Bruce Bochy is in his 19th season as a National League manager. He’s forgotten more about double switches than you and I will ever know. If a national emergency happened and the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff needed an expert in double switching to stave off the apocalypse, Bochy would probably be, like, the third guy they’d call (La Russa would be first but would be discovered as the evil genius causing the apocalypse; Bobby Cox would probably be fishing).
But even experts screw up sometimes. Like Bochy did during the top of the 13th in last night’s Padres-Giants game:
“I messed up the double switch,” the Giants’ manager said after the Giants lost 5-3 to the Padres in 13 innings. “I got distracted. I was out there arguing, and I totally brain-cramped on that.”
What happened was this: Bochy made a pitching change, putting in Jake Dunning for Jose Mijares. OK. As part of that change he put Posey in the game at first base (Posey had had the night off to that point) and put him in for Brandon Belt in the seven slot in the lineup. Problem: Bochy really wanted Posey to hit in the nine slot for Guillermo Quiroz, who would be leading off the botton of the 13th.
As a result of double switching in Posey, rather than simply having him pinch hit for Quiroz, he ensured that Posey would never bat in the game. Quiroz led off the inning, grounded out and three batters later the game was over.
There’s obviously no guarantee that Posey would have done anything had he batted, but we’ll never know.
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.