San Jose Mercury News writer kicks the Philly fan hornet’s nest

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There’s been a lot of talk about fan behavior in these parts over the past couple of days. It’s probably gettin’ played out. Oh, if something happens during the games today we’ll certainly comment on it, but the generalizing about various fan bases is a subject that, however interesting it is, gets old after a while.

So rather than hash over this Philly fan-baiting column from the San Jose Mercury News’ Bruce Newman, I’m simply going to link it and let all of you guys fight about it.  It has everything: booing Santa Claus. Booing Mike Schmidt. The taser guy. The intentional vomiter. The guys with those signs from the other day. A gratuitous swipe by Mike Krukow about how there’s nothing else to do in Philly, so of course they have to raise hell at the ballpark.  It conveniently fails to mention that there have been several ugly incidents involving Giants fans and Dodgers fans in recent years — some even violent — but Newman is not trying to be even handed here. He’s trying to provoke.

My guess is that he’s going to be highly successful in doing so.

Dusty Baker expects Stephen Strasburg to make his next scheduled start

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Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”

Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.

Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.

John Lackey hit four White Sox batters today

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Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.

Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.

So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.