Tony La Russa with expanded rosters: “like handing him a blank check and the run of Home Depot”

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I didn’t watch the Cardinals-Pirates game last night, but my Twitter feed was full of references to Tony La Russa overmanaging the game. Which the Cardinals eventually lost.  Shocker, I know. I nearly dropped my bubble pipe I was so gobsmacked.

Anyway, David Schoenfield has a great breakdown of the game over at ESPN’s Sweet Spot today. It’s not just a look at the game, but it’s a great take on La Russa himself.  About all that makes him so good but which also drives us so crazy.  Here’s a taste:

Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth inning Monday night in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals leading 4-3. It’s September, which means expanded rosters, which is like handing La Russa a blank check and the run of Home Depot. He brought in Shane Robinson to play center field, his third center fielder of the game. He moved Skip Schumacher from center to right, Schumacher’s third position of the game. He brought in Octavio Dotel for Kyle McClellan, who had pitched a perfect, seven-pitch seventh.

Read the whole thing. That is, unless you’re a Cardinals fan who watched that game and many others in which La Russa snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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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.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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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.