It went into the wee, wee hours. There were 40 strikeouts between the two teams. And then it all ended with the Tigers relying on their bullpen and the Mariners relying upon the foot speed of Justin Smoak.
Not exactly a strength against strength situation.
The game-ending play: Smoak on first, Dustin Ackley at the plate facing Joaquin Benoit. Ackley doubles to right field. Smoak is on his horse! His horse suffered shrapnel wounds at the Battle of the Vicksburg and is just barely holding on, but Smoak is on it! Torii Hunter fields the ball, relays to Prince Fielder who relays to Bryan Pena. IT’S GONNA BE CLOSE!
Oh, wait. It wasn’t particularly close at all, but it still was fairly spectacular.
Look, I don’t know why third base coach Jeff Datz sent Smoak. It was really, really late so maybe he was tired. Maybe he thought Smoak had another gear. An old riding lawn mower has another gear of course, and that doesn’t make it fast, but maybe that’s what he was thinking. I’m sure there have been worse sends in the history of the game. None come to mind at the moment, but there had to have been worse sends. They’ve been playing baseball for, like, 150 years. As I sit here now, I’m gonna say that it was the worst send since Walter Donovan made those soldiers go into the cave without Henry Jones’ Grail diary to help navigate the Three Trials.
But don’t get too down about it M’s fans. Here’s Dave Cameron to put it all in perspective for you:
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.