Kevin Kiermaier has won Gold Gloves in each of the last two seasons and even won the Platinum Glove in 2015, given to the best overall defensive player in each league. But even Gold and Platinum Glove winners make mistakes, as Kiermaier has shown over the last few days.
On Monday, in the opener of a four-game series against the Royals, Kiermaier attempted to corral a sharp grounder hit up the middle by Lorenzo Cain with a runner on second base in the top of the third inning of a 1-1 game. Kiermaier charged in on the ball to attempt to throw out Alcides Escobar at home, but the ball sneaked under his glove and rolled nearly all the way to the warning track. Cain circled the bases and scored standing up, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead.
The same thing happened to Kiermaier on Thursday afternoon in the series finale against the Royals. With the Royals already leading 4-0 in the top of the eighth, Jorge Bonifacio was on second base when Whit Merrifield hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Kiermaier again charged the ball but it sneaked under his glove and rolled all the way to the center field fence. Merrifield scored standing up, extending the Royals’ lead to 6-0. Kiermaier could only crouch in the outfield and put his face in his hands in shame.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.