Brandon Inge has gone from castoff to hero in record time, as a walkoff grand slam gave him his second straight four-RBI game Tuesday in Oakland’s 7-3 win over Toronto.
The slam came off Francisco Cordero, who quickly blew his third save in a row by giving up a double, a sac bunt and an RBI single in what had been a 3-2 game. After that, a steal and two intentional walks set up Inge’s slam. Cordero, who is filling in for the injured Sergio Santos in Toronto, has allowed runs in four straight appearances, taking blown saves in three of them, and his ERA is up to 9.53.
The Inge homer may well have brought an end to Cordero’s tenure as Toronto’s closer. The 36-year-old, who has 329 career saves under his belt, was signed to set up Santos after Cincinnati declined to bring him back. The Jays could go to a combination or Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver in the ninth for the short term.
As for Inge, well, he’s managed a pretty remarkable total of 11 RBI despite having just seven hits this season. His place in Oakland’s lineup seems assured for the foreseeable future.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.