Red Sox’ second baseman Dustin Pedroia limped off the field following a collision during the eighth inning of Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Orioles. He appeared to sustain some kind of leg injury after Baltimore’s Manny Machado made a late slide into second base and spiked Pedroia’s left calf with his cleats. While the Red Sox have yet to disclose any details about Pedroia’s condition, manager John Farrell told reporters that the infielder experienced some soreness following the play and was concerned that it might have re-injured his surgically repaired knee.
Both managers took issue with the play. Baltimore skipper Buck Showalter issued a challenge, arguing that Pedroia had stepped off the base, while Farrell believed that Machado had violated league rules by effectively preventing Pedroia from beginning to turn the double play. The tag was confirmed after review, although no double play was retroactively awarded to the Red Sox, nor was Machado ejected for an illegal slide.
There is, of course, a rule that prohibits takeout slides and is designed to avoid situations like this. It’s a four-pronged rule that requires runners to begin their slides before reaching the base, to stay in the vicinity of the base, to attempt to remain on the base after completing the slide, and to slide without going out of their way to intentionally make contact with the infielder. Machado failed to tick all four boxes on that checklist, and though the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson points out that the play looked more reckless than malicious, the ire it drew from Farrell and, later, third base coach Brian Butterfield was not without warrant.
Pedroia, for his part, did not appear upset with Machado’s tactics, whether intentional or not. Per MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel:
I don’t even know what the rule is,” he said. “I’ve turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years. I don’t need the (expletive) rule, let’s be honest. The rule is irrelevant. The rule is for people with bad footwork, and that’s it.
The Orioles are set for the second game of the series on Saturday at 7:05 PM EDT, when left-hander Jayson Aquino takes the mound against Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright. Needless to say, it’s shaping up to be a tense series.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”