Kyle Kendrick apologizes for showing up Ryne Sandberg

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Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick was throwing well through five innings in Saturday’s start against the Giants, holding them to one run. He entered the sixth with a 5-1 lead, but all hell broke loose. Buster Posey led off with a single, then Pablo Sandoval hit a mile-high pop-up to the right side of the infield. Both second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard came after it, but the ball dropped between them. Utley picked up the ball and quickly made a back-hand flip to second base in attempt to secure the force out, but it was wide and dragged shortstop Jimmy Rollins off of the bag, allowing both runners to reach safely. Mike Morse followed up with an RBI double to make it 5-2 and put runners on second and third.

Manager Ryne Sandberg came out to the mound to get Kendrick. As is customary, the pitcher waits on the mound before handing off the ball to his manager, but a frustrated Kendrick was already on his way off the field before Sandberg could reach the mound. Lefty reliever Mario Hollands came in, but the Giants kept scoring, and the Phillies ultimately lost 6-5.

Kendrick apologized for showing up his manager and explained his frustration afterwards. Via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

“We talked,” Kendrick said before Sunday afternoon’s game. “I know it wasn’t the right thing to do.”

[…]

“Obviously you want the ball caught, but I was just upset at coming out of the game,” he said. “The ball falling in had nothing to do with it. I didn’t handle it right.”

[…]

“He wanted to see where I was at,” Kendrick said. “I didn’t want to come out of the game. I wasn’t trying to show up Ryno. That wasn’t my intention. I was upset and I wanted to get where no one could see me as quick as possible.

“Everything’s been kind of building up. It’s been a tough year for us and me personally. You’ve got to keep fighting, but little stuff irritates you.”

Following Saturday’s start, Kendrick has a 5-11 record with a 4.90 ERA and a 91/44 K/BB ratio in 154 1/3 innings over 25 starts. He can become a free agent after the season. Given the Phillies’ status as non-contenders for the foreseeable future, it seems unlikely that the team would bring him back in 2015. As a result, Kendrick is essentially auditioning for prospective teams over the remaining month and a half of the season.

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.