Mark Reynolds hit a home run against the Angels on Saturday night. The next time he came to the plate, Ervin Santana hit him in the head, forcing him out of the game and keeping him from playing yesterday. Reynolds believes it was intentional. Here’s Reynolds:
“I think he hit me on purpose. I don’t think he tried to hit me in the head. I think he hit me on purpose. He threw a first-pitch slider. Why would he throw me a first-pitch slider and then hit me with the next pitch? Why didn’t he just hit me with the first pitch?”
What Reynolds doesn’t say is that he swung at the slider and fouled it off. Because he swings at everything. I didn’t see it so I don’t know where that slider was, but knowing Reynolds it was probably aimed at his head too.
But even if it wasn’t, I don’t know that I follow Reynolds’ logic here. If Santana was out to hit him intentionally, why bother throwing the slider in the first place? Why not just plunk him immediately? If anything, doing it on pitch two makes it seem less intentional, not more. Sort of dilutes the purpose of the purpose pitch.
Anyway, the best part of this is that on Sunday Orioles’ pitcher Alfredo Simon retaliated by hitting Mark Tumbo. And unlike most pitchers who do that, he didn’t claim it got away from him or something. He came right out and said it was a purpose pitch. Of course when you realize that there’s a non-trivial chance that Simon killed a guy last winter it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising that he’d own up to something like that.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.