The “Michael Corleone” contraction theory

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Let’s be clear at the outset: contraction is not happening. Even in the articles that talk about people talking about contraction — like Joel Sherman’s from yesterday — it is stipulated that, no this is a non-starter. So what I’m saying is, don’t cite this post or the Sherman column I’m linking as “continuing contraction rumors” or whatever because it’s just talk. It’s like if I were to go on about how Carla Gugino and I could spend a long weekend in a cottage at Big Sur, sipping expensive wine and feeding each other the finest meats and cheeses while listening to Billie Holliday records. Great topic — totally fun topic! — but it doesn’t really mean anything.  Well, to anyone besides me, to whom it means everything.

The point: Joel Sherman hears how the contraction thing — which totally isn’t happening — would go down if it were, you know, actually happening.  Sherman calls it his Michael Corleone theory, in that it would be used by Bud Selig to settle all family business.  Best I can tell is that The Athletics would be Carlo Rizzi and the Rays would be Moe Greene, with Lew Wolff and Stuart Sternberg moving in to take over the Dodgers and the Mets, respectively after Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon get whacked.  Which I guess makes them Barzini and Tattaglia.

Anyway, Sherman talks about how that would all make sense, and also talks about why it won’t happen (same reasons I mentioned a couple of weeks ago).

I hate the idea of contraction, but I like the idea of Bud Selig settling scores like that. Makes him way more interesting.  But I still don’t know who “Strachi” was and why Michael had him whacked by Clemenza in the elevator. Even if Clemenza looked cool firing that shotgun through the door.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”