Jake Diekman

A day after Tigers embarrass Phillies, Phillies embarrass themselves


Last night, the Tigers outclassed the Phillies en route to an easy 10-0 win. Max Scherzer was on point as he improved to 15-1, and Miguel Cabrera was productive as usual. A typical game for the defending American League champions.

This afternoon was an entirely different story, as the Phillies were their own worst enemy. It started off like a normal game. With the Phillies leading 1-0 in the bottom of the third, the Tigers were threatening, loading the bases with one out for Miguel Cabrera. He fell behind 0-2 on some questionable calls, then was, all of a sudden, ejected from the game. Ostensibly, Cabrera had muttered a few words within earshot of home plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Manager Jim Leyland came out to defend his slugger and was promptly tossed as well, an inauspicious start for the Tigers. Matt Tuiasosopo replaced Cabrera, eventually striking out. Prince Fielder fouled out to end the threat.

The Phillies would tack on a couple more runs to go up 3-0. Though Pettibone had pitched well through five innings, he labored all afternoon, having thrown 78 pitches. Manager Charlie Manuel opted to go to his much-maligned bullpen for the final four frames, and that is where it all fell apart. Without having to take you through the painful details, this is what the sixth-inning summary looked like (emphasis mine):

Bottom 6th: Detroit

– J. Diekman relieved J. Pettibone

– A. Dirks walked

– A. Avila safe at first on pitcher J. Diekman’s throwing error, A. Dirks to second

– R. Santiago reached on bunt single, A. Dirks to third, A. Avila to second

– A. Jackson flied out to shallow right

– D. Kelly safe at first on left fielder S. Susdorf’s fielding error, A. Dirks scored, A. Avila to third, R. Santiago to second

– L. Garcia relieved J. Diekman

– M. Tuiasosopo walked, A. Avila scored, R. Santiago to third, D. Kelly to second

– H. Perez ran for M. Tuiasosopo

– P. Fielder safe at first on first baseman D. Ruf’s throwing error, R. Santiago scored, D. Kelly to third, H. Perez to second

– V. Martinez walked, D. Kelly scored, H. Perez to third, P. Fielder to second

– J. Peralta homered to deep left, H. Perez, P. Fielder and V. Martinez scored

– A. Bastardo relieved L. Garcia

– A. Dirks struck out swinging

– A. Avila struck out looking

8 runs, 2 hits, 3 errors

Philadelphia 3, Detroit 11

The inning was actually uglier than the summary suggests, as it lasted over a half hour and featured this gem:

The Tigers went on to win 12-4, completing the series sweep in Detroit. The win is the Tigers’ seventh in their last eight games, while the Phillies extended their losing streak to eight games.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
1 Comment

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
Leave a comment

It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.