Bill Baer

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Detroit Tigers addresses the media before a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 9, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

1 Comment

Craig filled you in on Wednesday afternoon’s games, but we still have nine more games to go in the evening.

You’d think with all of the words written about the Tigers and Nationals for the first two games of their three-game set that there wouldn’t be anything left to say. The Nationals signed starter Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million extension. Bryce Harper dropped the f-bomb at an umpire after he was ejected and his team promptly walked off on a home run. Dusty Baker said he might have to spank Harper sometimes. Anthony Gose got away with this slide.

On Wednesday night, Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann will oppose Max Scherzer of the Nationals in a series finale. It’s Zimmermann’s first start against his former club, the club that picked him in the second round of the 2007 draft. The club with which he spent parts of seven seasons in the majors, accruing a 3.32 ERA, two All-Star nominations, and Cy Young votes in two seasons.

Zimmermann became a free agent after the 2015 season and opted to sign a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers. It’s worked out well for both sides thus far. Zimmermann, in six starts, is 5-1 with an MLB-best 1.10 ERA and a 25/8 K/BB ratio in 41 innings.

Daniel Murphy (62 PA), Ben Revere (12), Stephen Drew (six), and Jayson Werth (five) are the only current Nationals position players who have faced Zimmermann.

By the way, the hot-hitting Nick Castellanos — .378/.405/.640, seven homers, 28 RBI — is not in the Tigers’ starting lineup. Miguel Cabrera is moving to third base for this game, making his first start at the hot corner since 2014. Victor Martinez is at first base.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ New York Yankees (Michael Pineda), 7:05 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Eric Surkamp) @ Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello), 7:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Jerad Eickhoff) @ Atlanta Braves (Williams Perez), 7:10 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Juan Nicasio) @ Cincinnati Reds (Alfredo Simon), 7:10 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia) @ Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker), 10:05 PM EDT

New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenta Maeda), 10:10 PM EDT

Anthony Gose somehow got away with this slide

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 16: Anthony Gose #12 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on September 16, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
23 Comments

The slide rule has been implemented without much of a problem so far this year. Jose Bautista notably made a slide violation in the season’s opening days, but otherwise, players have quickly learned what constitutes a good slide and what doesn’t.

Anthony Gose, however, made what appeared to be a clear violation of the slide rule in the top of the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Nationals. The bases were loaded and Joe Ross induced what appeared to be an inning ending double play from Austin Romine. Second baseman Daniel Murphy threw to shortstop Danny Espinosa for the first out. Gose slid into Espinosa in an attempt to break up the attempt, and Espinosa’s throw to first base was late. Gose, however, never touched second base or even attempted to grab it with an outstretched arm.

The slide was reviewed and the umpires felt Gose made a “bona fide slide”.

Rule 6.10(j), per MLB.com:

[…] a runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

Both Gose and Romine should have been out, ending the inning without any additional scoring. The Tigers ended up getting a run on the play, and Miguel Cabrera followed up with an RBI single. The Nationals lost 5-4.

Video: Ender Inciarte dekes Carlos Ruiz to complete a double play

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 10:  Ender Inciarte #11 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after scoring on a double play ball hit by Tyler Flowers #25 in the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on May 10, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
6 Comments

Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte was playing only his third game since returning from the disabled list, but he has already made an impact. With Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz on first base, Freddy Galvis sent a fly ball to Inciarte in right field. Inciarte acted like he was having trouble picking up the ball in the Atlanta sky — a common problem at Turner Field — then quickly collected himself, caught the ball, and fired to first base to double off Ruiz.

Here’s the link to the video on MLB.com. There’s no embed code available yet.

Despite Inciarte’s defensive wizardry, the Braves still lost 3-2 to the Phillies on Tuesday night. The Braves have now lost five games in a row and sit with a 7-24 record.

Stephen Strasburg’s extension could lead to an active trade market

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park on May 9, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
10 Comments

Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Nationals which was made official on Tuesday morning. Strasburg would have been the headliner in a weak free agent class. Now, Clay Buchholz may very well be the top arm available in free agency after the season, which is saying something.

Will this lead to a more active trade market this season? Jon Morosi seems to think so as he explains in a column for MLB.com. Athletics starter Sonny Gray would likely be the most sought-after prize despite his lackluster start to the season. Jose Fernandez and Danny Salazar could also be moved if their respective teams end up falling out of contention by the August 1 trade deadline. The Braves could move Julio Teheran to facilitate their rebuilding process.

In the lower tier of pitching, Morosi suggests Andrew Cashner, Jeremy Hellickson, and Doug Fister could change addresses.

The baseball landscape has evolved, as teams are locking up their young players rather than letting them hit free agency. We’re used to seeing at least a handful of superstars, but the 2017 free agent class could be the most underwhelming ever.

Video: Hanley Ramirez crushes a 468-foot home run at Fenway Park

BOSTON, MA - MAY 01:  Hanley Ramirez  #13 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after Travis SHaw #47 of the Boston Red Sox hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning during the game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on May 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
4 Comments

Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez hit the second-longest home run of the 2016 season on Tuesday night facing Athletics starter Sean Manaea. Manaea surrendered a leadoff home run to Mookie Betts. Ramirez came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out when he absolutely demolished a first-pitch fastball from Manaea.

If you’re into exit velocity, Ramirez’s rocket came off the bat at 114 MPH. Giancarlo Stanton-esque.

After the dinger, his fourth of the season, Ramriez owns a .292/.336/.450 triple-slash line with 19 RBI. Compared to last season