Kudos to Dusty Baker for using his best relief pitcher in the eighth inning. But, sadly, it did not work last night as the previously invincible Aroldis Chapman proved, um, vinceable, giving up a lead and paving the way for the Tigers 7-6 victory in Cincinnati last night.
The first two hitters reached against Logan Ondrusek in the eighth inning, so Dusty called on Chapman with nobody out. It went like so:
- Brendan Boesch singled to right;
- Matt Young was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run;
- Austin Jackson hit a ground rule double, scoring two more;
- Quintin Berry walked;
- Chapman threw a wild pitch and a fourth run scored.
Chapman settled down after that, retiring Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, but the lead and the game was gone by that point.
No one is perfect. And the fact that Dusty felt he had to go to Chapman in that situation probably speaks of his confidence in the rest of his pen every bit as much as it speaks to the coolness of using your best reliever in a tough spot. But no, it was not Chapman’s finest hour last night.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.