Reds right-hander Mat Latos had an odd outing Sunday: he allowed five homers but no other hits or walks in 7 1/3 innings in defeating the Rockies.
Carlos Gonzalez hit two of the five homers off Latos, with Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler also taking him deep. Fowler’s homer in the eighth knocked him out of the game in the eighth.
After Jose Arredondo walked the only hitter he faced, Aroldis Chapman got five outs for the save in the Reds’ 7-5 win.
There were nine homers hit in all at Great American Ball Park. Rockies starter Jamie Moyer allowed the other four. He surrendered all seven Reds runs and took the loss.
It was the first time this year that nine homers were hit in a game. The last time it happened was Sept. 10, 2011, also in a contest between the Reds and Rockies.
Latos surely missed his old digs in San Diego today. He’s now given up 10 homers in six home starts this season. Still, he’s gone 3-1 with a 4.10 ERA in Cincinnati. He’s given up just one homer in four road starts, yet he has a 5.40 ERA in those games.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.