Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals

What they’re saying about the collapses

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We had a taste of what was said about the Red Sox’ collapse last night, but there will be more commentary and reaction coming in all day today.  Come, let us bask in the failure:

  • Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “They failed. They failed in the way this entire month had been a failure. They took an 8 1/2-game lead and threw it all away, and by the time they got done losing Game No. 162 they had made us suffer through all the failures that comprised this failed month.”
  • Peter Abraham, Boston Globe: “There have been nights of anguish over the years for the men who have worn the uniform of the Boston Red Sox. But nothing quite like what transpired at Camden Yards last night.”
  • Scott Lauber, Boston Herald: “It had been a plodding, month-long march to baseball’s version of death — elimination from the playoff race — for the Red Sox. But the execution took only minutes”
  • Grant Brisbee, BaseballNation: It wouldn’t have been right to complete a monumental collapse with a garden-variety loss. There had to be some hope after the hope faded — a dead-cat bounce of hope … The Braves could have made the playoffs if they had won just one game out of their last five. They did not.
  • ESPN Boston: “The long, cold winter has begun.”
  • Chipper Jones: “When you’re in a slump as a team, you find a bunch of different ways to lose. The bats go silent, you get wild on the mound, you walk in runs – whatever. You find ways to lose. Man, we sure did it in the last couple of weeks.”
  • Fredi Gonzalez: “I’m proud of the club. We battled today.”

And that sums up everything you need to know about Fredi Gonzalez. He wasn’t paying attention to last night’s game. He wasn’t paying attention to much of anything, it seems.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.