Robbie Ray

Baseball is designed to break your heart: Example 10,246,893

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Obviously there is still a lot of baseball left to play. And if I had to bet, I’d bet that the Detroit Tigers are going to be just fine. But the past two weeks has to convince Tigers fans that, yes, there are Baseball Gods. And that they are not benevolent. Indeed, they’re like the gods of Greek mythology who seem to enjoy toying with mortals.

Less than two weeks ago the Tigers traded for David Price, giving them a rotation consisting of the last three Cy Young Award winners, last year’s ERA champion and a kid in Rick Porcello who is having as good or better a season than all of them. The big question on everyone’s mind was how to fit all of those starters into the Tigers’ playoff rotation, with said playoffs being inevitable.

Flash forward: the Tigers started Robbie Ray last night. They are starting a guy named “Buck Farmer” today. If you had said “Buck Farmer” to me a couple of days ago I would have said it was either the name of a second tier porn star or the name Justin Verlander uses to check into hotels without being noticed. Meanwhile, two starters the Tigers considered superfluous — Doug Fister and Drew Smyly — spun gems for their new teams in the past 48 hours.

This isn’t an indictment of any move the Tigers have made. No one would choose Smyly over Price and not having Fister around did not hurt the Tigers until very recently. And obviously no one can predict injuries. It’s merely to note how damn fast everything can change in baseball and how things you thought were sure things one moment become something far less than sure the next.

It sucks to be reminded of this when it happens to your team. And no one wants injuries to happen. But in a cosmic sense, the quick turn of fortune that can happen in this game is one of baseball’s most exciting phenomenons.

Moises Alou pledges to help Cubs give “closure” to Steve Bartman

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 7:  Moises Alou #18 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the first inning against thye Florida Marlins during game one of the National League Championship Series October 7, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
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After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”

Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.

Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.

Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.