Maybe, but let’s start with what we know to be true.
Tim Lincecum allowed just two hits over eight innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win over the Rockies last night. As a result, the Giants enter play Saturday with a one-game advantage over the Padres in the win column while the fading Rockies sit 3 1/2 games back in the division and four back in the Wild Card. Barring a minor miracle, the Rockies are just about done.
OK, here’s the (potential) funny business. You may recall that earlier this week, Craig informed us about some chatter that the Rockies may be slipping some non-humidor balls into circulation at opportune moments. Only adding to the controversy is the fact that the Rockies have a 51-25 (.671) record at home and a lowly 31-46 (.403) record on the road this season.
The Giants haven’t issued a formal complaint in regards to the humidor, but Lincecum may have suspected something during the sixth inning of last night’s game. The Giants’ ace was spotted evidently mouthing the words “juiced balls” as he tossed a ball back to home plate umpire Laz Diaz. Mark Townsend of Bugs and Cranks has video of moment in question, though probably for a limited time only. It sure looks it.
According to Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse, Lincecum did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on what he may have said, but for now, the conspiracy theory lives on.
If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.
It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:
Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.
The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.