In the wake of the alleged Jose Valverde spitball thing, the first question many people asked me was whether MLB can or would do anything about it. My guess, based on recent history, is that they probably can do something but probably won’t either, for a couple of reasons.
The history: in game 3 of the 2009 ALCS, there was video that kinda maybe sorta showed Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball. After that began to circulate, MLB reviewed it and issued a statement calling the video “inconclusive” and letting the matter rest. While MLB discipline is nothing if not inconsistent, that implies that, had the video been more conclusive, they could have and would have done something about it.
I can’t find the video of the Rivera incident, but I do remember it and my memory of it was that it was far more ambiguous than Valverde’s thing, so perhaps baseball will review this one too and do something about it. It’s possible, however, that even if they do think it’s conclusive that they do nothing to Valverde for fear of wading into — shock! — more replay and second-guessing of umpires and all of that. As it stands, I can’t remember an incident that did not get noted on the field in some way during the game that later led to discipline based on video alone.
In any event, that’s the context. Baseball should probably look into it based on their looking into the Rivera thing from 2009. But it’s doubtful that anything — except maybe a memo to the umpires to watch Valverde more closely going forward — will happen as a result.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.