Maybe it really is a news flash and not just an ironic one. Loria usually does stupid thins as opposed to saying them publicly. I’ll leave that analysis to someone who can stomach thinking about Jeff Loria for more than the time it takes me to do this post and then go cleanse my psyche with non-Loria thoughts.
Anyway, here’s Jeffy, unhappy with how the Marlins are doing:
“I’m not happy,’ he said in the clubhouse during the seventh inning of Florida’s 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Asked about his team’s play so far, Loria quickly vented his frustration.
“Uninspired baseball … Inconsistent and not acceptable. Very few guys have focused on what they’re here for. Very few … I know it’s only spring training, but it’s time to take a look in the mirror. We’re better than this. It’s time to show it. We need to be playing as a team and we need to hit.”
It’s spring freakin’ training. And while one can identify bad habits and bad signs in any given player over the course of the spring, I have yet to see any study whatsoever that shows a link between a team’s overall performance in spring training and how they do in the regular season.
And really, that’s what Loria’s on about here: the losses. Because nowhere in his quotes does he identify actual problems with the team other than the losses. He dismisses injuries — which is one of the few things that are relevant about spring training — and talks about “effort” and “inspiration” and other intangible hokum about which he knows very little. It’s the kind of thing you hear guys discussing in sports bars and on talk radio. Any serious baseball person knows that Loria is speaking in empty platitudes here. The Marlins haven’t won in spring training while he’s been down there. That’s all he knows. Boo-freakin’-hoo, Jeff, it’s irrelevant.
But there is something awesome about the story: the accompanying photo of Loria holding a stopwatch or a cell phone or something while “checking the pitch speed on Jhan Marinez.” As if he knows something about baseball other than how to make money in it and destroy franchises. It’s like a fantasy camp for billionaire art collectors who fancy themselves scouts or GMs or something. Cute!
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has had a tough month of May. Opposing pitchers have become increasingly unwilling to throw hittable pitches in the strike zone for him, and he’s had trouble adjusting. Entering Thursday’s action, Harper was hitting .194/.454/.306 with two home runs in 97 plate appearances this month. 31 of those plate appearances ended in a walk, nine intentionally.
Harper finally got a pitch to hit in the sixth inning against Cardinals starter Mike Leake. Leake threw a 1-1 curve and Harper promptly launched into the upper deck at Nationals Park. It’s Harper’s 12th homer of the year.
Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was unable to continue his hitting streak on Thursday night, going 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot against the Rockies in an 8-2 loss. He hit a deep fly ball to right field in the first inning, missing a home run by a few feet. He hit another deep drive in the fifth, but it was caught in front of the wall in center field at Fenway Park by Charlie Blackmon. In his final at-bat, Bradley weakly grounded out on the first pitch from Jon Gray to lead off the eighth inning.
Bradley’s 29-game streak tied Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. Dom DiMaggio still has the longest in club history at 34 games.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was able to extend his hitting streak streak to 19 games. He went 1-for-3, hitting a line drive single in the first.
Softball legend Jennie Finch will make history on Sunday when she will serve as a guest manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League. She will become the first woman to manage a men’s professional baseball team.
In the club’s announcement, GM Jamie Toole said, “We are really excited to have Jennie come out and manage the team. She is an incredible athlete and a wonderful person, and we hope our fans will enjoy seeing her in a Bluefish uniform for the day.”
Finch won the 2001 Women’s College World Series with the University of Arizona. She won the gold medal with Team USA in the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Finch is only managing one game, but it’s still a positive step for inclusiveness in professional sports. Hopefully, in the future, we see more women in sportswriting, broadcasting, coaching, and front office positions.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has been placed on disabled list with a torn right ACL, the club announced on Thursday. He is expected to miss the rest of the season, per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Outfielder Brett Eibner has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
Moustakas suffered the injury colliding with teammate Alex Gordon attempting to catch a foul ball. Gordon suffered a fractured scaphoid bone, which will keep him out of action for three to four weeks.
It’s a tough break for Moustakas as he missed time earlier this month with a fractured thumb. He lands back on the DL hitting .240/.301/.500 with seven home runs and 13 RBI in 113 plate appearances.