Update (4:57 PM ET): Rosenthal says he made a leap suggesting that Sale would “likely” be punished.
On Tuesday, drama between the Orioles and Red Sox continued. For those that aren’t up to speed on the situation: On April 21 in Baltimore, Manny Machado slid hard into second base trying to break up a double play attempt. In doing so, he slid into Dustin Pedroia, injuring him. Two days later, reliever Matt Barnes threw a fastball at Machado’s head. He was ejected immediately and was handed a four-game suspension shortly thereafter. The two clubs opened up another series with each other on Monday and there was mostly no drama. Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy did hit Mookie Betts with a pitch, but it appeared to be unintentional. On Tuesday, in the first inning, Sox starter Chris Sale threw a fastball behind Machado, clearly intending to hit him. Both teams were given warnings. After the game, Machado expressed his displeasure with Sale and the Red Sox as an organization.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said that Sale will likely be punished for his actions. Torre was on a conference call with commissioner Rob Manfred as well as the managers and general managers of both teams.
Torre said, “Players deserve to be on the field. We appreciate your passion but we certainly need to have the focus on playing games instead of trying to get even, if somebody thinks they need to get even.”
Torre’s full comments can be found in Rosenthal’s article.
Sale should be suspended. If he is, it should be long enough to serve as an actual detriment. If the punishment is, for example, a five-game suspension, the Red Sox can just shuffle their rotation around a bit and it will be as if Sale didn’t miss any time at all. If players are losing half the season for failing a drug test, they should lose as much time for endangering their peers.
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.”