First that dustup with Kevin Youkilis and now some bad in-game managing is making for a pretty crappy day for Bobby V.
Daniel Bard and James Shields were locked in a 0-0 pitchers’ duel. Bard had been effective all day, but effectively wild too, walking several. In the seventh inning Bard, already over 100 pitches on a hot day in one of his first few major league starts, started to tire.
With two outs, he walked Sean Rodriguez. Then he gave up a single to Desmond Jennings. He was visibly tired by this point, but Valentine didn’t pull him. Nope, he then let him walk Carlos Pena on four straight pitches to load the bases. Two outs, remember, in a 0-0 game, but on goes Bard.
Even Longoria comes up to bat. He too walks on four straight pitches, scoring Rodriguez. It’s 1-0 Rays in the bottom of the seventh as I write this. UPDATE: That score held up. Rays win it 1-0.
Maybe we can call this Grady Little-level managing. Or maybe Bobby V. learned a lesson from the Youkilis thing and was just not wanting to appear to question the motivation of a second player in less than two days. I guess someone will have to ask him after the game. Which should be fun.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.