It has come to this: the Giants have a rally thong

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While the Padres have been a good story, I’ve been rather agnostic on the NL West race this year. The games just end too late for me so I can’t get into it the way I get into the east and central races.  That’s probably going to change now that I know this, courtesy of the Merc’s Andrew Baggarly:

Anyway, like most baseball players, [Aubrey] Huff is superstitious. So he made
a little, ahem, alteration to his uniform to help change his luck.

He’s wearing a red thong. And not the kind that Omar Vizquel used to
wear. I’m pretty sure this one came from the lingerie department, not
men’s furnishings.

“We’re 3-1 with it,” he blared after tonight’s raucous victory. “I might never get a hit the rest of the year, though.”

4-1 after last night’s win over the Dodgers.

In a followup post, Huff made it clear that it should be referred to as the “rally thong.” He held it up to teammates and said “this is 20 wins right here.” All right-thinking people can agree that it, rather than the Padres’ 10-game losing streak, is responsible for the Giants pulling within one game.

I guess the Padres could counter, though. They wear camouflage all the time and are big at tipping their caps to the large military population of San Diego. Next logical step: go commando.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.