After only three months on the job Mark Connor resigned suddenly as the Orioles’ pitching coach in mid-June, citing personal reasons, but now Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that he’s taken a job with the Rangers as a “player development special consultant.”
That’s the same position Connor held with the Rangers for two seasons prior to joining Buck Showalter’s coaching staff in Baltimore and the 62-year-old also previously served as Texas’ bullpen coach and pitching coach.
In two-plus months under Connor the Orioles’ pitching staff had a 4.22 ERA, but since his resignation their team ERA is 5.73. However, at least one Orioles pitcher, Brian Matusz, spoke publicly about struggling to adapt to changes Connor asked him to make with his mechanics, saying he “wasn’t mentally prepared … to change things I’ve done for my whole life.”
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.