Merkle’s Boner redux: minor league team hits walkoff single, loses

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Saw this via Deadspin and I’ve been smacking my head ever since.

Great Lakes Loons vs. Lansing Lugnuts, two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. The Lansing batter hits a single up the middle. Game over, yes? You’d think so based on the celebration. Only one problem: the runner on first didn’t go to second — he was caught up in the celebration — so the center fielder scooped the ball up and tossed to second base. When the inning ends on a force out the run doesn’t count even if the runner crossed the plate before the out so it was taken off the board and onto extra innings they went. Lansing lost the game in the 10th inning.

This is Merkle’s Boner all over again. Of course, the 1908 Cubs who won that game due to Fred Merkle’s mistake went on to win the NL pennant by one game. Lansing, however, is already seven and half games back of the first place Great Lakes team after only 12 games played, so this probably won’t come back to haunt them.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.