Did you know that there is a 100% correlation between watching football and death? Really, every single person who has ever watched a football game has either died or will, without question, die in the future. Stop the dying, people. Stop watching football. It’s for your own good.
In case you haven’t decided to turn your life around and drop the demon pigskin, here’s what you missed this past weekend on HBT. First, the playoff action:
- The Cardinals stunned the Nationals in the ninth inning late Friday night.
- But don’t worry, the Nats will be OK long term.
- Still, OK or not, until they win a World Series, their legacy will always be that of the team that tempted fate and paid the price.
- Meanwhile, the Giants watched and waited on the tarmac.
- The series may have already started, but our ALCS preview and NLCS preview are still worth your time.
- Over in the ALCS, Raul Ibanez played the hero again, but it wasn’t enough.
- And losing the game wasn’t even the worst part of it. And the playoffs won’t be the same without Captain Jetes.
- For the Tigers, their closer’s ninth inning meltdown was a blessing in disguise.
- Stay classy, Washington: rooting for the Cardinals gets a Washington Wizards player threatened.
- All the talk about Alex Rodriguez struggling when, actually, Robinson Cano has been worse.
- And the umpiring has been even worse than Robinson Cano. And Joe Girardi is all over it.
- Not Jose Valverde comes through.
- The Cardinals beat the Giants, and it’s all on Madison Bumgarner.
Meanwhile, in non-playoffs news:
Wow. This time next week we’re gonna know who’s in the World Series. Nifty.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.