Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports that Major League Baseball is investigating Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar‘s use of a homophobic slur directed at Braves reliever Jason Motte on Wednesday night. Motte quick-pitched Pillar, which the latter did not like. After Pillar struck out, he yelled the slur at Motte.
Pillar did apologize to Motte later. Speaking to the media after Wednesday’s loss, he said, “It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for. It’s part of the game, it’s just, I’m a competitive guy and heat of the moment. Obviously I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to reach out and apologize and let him know he didn’t do anything wrong, it was all me.”
Good on Pillar for doing the right thing afterwards, but Major League Baseball is right to investigate the incident because hateful language has no place in the game.
The benches actually cleared twice during Wednesday’s game: after Pillar and Motte’s tiff in the seventh inning, and after Jose Bautista hit a home run in the eighth. Bautista stared at his homer, then at reliever Eric O'Flaherty before flipping his bat demonstratively.
Somewhat related: Nationals pitcher Matt Albers appeared to shout a homophobic slur after closing out his team’s win over the Phillies on Sunday. Perhaps MLB should look into that, too.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.