There are all kinds of ideas that, when looked at up close in objective terms, seem to make a lot of sense. Many of these ideas, however, don’t look so good from 10,000 feet. And certainly don’t look good in hindsight.
And yes, this is hindsight. But there is no escaping the fact that, ultimately, Bruce Bochy decided, with two out in the 10th inning last night, to intentionally walk Adam Jones to get to one of the most fearsome hitters in baseball this season. Chris Davis made him pay for that decision.
Bochy began the 10th with lefty Javier Lopez on the hill. Which made sense because because two of the first three Orioles hitters — Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis — are left-handed. Lopez retired both of them. Manny Machado is not left-handed, however, and he doubled in between those outs. That brought Adam Jones — a righty — to the plate with two outs.
Bochy could have had Lopez try to retire Jones, platoon splits be damned. Or he could ave called in Santiago Casilla or Sergio Romo to face Jones. He chose not to do that. Instead he walked Jones to go lefty-on-lefty, Lopez vs. Davis. All Davis did was double to deep center, scoring both Machado and Jones and putting his Giants in a hole out of which they couldn’t climb. It was essentially the ballgame.
Playing the percentages. Playing the platoon splits. That makes sense. Putting a much worse hitter than Chris Davis on base and giving Davis a chance to bat? That really doesn’t. And Bruce Bochy learned that the hard way last night.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.