Astros sticking with struggling Matt Lindstrom as closer

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Matt Lindstrom served up a pair of homers last night to blow his sixth save, which is tied for second-most among all closers, but afterward Astros manager Brad Mills replied “not at all, he’s our guy” when asked if he was considering a switch in the ninth inning.
Third baseman Chris Johnson expressed a similar sentiment, saying “he’s our closer” and “if we’re up tomorrow by one I hope he comes into the game.”
Brian McTaggart of MLB.com notes that Lindstrom has been pitching through back spasms for the past couple weeks and suggests that might be to blame for blowing two saves in his last three appearances. While that may indeed be a factor, the bigger issue is that Lindstrom just isn’t all that good.
Lindstrom ranks among the MLB leaders in average fastball velocity every season and so he looks like a closer, but that has never equated to a ton of strikeouts and his control has always been spotty. He had a 5.89 ERA for the Marlins last season and has a 3.86 career mark with a .274 opponents’ batting average and 181/87 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
He’s a solid setup man and a mediocre closer.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.

Asdrubal Cabrera requests trade from Mets

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It’s shortstop or bust for Asdrubal Cabrera, who told reporters Friday that he will request a trade from the Mets after getting bumped to second base (via Newsday’s Marc Carig). Cabrera served as the club’s starting shortstop through the first few months of the 2017 season, but lost the role to Jose Reyes while serving a stint on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb. The switch was confirmed prior to the Mets’ series opener against the Giants on Friday, prompting Cabrera to announce his trade request before taking the field.

Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo:

Personally, I’m not really happy with that move,” Cabrera said. “If they have that plan, they should have told me before I came over here. I just told my agent about it. If they have that plan for me, I think it’s time to make a move. What I saw the last couple of weeks, I don’t think they have any plans for me. I told my agent, so we’re going to see what happens in the next couple weeks.

Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson appeared skeptical of Cabrera’s request, telling reporters that he wasn’t sure a trade was “something [Cabrera] really wishes” and saying the team would wait and see how the situation shakes out. That doesn’t mean the veteran infielder will see a return to short anytime soon, however, only that he might have a change of heart after settling into his new role.

This isn’t the first time Cabrera has balked at a position change. The Mets reportedly considered shifting him to third base earlier this season, but ultimately decided to keep him at short and denied his request to pick up his $8.5 million option for 2018, something Alderson said has little to no precedent. Further changes may be on the horizon when 21-year-old infield prospect Amed Rosario gets called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and second baseman Neil Walker returns from the disabled list, though the team has yet to address either situation.