Jair Jurrjens scratched: Brandon Beachy to start against Philly

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OK, so maybe he’s not being punished for talking out of school. Brandon Beachy will get the start for the Braves tonight against the Phillies. Jair Jurrjens has been scratched with a bum knee. It’s Beachy’s big league debut.

I kind of like Beachy, actually. He just turned 24. Between AAA and AA this year he’s 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA, mostly out of the pen. The thing I like the most is that he has struck out 148 dudes in 119 innings while walking only 28.

Still, let the record reflect that in this week’s three-game series, the Phillies will be running out pitchers with 765 starts among them.  The Braves will be running out a trio with 59 combined major league starts. Fifty-two of those starts are from the old man of the group, Tommy Hanson. Against the best team in baseball according to some marginal ranking systems.

Let the record also reflect that, once this news was announced a few minutes ago, my Phillies Phriends on Twitter had the same, simultaneous response: oh, god, the last thing the Phillies need is to face some rookie we’ve never seen before. Dash Treyhorn’s response may have had a bit of hyperbole to it, but I sense real dread: “The Phils would have a better shot against King Felix than a rookie making his MLB debut.”

Such anxiety for a fan base that should have very little of it these days. Further evidence of it was on display when, after ranking Philly first in today’s Power Rankings, the primary response was “you tryin’ to jinx us?” This from people who get really angry whenever I call Philly fans insecure.

But hey: no pressure. The champion-presumptive of Major League Baseball is going nuclear by throwing its three best starters against a faltering team who are throwing out a trio of starters who probably have shaved six times combined.

No pressure.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

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The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.