After a week off I have no idea what in the hell is going on. Some dude tried to convince me on Twitter last night that Texas A&M has petitioned to join the AL Central and I’m inclined to believe him. That’s what happens when you get in the car with the kids, drive 450 miles, plop in front of a gorgeous expanse of clean blue water and just turn your brain off for a week.
Usually the Weekend Wrap feature catches me up to date after a couple days off, but there’s no hope for me catching up from the whole vacation. But heck, two or three days is better than nothing, so let’s give it a whirl:
- Carlos Zambrano went crazy, quit on his team and is now in deep with management. This is not a repeat from, like, every year for the past decade.
- CC Sabathia gave up a bunch of homers on Friday night too, and all he’s going to do is shake it off, pitch better next time, remain a good teammate and collect millions and millions of more dollars. What’s so hard about that again?
- Rest in Peace Ernie Johnson.
- Rest in Peace Cole Hamels’ Arm.
- Bryce Harper may be emotionally immature, but boy howdy is he OK physically.
- This is just begging for one of those body-switch movies a la “18 Again” or whatever that thing is in which Jason Bateman is currently debasing himself.
- The Diamondbacks have a machine that prints up tomato can corner infielders.
- “Is Mr. Torre gone?” “Yes, Scott. He’s gone. He can’t hurt you anymore.” “OK then. I’ll sign.”
- I know a lot of good people who are out of work. And then I read something like this.
- Someone should introduce Freddy Garcia to carry out food.
- The Logan Morrison demotion is rather interesting. Especially given that everyone involved is talkin’ about it.
- Your team’s fans suck.
- Dan Uggla’s hitting streak is over. In other news, hitting streaks are kinda overrated. For example, Ted Williams hit better than Joe DiMaggio did over the course of the latter’s 56-game streak. Splinter just bunched his together more erratically. So what? Makes me wish that Uggla hit in 57 games so we could all finally admit that such things are more curios and coincidences than actual badges of greatness. DiMaggio was great for a lot of stuff. 56 straight games with a hit is pretty minor on the merits.
And we now return you to your regularly-scheduled obsessive blogging.
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.
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.