Jordan Zimmermann was great for the Nationals last night, but Lance Lynn was just a little bit better. Lynn tossed eight scoreless innings while Matt Adams homered in his return from the disabled list as the Cardinals cooled down the Nationals with a 1-0 victory at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Lynn retired his first 16 batters until Jose Lobaton singled with one out in the sixth inning. He ended up giving up just two hits in all while walking none and striking out eight. Trevor Rosenthal struck out three in the ninth inning and worked around a two-out error from Kolten Wong to notch the save.
As for Zimmerman, he threw his second straight complete game in the tough-luck loss. Amazingly, he needed just 76 pitches to complete his eight innings of work. Per MLB.com, that’s the fewest pitches thrown in a complete game since Aaron Cook threw 74 in a nine-inning complete game for the Rockies on July 25, 2007. The all-time record belongs to Jose Bautista — no, not that Jose Bautista — who threw a 70-pitch complete game over eight innings for the Orioles in a loss on September 3, 1988.
Your Friday box scores:
Nationals 0, Cardinals 1
Blue Jays 4, Orioles 0
Cubs 2, Phillies 1
Twins 2, Tigers 0
Padres 2, Mets 6
Pirates 8, Marlins 6 (13 innings)
Indians 3, Red Sox 10
Angels 3, Braves 4
Royals 7, White Sox 2
Reds 6, Brewers 5
Rays 6, Astros 1
Yankees 7, Athletics 0
Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 4
Rangers 1, Mariners 0
Rockies 7, Giants 4
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: