Joakim Soria just isn’t fooling anyone.
On Monday, he gave up a two-run homer to Torii Hunter with one out in the ninth inning, giving him three straight blown saves. He went on to allow one more run before escaping the ninth in what turned out to be a 10-8 loss to the Angels.
Soria has blown five saves at all. It’s been obvious all year that his stuff was off, yet he still had a 3.86 ERA before his recent streak. It’s only now that he’s gotten pummeled: in his last four appearances, he’s given up eight runs and three homers, taking his ERA up to 6.55.
The homer today came on a 2-0 fastball that he grooved right down the middle. He’s currently averaging 90.4 mph with his heater, down from 91.9 mph last year. That alone isn’t the root of his problems, though. Soria has lost his curveball, and the little slider he’s turned to as its replacement just isn’t a quality offering.
With the latest blown save, the Royals had no choice but to make a move in the closer’s role, and manager Ned Yost said after Monday’s game that Soria would be pulled for now and that rookie Aaron Crow would get save chances. The hope is that it’s a temporary change, but given that Soria has gone two months without finding his previous form, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a quick fix.
The Mets entered Sunday night’s game against the Pirates with a disappointing 20-27 record. While the club has dealt with a litany of injuries, manager Terry Collins has also drawn criticism for in-game decision-making, particularly regarding his decision-making.
Owner Fred Wilpon is still Collins’ strongest supporter, however, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports. As a result, the team is unlikely to make a managerial change anytime soon. If the Mets continue to struggle, though, ownership may feel pressured to make a change.
Collins became the longest-tenured manager in Mets history last week. Collins managed the Mets to a 77-85 record in 2011 and has overall helped the club go 501-518, winning the NL Pennant in 2015. He is not signed to a contract beyond this season.
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer had a game for the record books on Sunday against the Rays. He finished 4-for-5 with an RBI double, a solo home run, two singles, and three walks in eight plate appearances. Unfortunately for him, the Twins still lost 8-6 in 15 innings.
ESPN’s Stats & Info notes that Mauer is the first Twin to reach base seven times in one game since Rod Carew in 1972 against the Brewers. The last player to reach base seven times in one game (without the aid of an error) was Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford on August 8 last season against the Marlins. The feat has only been accomplished seven times this decade, so about once a year.
After Sunday’s game, Mauer is batting .283/.363/.408 with three home runs, 18 RBI, and 23 runs scored in 171 plate appearances. Not too shabby.