It wasn’t the expected result in Anaheim on Saturday night, as Jered Weaver went without a strikeout for just the second time in 152 career starts and was outdueled by rookie Alex White in the Indians’ 4-3 victory.
Weaver’s only previous strikeout-less performance came on June 10, 2007, when he allowed three runs in three innings against the Cardinals. He came into this one having led the AL with 55 strikeouts in seven starts this season. He fanned 15 in a win over the Blue Jays on April 10 and 10 in his shutout of Oakland on April 25.
But whether it’s the illness that pushed him back a day in the rotation a week ago or fatigue from having thrown so many pitches early on, Weaver just didn’t seem to be his usual self tonight. His velocity was OK, but his slider was flat and the Indians had plenty of good hacks.
Weaver managed to keep his team in the game anyway, allowing four runs over six innings, but White was just enough better. The 2009 first-round pick fanned six while giving up three runs over six innings. Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestana and Chris Perez followed with scoreless frames, giving the Indians their 22 win against 10 losses.
For White, it should have been the first of many. The 22-year-old right-hander has an excellent 91-95 mph fastball and a plus slider. The splitter that serves as his changeup wasn’t really necessary tonight, as most of the power in the Angels lineup comes from the right side of the plate.
White probably isn’t up for good; he’ll survive Carlos Carrasco’s return from the DL, but he is supposed to head back to Triple-A after Mitch Talbot is activated at the end of the month. Yet even if White does spend another month at Columbus first, he should be a big factor in the second half. There’s a long way to go yet, but if the Indians do reach the playoffs this year, it’d be a surprise if White isn’t in their ALDS rotation.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.
This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.
Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.
There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.