David Ortiz, A.J. Burnett eschew cliche following last night’s game

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ANSWER: “We gotta play ’em one day at a time. I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.”

QUESTION: “What are ‘things A.J. Burnett and David Ortiz could have chosen to say after last night’s game but didn’t?’ Alex.”

And it’s to our benefit of course, because life is always more interesting when ballplayers decide to go off script.  First, here’s Ortiz, when asked about Joe Girardi’s mildly negative comments following Ortiz’s bat flip following the home run he hit on Tuesday night:

“I don’t care what Joe Girardi says. Take it like a man. I’m done with that …  I got almost 370 bombs in the big leagues and everybody wants to make a big deal because I bat flip one of them. [Expletive] that [expletive], man. If I have to make that video on my [expletive], let’s see how many bat flips I got on this [expletive]. Good night.”

That ire, focused way more on the media for asking the questions about it than Giradi’s comments themselves, is fairly understandable. I mean yeah, when you sign on to play in Boston or New York you have to expect nontroversy-fueling questions from the media, but at some point I’m sure everyone gets sick of it.  The guy just hit another homer a few hours ago and the Red Sox took over first place and these guys all want to talk about something silly from the night before that was mostly their own creation in the first place. Your F-bombs are excused in my book, Big Papi.

A.J. Burnett also eschewed the land of cliche when asked about why the Red Sox seem to kill him now when, back when he pitched for Toronto, he owned them:

“I’m not in Toronto (anymore), so I’m tired of hearing about all that. That’s just retarded. If anything was different I made pitches when I was with Toronto, and I didn’t make pitches tonight. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

I’m guessing someone will jump on that this morning, particularly Burnett’s use of the word ‘retarded,’ which is so increasingly frowned upon an actual organized movement has been formed to wipe it out of the language.  I’m doing my best not to call stuff ‘retarded’ all willy-nilly because the case against its casual use makes sense to me personally, but even I can’t get myself worked up about Burnett’s use of the term here. When frustrated people find themselves in frustrating and stressful situations, you’ll have it.

But no, I don’t imagine that will stop either of these subjects from being tongue-wagging fodder today.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.