Pop quiz, hot shot: You’re one of the worst teams in baseball. You are starting a guy with a 6.75 ERA who has walked more dudes than he has struck out. You’re facing the defending AL Central champs with the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP on the mound. How’s it gonna turn out?
Just fine, thanks: The Royals and Jonathan Sanchez beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers 3-2.
It was tied at two heading into the ninth when Jaoquin Benoit took over for Verlander. After retiring the first man he faced, Benoit gave up a double to Mike Moustakas, who then advanced to third on a groundout. Up came Chris Getz who hit an infield single to short scoring Moustakas. Jonathan Broxton came in to close it out in the ninth.
As the saying goes, you can’t predict baseball. There are no Master Lock: Keys to the Game. Anyone who does the “What [Team X] needs to do to win” thing is wasting time. Baseball just happens. Sometimes the worst beats the best. And it means little, because there’s another game tomorrow.
Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.
While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.
Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.
SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.
Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.
Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.
At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.
In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.