Roy Halladay spoke at length with the media after last night’s loss. A lot of Phillies fans sent me the article quoting him because of the stuff he said about the state of the team and all of that. It’s interesting in its own right because Halladay has never been the most loquacious player.
But I found his stuff about Carlos Ruiz’s ejection for arguing balls and strikes while on defense the most interesting:
“He didn’t turn around, he didn’t get in his face, he didn’t use obscene language,” Halladay said. “He simply said the pitch was a strike. He said it a couple times. I don’t know. I’ve never seen one like that before. And it’s unfortunate, because he’s our best player and he gets run out of the game, really for saying a pitch is a strike. I’ve never seen one like that.
David Murphy noted his surprise at the quote, as it’s rare that you hear someone calling Chooch the Phillies’ “best player.” He may very well be given how well he’s hitting at a premium defensive position, but it’s not something you hear very often. As Murphy says, you hear a lot of Ruiz being underrated or important or that he’s the “heart and soul,” but a flat-out declaration that he’s “the best” is interesting.
Also interesting: Halladay said the Phillies have “great chemistry.” Which is something people rarely say about a team that’s struggling. It’s usually some post-hoc description of a team that’s doing great, with the chemistry being the result of the relaxation that comes from success. I usually call b.s. on that, but I think it’s way more significant when it comes from a player as opposed to a reporter. And way more significant when it happens when things aren’t going well as opposed to when they are.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.