No one does self loathing like Boston does self loathing

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Every city has a unique vibe when it comes to bad baseball news.  A lot of cities do the panic thing with some local  flavor or another. Many others simply tune out and look to another sport like football or hockey to take their minds off things. If the Yankees are doing poorly there’s usually some reference to an off-the-field distraction or clubhouse dispute as a means of explaining it all.  Chicago tends to go historical and take its bad news as if it had been ordained by Fate.

But Boston? Oh man, Boston does bitter better than ANYONE:

The math says the Sox are probably going to qualify for the tournament, but they should be barred on sheer principle and merit. Let the worthy teams participate in the playoffs. The Sox are not worthy. Really, how do you root for these guys anymore?

Sure, this is Dan Shaughnessy, but he’s been stirring the pot in Boston for a long time so he knows this will resonate with a lot of people.  Only question is whether, in the event the Sox make the playoffs and win it all, he turns on a dime and writes some book about it being all magical and crap.  I sort of hope he does, actually, because that kind of chutzpah can be a thing of beauty. I’d probably buy three copies.

Oh well. My only regret is that we have less than a week for the fan bases in Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis and Tampa Bay to tear themselves apart in their own unique way.  It’s great fun.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.