Orioles reliever Pedro Strop has been struggling, allowing eight runs in his last four appearances, and he was booed off the mound by the home fans last night after coughing up four runs while recording one out.
Afterward he talked about being bothered by the boos, telling Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun:
I heard it when I was walking from the mound. Booing somebody like that–I was giving everything I’ve got to help the team win and to give a good show. … They don’t care about players. They care about good results.
It’s not a big deal. I know they just want to see good results, but at the same time, they don’t know what it takes, what hard work and dedication it takes to perform well. So that’s why they boo, because they don’t know.
I tend to agree with much of what Strop said, in that booing a player simply because he’s performing poorly–as opposed to, say, not giving a full effort–has always struck me as silly. Still, it’s tough to imagine there being any benefit for Strop speaking publicly about the boos.
The type of person who loudly boos a relief pitcher coming off the mound after a bad performance seems unlikely to read that relief pitcher’s thoughts in the newspaper and think: “Hmm, I never realized it could hurt his feelings. I’ll stop and tell everyone I know to do the same.”
Instead, next time Strop struggles I’d bet on the boos being even louder. Having delved into this topic quite a bit last year when Twins fans at Target Field were booing a struggling Joe Mauer, I know there’s nothing people who boo like less than being questioned about why they’re booing.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.