There were no fireworks today.
After Friday’s benches-clearing incident and Saturday’s ejection of Mitch Talbot following an Alex Rodriguez plunking, the Indians and Yankees played a calm one Sunday that again sent the Yankee faithful home happy.
The Bombers broke open a 1-0 game in the fifth, scoring five times on their way to a 9-1 victory. Freddy Garcia, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings in the second shortest start of his career Tuesday against the Red Sox, pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball for the victory.
The Yankees amassed nine runs despite failing to homer in the contest. Curtis Granderson, who had homered in three straight games, went 4-for-4 with a double and a sac fly. Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 with a triple, two doubles and three runs scored. Alex Rodriguez had three hits and three RBI.
Derek Jeter also had some fun, going 2-for-5 with two RBI. With four games left on the Yankees’ current homestand, he’s at 2,993 career hits.
The Bombers got to Josh Tomlin, who is fading just like his peripherals said he would. After starting the season 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA, he’s given up 22 runs over 24 innings in his last four outings. His ERA stands at 4.14 now and likely will continue to climb.
A.J. Burnett will try to send the Yankees to a four-game sweep when he takes on Carlos Carrasco in the series finale Monday.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.