Given that — as Bernie Miklasz noted in his evisceration of the Cardianls’ bullpen today — Miguel Batista was averaging 5.83 walks per nine innings and 15.43 base runners per nine innings, he was likely not long for the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. And today his run there ended: the Cards have given Batista his unconditional release.
Batista started the year deceptively strong — his ERA was low anyway, which doesn’t necessarily tell you what you need to know about a reliever — but he crashed to Earth in June. Last night was the final straw, as he came into the game with the bases loaded, promptly walked the first two men he faced and then allowed a two-run single. A terrible few moments in what was already a terrible inning for St. Louis.
In his place comes Lance Lynn, recalled from Memphis. He has started and relieved, but he’ll be doing long man work for Tony La Russa. Most likely in a more effective fashion than Batista who, really, may have thrown his last pitch in the majors.
Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.
While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.
Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.
SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.
Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.
Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.
At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.
In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.