Mariano Rivera tore the ACL in his right knee shagging fly balls at Kaufmann Stadium last year, forcing him onto the DL for the rest of the season and putting his future in doubt. Now back in action and as strong as ever — the right-hander has a 1.88 ERA and 13 saves in as many opportunities — he returns to the scene of the crime as the Yankees have begun a three-game set in Kansas City.
Paying homage to Rivera, Kaufmann Stadium playfully labeled the warning track a “No Mo Zone”.
The Rays are playing host to the San Diego Padres in an inter-league three-game series this weekend, leading off with an Alex Cobb/Edinson Volquez starting pitching match-up tonight. After allowing two runs in the first on solo home runs by Will Venable and Carlos Quentin, Cobb had an interesting third inning.
Venable struck out to lead off the inning, but was able to reach first base safely on a wild pitch third strike. Chase Headley struck out for the first out of the inning. However, Venable stole second base on strike three. Cobb fell behind 1-0 to Quentin, then threw a second-pitch strike as Venable once again stole a base, winding up at third base with one out. Quentin eventually went down swinging. With a 1-1 count to Yonder Alonso, Cobb was called for a balk, allowing Venable to score and bringing the score to 3-0. Shortly thereafter, Alonso struck out swinging.
If you’re keeping score, Cobb’s line for the inning read: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB.
On April 28, Cincinnati Reds lefty Tony Cingrani also struck out four in an inning.
UPDATE: Cobb left the game with two outs in the fifth, having struck out 13 in total. As Corey Brock tweets, Cobb is the first pitcher in baseball history to have 13 or more strikeouts in fewer than five innings. DRays Bay also notes that Cobb’s start breaks a 34-game streak in which Rays starters had gone at least five innings, the second-longest streak since 1916.
No, Derek Jeter should not think about retiring. Just so we’re clear on that.
Jason Keidel, though, argues that the Yankee shortstop is at the end of the line:
Father Time is finally throwing Jeter some serious chin music, snapping his ankle in October, and then taunting him back to practice before chipping it again. But Jeter is the Bernard Hopkins of baseball, swinging until he’s literally carted off. The Yankees surely hope he makes that decision before they have to.
Jeter turns 39 at the end of June, but 2012 was his best offensive showing since 2009. Let’s start with a couple traditional stats: he hit 15 home runs (most since 18 in ’09) and scored 99 runs (most since 111 in ’10). Going by Sabermetric stats, his .347 wOBA was his best since .385 in ’09 and his 3.1 FanGraphs WAR was the most since 6.8 in ’09.
Keidel challenges readers to find “one shortstop in the modern era who produced at 39.” It is kind of a loaded challenge, but let’s play nevertheless. According to Baseball Reference, there have been ten player-seasons since 1901 where a shortstop posted 2.0 (average) WAR or better at the age of 39 or older: four of them belong to Honus Wagner (1913-16), three to Luke Appling (1946-47, ’49), and one each to Luis Aparicio (1973), Ozzie Smith (1994), and Omar Vizquel (2.9). So, yeah, kind of rare.
But if you lower the age threshold to 38, an interesting name appears on the list: Derek Jeter. Had the injury occurred last year, I have a feeling Keidel would have asked the very same question, only about 38-year-old shortstops. Clearly, Jeter is not the dominant player of the early and mid-2000’s, but is still as good as or better than many of his contemporaries to whom he has seniority by as many as 15 years. Jeter is one of the last players I’d think about writing off.
Hall of Fame hopeful and current Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris thrust Clay Buchholz into the spotlight recently when he accused the Red Sox hurler of using a spitball. The controversy became a national spectacle as Dirk Hayhurst and others joined the chorus of finger-waggers.
With the Jays in Boston to begin a three-game series, Morris apologized to Buchholz for starting a media frenzy that served as “an injustice” to the right-hander.
Via ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes on Twitter:
After more than a week riding the pine, Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth will be placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. The move will be retroactive to May 3, making Werth eligible to return on May 18.
GM Mike Rizzo called the strain “very slight” and is confident Werth will be ready after a week of rest.
CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman has more:
The Nationals have been playing a wait-and-see game with Werth over the last week, hoping each day he’d be ready to return from what originally was termed nothing more than hamstring cramps. The club believed it might actually have been a result of dehydration from a stomach ailment, a condition for which Werth has since begun taking antibiotics.
The Nationals plan to wait until after tonight’s series opener against the Cubs to officially place Werth on the DL and then will promote a replacement outfielder from Class AAA Syracuse: either Eury Perez or Jeff Kobernus.
Werth had a slow first month of the season, walking at half his career average rate and is still missing the power he last displayed as a member of the Phillies. He carries a .260/.308/.400 line as he heads to the DL.
In other injury-related news, left fielder Bryce Harper is out of the lineup tonight after undergoing a procedure to remove an ingrown toenail. Manager Davey Johnson told the media Harper had been dealing with it for a few days. He should be ready to return to the lineup tomorrow.