World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three

Jake Peavy rips umpire Dana DeMuth, calls the game-ending play “a joke”

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You mad, bro?

Yeah, Jake Peavy is definitely mad about the game-ending obstruction call last night. Speaking to reporters in the clubhouse after the game, the Red Sox’ Game 3 starter was incredulous, calling home plate umpire Dana DeMuth’s ruling that Allen Craig would have scored cleanly from third base but for the obstruction of third baseman Will Middlebrooks “a crying shame” and “a joke” and asked how DeMuth was going to sleep last night:

“Two teams are pouring their hearts out on the field and that’s the call you make … It’s a joke. I don’t know how he (DeMuth) is going to lay his head down tonight … it’s just amazing to me that it would end on a call like that, that’s not black and white. I don’t know what else to say …”

Peavy went on, trying to make this out as some sort of pattern of incompetence on the part of DeMuth and claimed that the only people who could possibly be happy with the call were Cardinals fans:

…He (DeMuth) has already proven that he can not see things correctly in Game 1. (He missed) a pretty obvious (call) 4 feet in front of him … I hope he rests well tonight in his hotel room knowing what he did. That is a joke, an absolute joke. I’m sorry. Go to talk to him and ask him if he feels good and right about his call to end a World Series game on a diving play… it’s just beyond me … I don’t know how anybody can say, ‘Yeah, that’s how it should have ended.’ Go find me one person that’s OK with that call, other than Cardinals fans, because they won the game.”

Sorry, but Peavy is the one who is a joke after these comments. Based on the sentiment of everyone I spoke with at the ballpark last night, everyone weighing in on the call online and on television and, more importantly, based on the clear reading of the applicable rules and reviewing the pay on video over and over, DeMuth did make the right call. He should have slept perfectly well last night.

What’s more — to use Peavy’s construction of the notion — the only people who I can find saying that no, the game should not have ended on that play — the only ones not OK with that call — are Red Sox fans because they lost the game.

Should they be 100% satisfied? No. It is hard to take a game ending on a play like that. But not because it was wrong or controversial, only because it doesn’t jibe with what we usually expect in terms of game flow. No clean RBI base hit. No pitcher retiring a batter. No one pumping their fist and going out for high fives. There’s a weird dissonant feeling when games don’t end the way they usually do and thus Red Sox fans having a bad taste in their mouths is totally understandable. But there was no miscarriage of justice here.

I’d ask Peavy to put the shoe on the other foot and ask how anyone besides Red Sox fans would feel if the call were made differently. If DeMuth ruled that Allen Craig was out even though he was interfered with by the fielder. To be sure, that is the call Peavy is disputing: the judgment that Craig would have scored but for the collision at third. That was DeMuth’s judgment call (third base umpire Jim Joyce called interference, and Peavy isn’t disputing that with these comments).

If that were the case it’d be close to intolerable. Both because it would clearly have been wrong — a gimpy Craig almost scored cleanly as it was — but because there would have been no way to fix the call to anyone’s satisfaction. Are Joe Torre and Bud Selig going to overturn it the next morning and retroactively award Game 3 to the Cardinals? Hardly. For P.R. purposes having a World Series game decided from a hotel suite in Downtown St. Louis at 2AM Sunday morning would have created an uproar and Selig would never have had the guts to do it, even if it would be the only way to truly fix the error. No, they would have stopped short of that and we’d be left with a clearly blown call standing and, possibly, deciding the outcome of a World Series.

It was less than satisfying aesthetically, but justice was done here. Dana DeMuth’s call was not a “joke.” And by the light of day this morning, I would expect that Jake Peavy — the emotion of the moment having passed — will realize that he was out of line with his comments last night.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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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.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.