Brian Fuentes was re-installed as the A’s closer yesterday. He was pleased about it. Grant Balfour: far less pleased about losing the job:
“I told [Bob Melvin] I wasn’t happy about it,” Balfour said. “I was pissed off. It’s fine, whatever. He knows how I feel. I’ll just go on the field and do what I do .. Do I feel like it was kind of a short leash? Yeah, a little bit,” Balfour said. “Shoot, I had a couple of bad games, I feel like I’ve pitched pretty good here for the last year and a month. There goes that. It’s kind of a bit of a bummer. I’m disappointed.”
I figure this falls under “mad, but constructively so, in a manner which suggests competitiveness so no one will think he’s being disruptive” and not “clubhouse problem.” There’s a much greater margin for error with that sort of thing in Oakland than there is in, say, New York or Boston, however, of course.
Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if his name was Strikthree instead of Balfour we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has wasted no time acclimating himself to major league competition. Since getting called back up on August 3, Sanchez has smacked nine homers and driven in 16 runs in a span of 18 games. In fact, since August 3, no hitter has homered more than Sanchez and only Charlie Blackmon and Brian Dozier have matched him, Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues notes.
One of those homers came in Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Mariners at Safeco Field. It was a first-inning blast off of Hisashi Iwakuma, quickly giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. They would go on to win 5-0. Sanchez finished 2-for-3 with a pair of intentional walks, a double, and the homer.
Some more fun facts about Sanchez, courtesy Sharp:
- Sanchez is the first Yankee in club history with nine home runs in his first 21 career games [Link]
- Sanchez is the third American League player in the last 100 years to hit at least nine home runs in his first 21 career games, joining George Scott and Alvin Davis [Link]
- Sanchez and Joe DiMaggio are the only Yankees with 15 or more extra-base hits in their first 21 career games [Link]
Sanchez was considered the fifth-best prospect in the Yankees’ minor league system, according to MLB Pipeline. In the majors, he’s carrying a .389/.450/.847 triple-slash line in 79 plate appearances. He has also thrown out five of seven would-be base-stealers.
American swimmer Katie Ledecky, fresh off of winning four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Nationals’ game against the Orioles.
As NHL.com’s Katie Brown notes, Ledecky’s favorite player is Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who was on the field with her. So what did she make him do? Hold all of her medals while she threw out the first pitch.
Harper has his fair share of hardware, including a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP Award, but no gold medals. For shame.