The next time someone argues that pitcher wins mean anything, remember the Cards-Nats game from tonight.
Stephen Strasburg and Shelby Miller are locked in a pitcher’s duel. It’s 1-1 in the top of the seventh. Miller gets two outs, but also loads the bases. He’s at 101 pitches and he’s gassed, so Mike Matheny calls on Randy Choate. Choate comes in and throws one pitch, which induces a ground ball to get the Cards out of the inning.
Bottom of the seventh comes and the Cards rally for three runs on a Matt Adams homer, a walk to Matt Holliday with the bases loaded and an Allen Craig single. Choate is the pitcher of record throughout this half-inning, even if he’s just watching it all from the bench, even as Jon Jay pinch hits for him. Pat Neshek comes in for the eighth and sets the Nats down 1-2-3. Trevor Rosenthal does the same in the ninth. Ballgame.
The man who threw one pitch is awarded with the win. Granted, he did his job and all that he was asked to do. But he still threw one pitch. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about pitcher wins.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.