I wish I didn’t know so many cool Cardinals fans, because it would be nice to gloat about Tony “master of the bullpen” La Russa having to suffer through bullpen implosions on consecutive nights. But I do know a lot of cool Cardinals fans, and that takes all the damn fun out of it.
Last night’s loss ended when Chris Iannetta hit a leadoff, walkoff homer in the ninth, but the roots of this loss were in the earlier innings and, in all likelihood, Tuesday night’s game. Earlier innings in which La Russa had to burn through multiple relievers, leaving him with Evan MacLane — who had just been called up — to handle the ninth. Mitchell Boggs, Trever Miller and Jason Motte were either gassed or just didn’t have it or both before MacLane came in, and because of it the Cards frittered away a five-run lead for the second time in as many nights.
The killer in all of this is that these losses have served to waste big offensive nights for St. Louis after they they had struggled to score runs for so damn long. Indeed, the Cardinals scored more than seven
runs both nights — the first time they’d done that since the end of May — but it was all for naught.
But I guess it could be worse for Cardinals fans. They could be Knicks fans.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.