Adrian Beltre really, really hates it when someone touches his head and his Red Sox teammates did it so much in the dugout last season that there’s a website filled with video clips of him freaking out.
He changed teams during the offseason and signed a five-year, $80 million contract, but that won’t keep his new teammates from picking up the head-touching slack. In fact, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes various Rangers are already making a habit of exploiting Beltre’s weird … I dunno, I guess phobia?
For instance, here’s Elvis Andrus:
Oh yeah … a bunch of times. He better get used to it. He might kick my tail, but I’m going to do it.
And now reigning MVP Josh Hamilton:
Guys just find out and everybody knows about Adrian. You can tell we get him to a point where he might lose it and then we back off. You don’t want it to come to a point where he doesn’t want to come to work because he feels tormented. I have to get to know him better, but that day’s coming.
Yes, you wouldn’t want to rub a man’s head without getting to know him better first.
The primary head-rubbing culprit in Boston was Victor Martinez, so at least Beltre is free from him. He’s still holding onto that grudge, though:
Sometimes I thought about killing him. But I thought about it. I have a family so I didn’t.
Beltre tried to tell Sullivan that the whole head-rubbing thing is actually “no big deal,” but there are a few dozen highly amusing video clips to suggest otherwise and a whole clubhouse full of brand new teammates don’t immediately take such glee in tormenting someone about something unless it’s a pretty big deal for them. Unfortunately for Beltre, he’s probably long past the whole “act like it doesn’t bother you” thing being an effective deterrent.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.