The latest installment in the ongoing Orioles-Red Sox feud is this: Boston left-hander Chris Sale is reportedly not in line for a suspension after throwing behind Manny Machado on Tuesday. Despite recent comments from MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre earlier this week, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that a “final determination” has been made and Sale will not receive an official punishment from the league.
The original beef between the two teams — Machado’s spikes-high slide into Dustin Pedroia‘s leg, which has since been deemed unintentional by all involved parties — has escalated over the past two weeks. Sale’s pitch, a 98 m.p.h. fastball aimed behind Machado’s knees, was the third such incident to spawn from Pedroia’s injury. Now, it appears that the Red Sox won’t receive so much as a slap on the wrist for behavior that, should it continue, could unnecessarily injure another player.
Torre and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred appeared to take different approaches to the conflict. According to Torre, Manfred issued a joint warning to the teams during a conference call on Wednesday, letting them know that any further behavior would result in discipline by the league. Torre, on the other hand, said he’d rather not have the players and umpires “walking on eggs” as they approach each game, and felt that the situation didn’t warrant any pregame warnings going forward. Wednesday and Thursday’s games passed without too much drama, and the two teams aren’t scheduled to meet again until a series in Baltimore on June 1. Whether Manfred’s warning will prevent further retaliation remains to be seen, but given the league’s leniency so far, it may not be enough.
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.”