The Diamondbacks are still playing for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. And if they get it, they can thank whatever deity gave them their miracle win over the Dodgers last night.
It was tied 1-1 after nine innings. When you see a game like that, you figure that it will end on a sac fly or something. Not this one. Instead, it ended with the two teams combining for 11 runs in the 10th inning, thanks in part to a triple that ricocheted off Justin Upton’s face (more on that later this morning), a bases-loaded walk and a walkoff grand slam. Ho-hum.
The Dodgers got five runs off Micah Owings before even making an out in the tenth, but then they scored no more. The Diamondbacks grounded out meekly twice against Blake Hawksworth, but then didn’t make another out. To the contrary, they got singles from Cole Gillespie and Miguel Montero and a walk from Chris Young. Then John McDonald reached on an Aaron Miles error. Then Javy Guerra came into the game and walked Aaron Hill with the bases loaded. Then he gave up the grand slam to Ryan Roberts. Ballgame.
If Arizona wins today and Milwaukee loses, the teams will both finish with 95-wins and the tiebreaker for home field advantage will go to Arizona by virtue of winning the head-to-head season series against the Brewers. But we’re not even talking about that if it wasn’t for last night’s insanity.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.