After 20 years of nearly every single development in the circumstances in which baseball is played benefiting the hitters, they build, what, the second or third park that skews pitcher-friendly and someone complains:
Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman predicted to reporters Wednesday that hitting a home run at Marlins Park is so difficult that one day soon they will have to shorten the distance to the fences.
“If they don’t move the fences in after this year, I’d be surprised,” Berkman said after the Cardinals spoiled the Marlins’ ballpark unveiling by handing them a 4-1 loss. “And I’m going two years as the over-under on that.”
The poor dear.
Look, I think Marlins Park is going to play like Yellowstone Park too, but man, why don’t we give it more than one game before we jump to any conclusions? And why don’t you go ask your teammate Kyle Lohse how he felt about it? Because I have this feeling he was perfectly fine with the dimensions when Giancarlo Stanton was up to bat.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.