I don’t know if the Yankees will close the 2.5 game gap between them and the playoffs, but they might. And if they do, Mike Lupica argues, the league will hate it:
Now it is September of 2013, what the Yankees hope will be a big September as they try to clinch a wild card or maybe still win the American League East from the Red Sox, whom they would play in three hours. And less than four years from A-Rod’s dream October, he has become Major League Baseball’s worst nightmare. There is only one player whom the people who run the sport don’t want to see playing baseball this October, and it is Alex Rodriguez . . .
I suppose there is a lot of truth to that. I also suppose that baseball will quite gladly accept the high TV rankings and generalized buzz that will flow from the Yankees — and A-Rod — making the playoffs.
And even if they hate it now, I would think that at least some forward thinkers at the league office will recognize that an A-Rod in the playoffs story will — while certainly causing a lot of controversy and hand-wringing — reveal that the sport is larger than the controversies which so many wish to have define it. That A-Rod’s foibles will not turn Yankees fans off of their team’s run. Nor will it kill non-Yankees fans interest in rooting against the Yankees. It will fuel it, actually, and while that may still be based on the ugly PED stuff, it’s always been good for baseball when folks root for and against the Yankees.
The sport has survived so many scoundrels and scandals. It is and will continue to survive this one. Anyone saying otherwise is ignorant of the game’s history and is misapprehending the seriousness — as opposed to the mere salaciousness — of A-Rod and the Biogenesis stuff.
Yu Darvish will be limited to 85-90 pitches when he makes his 2016 debut for the Rangers against the Pirates on Saturday, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Darvish hasn’t pitched since August 9, 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail said, “That would be a good pitch count. It all depends on how he looks during the game and how many pitches he has. We’re not going to have him go out there and throw 150 pitches. Hopefully he gets out there and uses his fastball to get early outs and uses his pitches wisely and keeps us in the game.”
Darvish has made five minor league rehab appearances beginning on May 1. Over three starts with Double-A Frisco and two with Triple-A Round Rock, the right-hander yielded four runs (two earned) on nine hits and six walks with 21 strikeouts in 20 innings.
Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez protected the Tigers’ lead in the ninth inning for what turned out to be a 3-1 victory. In doing so, he notched his league-leading 14th save of the season and the 400th save of his 15-year career. Rodriguez gave up a leadoff double to Freddy Galvis followed by a Maikel Franco single. However, he was able to retire Tommy Joseph on a sacrifice fly, Ryan Howard on a 4-3 ground out, and Carlos Ruiz on a strikeout to end the game.
Rodriguez is the sixth member of the 400-save club, joining Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), John Franco (424), and Billy Wagner (422).
Rodriguez blew a save opportunity on Opening Day, but has gone 14-for-14 since. He carries a 3.57 ERA and a 16/6 K/BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings on the year.
Former major leaguer Jose Canseco will be a guest at the Frisco Rough Riders game against the Springfield Cardinals on June 4. After the game, he’ll participate in a Home Run Derby Challenge in which he takes on local challengers and attempts to break his own world record for the longest softball home run at 622 feet.
Here’s the link to the Roughl Riders schedule, which offers details on the event.
For those who might not know, the Rough Riders are the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate. Springfield is the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate.
The Mets considered skipping Matt Harvey‘s start against the Nationals on Tuesday, but the right-hander said he wanted to make the start, so the club relented. Harvey has struggled mightily this season, entering the start with a 5.77 ERA and a 43/15 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings.
Harvey was slammed for nine runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 innings in his most recent start against the Nationals last Thursday. He failed to finish the sixth inning in six of nine starts.
Things didn’t get any better for Harvey against the Nationals on Tuesday. He yielded five runs on eight hits — including three home runs — with two walks and a strikeout in five innings. Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and former teammate Daniel Murphy each clubbed homers against him. Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg continued to dominate.
One wonders, if there isn’t anything physically wrong with Harvey — and there’s reason to suspect there might be, particularly due to a decline across the board in velocity — the Mets might just put him on the disabled list to give him a couple of weeks to clear his head. Harvey was booed by the home crowd last week, and failing to live up to expectations in New York can put a lot of pressure on a person.