It’s approximately 165 degrees here in the Midwest today, so heading out to see a day game was already an iffy proposition for Tigers fans. Those who used their day off work to do so were greeted with one of the uglier games of the past couple of weeks, as the Tigers and Orioles decided to have a pitching-optional Monday matinee.
O’s starter Kevin Millwood was pulled after a single inning having allowed five runs on four hits and a couple of walks. Staked to a 5-1 lead, Tigers starter Andy Oliver promptly came out and allowed five of his own in the top of the second, finishing his day having allowed six runs in an inning and two-thirds. The Tigers bullpen stopped the bleeding more effectively than the Orioles’ did, however, and Detroit ended up winning going away.
Millwood was supposed to be an attractive bit of merchandise at the trade deadline, but he’s been basically dreadful since the first of May, watching his ERA shoot from 3.15 to 5.77 in that time. As for Oliver, he looks to be the latest Detroit pitcher to need the Toledo cure, following Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello down 1-75.
Let’s hope this evening brings us some better baseball than this afternoon.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: