Oh look: Joe West and Angel Hernandez get to umpire the postseason

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Major League Baseball just announced its umps and, to my surprise, fear and — on some strange level amusement — Cowboy Joe West and his notorious crew get to work the Milwaukee-Arizona series.

The whole crew: West, Ron Kulpa, Alfonso Marquez, Bruce Dreckman, and additions Jeff Kellogg and James Hoye for outfield duty. It’s a way better crew now that Angel Hernandez is off it but, you know, West is still there. And Hernandez still gets to ump in the Cardinals-Phillies series.  Oh heck, let’s just look at the rest of them:

  • Detroit vs. New York:  Gerry Davis, Tony Randazzo, Eric Cooper, Dan Iassogna, Ted Barrett and Bill Welke;
  • St. Louis vs. Philadelphia: Jerry Layne, Chris Guccione, Jerry Meals, Angel Hernandez — woot! — Gary Cederstrom and Chad Fairchild.  And remember, Meals is the guy who handed the Braves that win in the 19-inning game in Pittsburgh, so that’s a strong crew there, partner.
  • Tampa Bay vs. Texas: Dale Scott, Mark Carlson, Kerwin Danley, Greg Gibson, Brian Gorman and Marvin Hudson.

Just remember: being an umpire means never having to say you’re sorry. Unless you’re Jim Joyce, who did say he was sorry. And everyone likes him too. And he doesn’t get to ump in the Division Series, so there’s a lesson in that for you.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.