it was important for him to get a little W on the back of his baseball card.
Apropos of nothing, I was reading a pretty neat article in the New York Times yesterday about something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a condition in which an incompetent person is unaware of his own incompetence. It’s not clear from the article if becoming aware that you are unaware of your own incompetence solves the problem, but it may be worth sliding the article under Jerry Manuel’s door all the same.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.