Joe Girardi had about four hours to think about what he was going to say after getting tossed in the second inning on Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game. His response to Ryan Dempster seemingly intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez: “I wish he had to hit. That’s what I wish.”
So, basically, Girardi is saying that if Dempster had come to the plate, CC Sabathia would have drilled him in retaliation. At least, that’s what I’m gathering here. This despite the fact that:
A) Dempster is a terrible hitter and it’d be a stupid idea to take a sure out off the board and give the Red Sox a free baserunner with the Yankees needing to capitalize on every possible opportunity if they hope to make the playoffs
B) Sabathia would have been ejected immediately for throwing at Dempster and probably would have gotten a suspension on top of it
C) Sabathia and the Yankees pen had all night to retaliate against any one of nine Boston hitters they so chose, yet didn’t take it
We do hear this kind of thing once in a while, more so in years past when Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens were accused of headhunting. They’d never do that if they had to hit, right? But, of course, pitchers do hit in the National League, and it’s very rare to see them get thrown at. Did the Nationals target Braves pitchers when they were ticked off about Bryce Harper getting hit over the weekend? No, they drilled Justin Upton. NL pitchers have been hit by pitches 12 times all year, once every 323 plate appearances. The rest of the league gets hit once every 105 plate appearances.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.