Bob Nightengale of USA Today sat down for a candid interview with Arte Moreno. Who, aside from not liking the fact that he gets an earful from fans when he tries to go to his favorite bar, is taking a more zen approach to the Angels’ struggles than you might expect.
He still defends picking up Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the past two seasons, saying that on paper they looked like great acquisitions. He is baffled by Hamilton’s struggles but has told him that he’s going to be around for five years so he shouldn’t try to fix all of his problems with one swing. He thinks that GM Jerry Dipoto’s system needs more time to work. He has faith in Mike Scioscia and still considers him the best manager in baseball. The upshot: nothing drastic is going to happen now. All decisions involving personnel and management will wait until after the season is over.
Overall: you gotta kinda like Moreno after reading this interview. He’s not enjoying losing, but he’s well-aware of how lucky he is and how overall Anaheim’s financial and ballpark situation is pretty advantageous to him. You feel like he likes baseball a lot and that he’s just as gobsmacked as any Angels fan that things aren’t working out well on the field right now.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.