As Matthew mentioned, Tony La Russa went to have doctors check out the condition that has left his right eye swollen and painful and has left him fatigued. The verdict: shingles, which are proving to be antibiotic resistant and which are making La Russa miserable.
As a result of it, La Russa is taking tonight’s game against the Cubs off. According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his job will be filled with some combination of bench coach Joe Pettini, third-base coach Jose Oquendo and pitching coach Dave Duncan, each of whom “will run various aspects of game strategy.” Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak will provide more detail later today. If you really want to see how ugly La Russa’s eye is, Strauss’ article has a pic.
It’s not clear how much time La Russa will miss, but given how stubborn he has been since this hit him — he has resisted pain medication due to the side effects and has declined previous suggestions to take time off — you have to figure that things have gotten pretty bad if he’s taking off a game. A Cubs game, no less. It’s possible that he’ll be out for a while.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.