Dirk Hayhurst writes about Ryan Braun and the reception he might expect as he makes his way around the bigs in this first post-suspension season:
First basemen will slap tags on him harder, and catchers will—especially now that the home plate collision rules are in their favor—look to put a shin guard down in that ankle-breaking angle. He might even get beaned a time or two.
Yet, as indignant as players proclaim to be and regardless of how much “baseball justice” they dispense, they all understand why Braun did it.
Because baseball pays guys who can hit like Braun upward of $300 million.
Because fans will make a conscious effort to forget the bad you did as long as you produce.
Because players care more about winning than they do about cheating. Even teammates who have been lied to. Especially teammates.
Hayhurst talks about the PED-users he played with in the minors and the truth is that, even if a guy is a cheater, teammates will let it go as long as he’s helping them win.
Which is the same reason Braun got all of those cheers in Milwaukee the other day. The fans feel exactly the same way.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.