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.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.