Joe Maddon told Evan Longoria "to guard that leg" with injury

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Evan Longoria’s quadriceps injury hasn’t hurt his hitting any, as he went 3-for-4 with a homer and two doubles in the Rays’ win yesterday, but he was clearly running at significantly less than full strength on his home run trot.
“I kind of felt like Kirk Gibson going around the bases a little bit,” Longoria told Lyle Spencer of MLB.com.
Following the game manager Joe Maddon admitted that he’s told Longoria to take it easy on the bases after missing the final 10 games of the regular season:

He’s under strict managerial orders not to run hard, although he can’t anyway. I want him to guard that leg. As we get deeper in the playoffs, it shall get better.

Carl Crawford called it “a little crazy” that Longoria was able to have such a monster game despite the injury.

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.