Justin Verlander turned in another rough outing last night, allowing seven runs in 5.2 innings against the White Sox. And nearly all of the damage came in the sixth inning, following five innings of one-run ball to begin the game.
There’s no shame in serving up a homer to Jose Abreu, but Verlander also walked four batters and allowed eight hits while falling to 6-6 with a 4.61 ERA on the season. And that’s after posting a 2.48 ERA in April.
In his last six starts Verlander has allowed 35 runs in 37.2 innings, posting an ugly 7.41 ERA and .312 opponents’ batting average while managing a sub par 24/18 K/BB ratio. He’s yielded six homers in those six starts after allowing a grand total of 19 homers in 34 starts last year and an average of 18 homers per 34 starts for his entire career.
In other words he’s a mess right now, although last night at least Verlander averaged 95.8 miles per hour on his fastball, topping out at 99.0 mph, so velocity-wise there were no issues. His next start comes Monday against the Royals, who rank 12th among AL teams in runs and dead last in homers and slugging percentage. So if Verlander struggles again versus Kansas City … woof.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.