Jose Fernandez: “My goal this year is to have a 1.95 ERA”

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From the Department of The Oddly Specific, here’s Marlins ace Jose Fernandez:

He delivered his message quiet matter-of-factly, as if he were discussing the everyday, the mundane, the fully expected. With neither fanfare nor a deep breath to preface his quiet announcement, Jose Fernandez calmly said, “My goal this year is to have a 1.95 ERA.” There.

Oh, 1.95? Well, of course? Why not? Why not 1.90?

“I think I can,” Fernandez said with an earnestness that is delightful and disarming. His response to his listener’s somewhat incredulous reaction was an incredulous reaction of his own, as if to say “What, you don’t think I can?”

I think he probably can. I just wonder how one arrives at that specific number as opposed to saying “under 2.00” or something. Either way, I kind of like Fernandez. The more I learn about him the more of a mildly strange ranger he seems to be, and I love strange rangers.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.