Mike Lupica tells Matt Harvey he needs to grow up. It’s pretty close to incoherent, even by Lupica’s standards — I’d bet my children this was dictated from the car as he rode to the ESPN studios or wherever he was over the weekend — but here’s the paraphrased version:
Matt Harvey thinks he’s so big and, yes, actually, he IS so big. But he doesn’t need to constantly remind us of all of the things he’s doing in his rehab even though people who cover the Mets report on every single little thing about what he’s doing in his rehab and eve though Mets fans really want to know what’s going on with his rehab too.
And he needs to cut out this enthusiasm he has to get back on the field, because that’s just bad. I mean, not as bad as when Mets players show something less than enthusiasm to to get on the field — we kill guys for that! — but still pretty bad. And this coming back from injury early thing is nearly as bad as lingering on the DL longer than we M.D.s in the media think is appropriate.
Gosh, I am so lost and lonely and only care about baseball insofar as it allows me to lecture young punk kids to not be young punk kids.
If you get anything else out of that column, let me know, because that’s how it read to me. I will quote one bit of actual Lupica, though:
One of these days, Matt Harvey needs to remember — and that probably means before he hurts his arm again — that his job is to be a star young baseball pitcher, not some sort of needy celebrity who acts as if he gets the bends when he is out of the spotlight for very long.
Physician, heal thyself.
My take on Harvey: it’s better to listen to your manager and your GM, dude, and you should be a bit more aware of the media environment in which you play. But beyond that, you’re cool. Get your arm ready and pitch when we tell you to and it’ll all be fine.
I feel like one can take that position and not have baseball be ruined, but I suppose only time will tell.
There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.
It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.
Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.
Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.