Here’s a fun Hall of Fame ballot: Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and … Lee Smith.
Had me until Lee Smith.
That’s from David Lariviere of Forbes, who refers to Smith as “the dominant reliever of his era.” Smith pitched from 1980 through 1997. That era, which saw the rise of the one-inning closer, included Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley and the early years of Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, among others.
I like Lee Smith a lot. But I don’t think he’s quite Hall of Fame worthy. And “dominant?” Well:
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Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.
Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.
On Sunday Phillies reliever Hector Neris hit Buster Posey in the back. Posey thought it was intentional and, after the game, said “I guess he didn’t feel he could get me out.”
Was it intentional? There’s a lot to suggest it wasn’t. Mostly the game situation: the Phillies had a two-run lead, but Neris was called in with two men on base and hitting Posey put the tying run in scoring position, which is not something a reliever usually wants to do with his first pitch of the game. Beyond that, while Neris and former Giant Eduardo Nunez had a bit of an incident earlier this season (Neris blew a kiss at Nunez after some words), there was no bad blood between Posey and Neris. When the pitch hit Posey in the back Neris seemed to react negatively, as if he didn’t mean to do it, and said as much after the game.
Oh well, it’s not uncommon for guys who get hit to be angry about it, even if it was uninentional. It’s not uncommon for guys who hit someone to say it was an accident, even if it wasn’t. You can file this one in the “unsolved” drawer forever, where it will be forgotten.
Or at least you could until Bruce Bochy weighed in yesterday, after the Phillies left town:
“It wasn’t just a little inside. The same guy — I’ll say it, he’s an idiot. He showed it in Philadelphia when he was having words with (Eduardo) Nuñez, so I think that caused the radar to be up a little bit on what happened there. It wasn’t a glancing blow. It was at his ribs and on the backside of his ribs. I’m not surprised. I would have been upset, too. You never know for sure, but it certainly didn’t look good. Anyway, that’s behind us.”
I guess it was, anyway. The Giants don’t face the Phillies again this year, but remember it for next year.