For as often as I’ll curse Livan Hernandez’s name because of the infamous Eric Gregg game in the 1997 playoffs, I don’t really hold it against Hernandez. He was just taking what the umpire was giving him, and how on Earth can a fan of Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux fault anyone for that? Eric Gregg can take a flying leap off of whatever plane of existence his soul currently inhabits, but Livan Hernandez is really hard to hate.
And indeed, after today’s most excellent feature story by Tom Boswell, it’s absolutely impossible not to like the guy. He’s never missed a start. He gets guys out with an 84 m.p.h. “fastball.” He throws 100 warmup pitches before a game. He called a home run he hit last year and then gave his bat to the Braves fan he was taunting about it. In the middle of an outstanding 2010 season he bypassed his agent and told Mike Rizzo that he’d pitch for a million bucks in 2011 because he was happy where he was and didn’t want to mess with a good thing.
I love pitchers, and the pitchers I love the most are the laid-back ones who don’t seem to over-think stuff. They just throw the ball, don’t really get too worked up about anything and want to pitch until they’re old and gray. Hernandez is like that. He says he wants to be “the Jamie Moyer of right-handers.”
I’d be shocked as hell if he lasted another five years let alone another 11 or 12 to reach Moyer’s longevity, but you can’t not love the attitude.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.