Wily Mo Pena, he with the remarkable .190/.190/.548 line this year, is getting his first start in left field for the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Manager Kirk Gibson recently said he had no plans to play Pena in the outfield, but something changed his mind. Pena had appeared in 16 games since his callup June 21, but all nine of his starts came at DH. Since interleague play ended a week ago, he’s gone 1-for-4 off the bench, which his lone hit leaving the ballpark.
For the season, Pena is 8-for-42 with five homers, no walks and 18 strikeouts. Hence, the slugging percentage that’s nearly three times his batting average.
Pena played 25 games in left field for Triple-A Reno this season and committed just one error. Still, he was always an awkward-at-best outfielder in his youth, and injuries have robbed him of some mobility since his days with the Reds and Red Sox.
The Yankees fell behind early to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, a day after dropping both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Their game, as did every other game on Sunday with the exception of the Braves-Cardinals doubleheader, started at 3:05 or 3:10 EDT, a change Major League Baseball recently made to create fairness on the final day of the season.
Girardi is not a fan. Per the Associated Press:
It was cloudy at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m., but late-afternoon games often make it difficult for batters to see pitches.
Girardi said, “Here’s the thing that bothers me: If it’s a sunny day you’re playing in shadows.”
He added, “If it’s the most important game of the year to get in, I don’t think that’s right.”
Understanding the idea is for every team to play at the same time, Girardi said, “Then play all night games.”
One wonders if MLB had scheduled Sunday’s slate of games for the night, if Girardi would have instead complained about batters losing fly balls in the stadium lights. Furthermore, both teams have to play in the same conditions.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given an opportunity to play a new position in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. After the Phillies rallied to take a 6-2 lead in the seventh, the Marlins let Suzuki take the hill in the eighth. And, in news that surprises no one, he was impressive.
Though Suzuki gave up a run on two hits, he flashed a fastball that hit the mid-80’s and a breaking ball with some bite.
Suzuki, who turns 42 years old later this month, is 65 hits of 3,000 in his major league career. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back in 2016.