Jerome Williams hadn’t pitched a complete game since 2003 before shutting out the Twins on Tuesday. That was humiliating. What followed Wednesday was even more distressing.
Jered Weaver pitched his first no-hitter as the Angels routed the Twins 9-0. It gave the struggling Halos a three-game sweep at home and dropped the Twins to an MLB-worst 6-18 on the season.
The Twins didn’t even seem to be trying Wednesday. Weaver had good stuff, but it’s doubtful he would have no-hit any other lineup tonight. Manager Ron Gardenhire also phoned it in. Even though his top relievers were all rested, he let the game get out of hand before going to the bullpen in the third. He also allowed the same nine players make all 27 outs in the contest.
Of course, his hands were somewhat tied there, what with the Justin Morneau injury and the move to drop Sean Burroughs from the roster to add catching depth in the form of the league’s worst hitter: Drew Butera. The Twins also have Clete Thomas hacking away in right field instead of the superior Ben Revere, who is back in Triple-A.
Minnesota already appears to be pretty much done for in the AL Central, but while selling is option, tradeable assets are few and far between. Francisco Liriano could have been one, but his awful showing thus far is a big reason the team is 6-18. Denard Span is the only piece that figures to fetch much on the market. But while he might bring back a quality young infielder the Twins could use, the future looks pretty bleak at the moment.
The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.
Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.
Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.