Craig Calcaterra

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 18:  Lance McCullers #43 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park on May 18, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
McCullers

What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s Action

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The baseball weekend already began today with an afternoon tilt at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lead the Pirates late. The Cubs lead everyone.

Otherwise, we have the return of Lance McCullers, who  the Astros definitely need to be like the Lance McCullers of 2015 given the state of their pitching. And given that the Red Sox lineup he’s facing tonight is en fuego. We have the worst team in baseball facing off on the road against the defending World Series champs. This being baseball, however, Atlanta could take two of three and all we’d really be able to do is to shrug and go “welp, baseball.” There are two knuckleballers in action tonight, which doesn’t happen too often these days. A pity they aren’t facing one another.

Here are the matchups and times. Have a good weekend, y’all.

Chicago White Sox (Chirs Sale) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman), 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @ Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez), 7:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Houston Astros (Lance McCullers) @ Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright), 7:10 PM EDT, Fenway Park

Minnesota Twins (Ricky Nolasco) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 7:10 PM EDT, Progressive Field

Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington

San Diego Padres (Christian Frederich) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Shelby Miller), 9:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Los Angeles Angels (Nick Tropeano) @ Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns), 10:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT, Dodger Stadium

Jose Reyes suspended through May 31

Jose Reyes
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Jose Reyes‘ domestic violence suspension has been handed down: he’s out through May 31, with the suspension being deemed retroactive to February 23, when he was placed on paid leave. The Rockies will play their 51st game on the 31st, meaning that this is, effectively, a 51-game suspension. Reyes may participate in extended Spring Training activities during the remainder of the suspension, followed by a rehabilitation assignment beginning on June 1. 

Reyes has agreed not to appeal the discipline, so this should be viewed as a settlement, one would think, and the earlier reports that he may have received 60-80 games should properly be viewed as warning shots fired across his bow to get him to not appeal. Either way, he will be out $7.3 million of his $22 million salary for 2016. He will also pay $100,000 to domestic violence charities.

Here is Commissioner Manfred’s statement on the suspension:

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Jose Reyes committed an act of domestic violence on October 31, 2015.  The investigation was prolonged and complicated initially by the existence of a pending criminal proceeding against Mr. Reyes in Hawaii involving the same allegation, which has since been dismissed.  Mr. Reyes cooperated fully with my office’s investigation.  Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Reyes violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will expire on May 31st.  I am encouraged by Mr. Reyes’ commitment to the treatment provisions of the Policy in order to ensure that such an incident does not occur in the future.  Mr. Reyes also agreed to contribute a total of $100,000 to one or more charitable organizations focused on preventing and treating survivors of domestic violence.”

Jose Reyes has issued as statement as well:

I want to apologize for everything that has happened. I am sorry to the Rockies organization, my teammates, all the fans and most of all my family.

I am happy to put this all in the past and get back to doing what I love the most, playing baseball.

My wife Katherine has remained by my side throughout everything and for that I will be forever grateful.

I do not know what is appropriate here. Reyes’ case certainly involved active, physical violence as his wife was alleged to have marks on her neck, suggesting that she was choked, as well as bruises on her body, and one can make a very compelling argument that such an act should cause a player to be given a larger suspension than 51 games (i.e. 29 games less than a first time PED offense). At the same time, MLB’s domestic violence policy is in its infancy and there are not yet any strong or reliable means of judging the deterrent effect of such discipline. As is the case with most disciplinary regimes, it’s far easier to ratchet-up penalties at a later date than it is to ratchet them down. If this proves to be ineffective or insufficient, the league and union can always ratchet up.

Either way, one takeaway here should be that MLB is willing to follow through on its promise of taking each situation on a case-by-case basis and to act even when law enforcement is unwilling or unable to. And that’s not nothing.

Ross Ohlendorf, Bryan Price suspended for Ohlendorf throwing at David Freese

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 04: Ross Ohlendorf #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning of the game at Great American Ball Park on May 4, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Giants 7-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball just announced that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ross Ohlendorf has received a three-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch at David Freese of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Wednesday night’s game.

The game on Wednesday night was kind of a mess of plunkings and ejections. Ohlendorf’s plunking of Freese as the fourth time in the game a Pirates batter had been hit. Two Reds batters had been hit. Warnings had been issued previously. As C. Trent Rosecrans noted in his gamer in the Cincinnati Enquirer the other night, the Reds and Pirates are notorious for throwing at one another in recent years, with pitchers on each team hitting batters on the other 39 times over the past four seasons. Must be something in the air along the Ohio River.

In addition, Reds manager Bryan Price has received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for the intentional actions of Ohlendorf while warnings were in place, which is the price Price has to pay for it happening on his watch. He will sit out tonight, as managers don’t get to appeal. Ohlendorf is appealing his, so he’ll be available if necessary.