BRADENTON — I thought the day was going to go better than this. I woke up and, magically, the R key on my keyboard was working again and all was right with the world. Then I saw this:
That little marker is where I’m sitting in McKechnie Field right now and that stuff to the left is a baseball game-banging storm.
Which, in case you don’t follow a lot of baseball writers on Twitter or if you’ve never been in a press box, is a term you don’t hear very often. “Bang.” As in “looks like rain, are they going to bang this game?” and “Just heard, they’re banging this one. They’ll make it up with a doubleheader tomorrow.” It’s one of my favorite things because, again, I am 12 years-old. It really stinks that a big storm is coming and that we likely won’t have baseball today, but I’ve gotten to say “bang” about 20 times in the past half hour and that’s almost worth it.
I’ll do a post later with the few photos and thoughts about this place I gathered before the deluge, but it looks like my afternoon is going to be more about booking down to Ft. Myers for tomorrow’s Red Sox game than it is about baseball today. Oh well.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.