How quickly opinions change.
Down 2-0 in the World Series entering this busy sports weekend, some Rangers fans were pushing for the club to start ace left-hander Cliff Lee in Game 4. But that kind of talk mostly took place before Texas won Game 3 and now it appears that manager Ron Washington will stick to his guns.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says that Tommy Hunter will start tonight’s Game 4 in Arlington, Texas and that Lee will be held off until Game 5.
It’s the right move. Lee has never pitched on three days’ rest in the postseason and wasn’t exactly a world-beater in his first 2010 Fall Classic start back in Game 1. The extra day should help and he should dominate on the familiar Texas mound.
Hunter will need to be at his best tonight to accomplish the same goal. He’s made two starts in these playoffs and allowed six runs in 7.1 innings.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.