Bill Baer

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13:  Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets pitches in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 13, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Video: Noah Syndergaard shows off his acting skills

1 Comment

Looking to show off his acting chops in case he needs to call it quits in baseball a little early, Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard made a highlight reel. They feature his performance of lines from popular films such as Major League, Old School, Good Will Hunting, Tommy Boy, and The Big Lebowski.

My favorite: Quoting the “There’s no crying in baseball” scene from A League of Their Own, Syndergaard directs his commentary towards a picture of Wilmer Flores. Flores, you may recall, cried upon learning he was going to be traded for Carlos Gomez. That trade never happened.

Trevor Bauer and Jason Kipnis aren’t too happy with an Indians beat reporter

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 30: Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 30, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
27 Comments

On Saturday, Paul Hoynes — who covers the Indians for Cleveland.com — wrote a column that basically called the Indians dead in the water despite owning what is now a seven-game lead atop the AL Central. The club is now considering using a three-man rotation in the postseason, a plan that Hoynes doesn’t back.

Hoynes wrote:

Write it down. On Sept. 17, the Indians were eliminated from serious postseason advancement before they even got there.

They have 14 regular season games left and they’ll eventually clinch their first AL Central title in nine years. But that’s where it ends, because no team can withstand the losses the Indians have suffered over the last nine days.

On the injured Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, Hoynes said, “The Indians have no one of equal caliber to replace them.”

Hoynes’ column didn’t sit well with some of the Indians’ players. Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday:

Bauer joined him, tweeting:

Hoynes responded to the criticism:

The Indians’ players are allowed to feel ticked off by Hoynes’ pronunciation that the team can’t survive in the postseason without Carrasco and Salazar. In fact, it might be helpful for them to use the criticism as motivation to finish the regular season on a strong note and bring that momentum into the playoffs. When all is said and done, that column Hoynes wrote could have been the catalyst for an Indians championship. Who knows?

That being said, Kipnis and Bauer — especially Bauer — went over the line in telling Hoynes he’s “not welcome” in the clubhouse to do his job. If, to earn the trust and respect of ballplayers, reporters could only write positive columns, then the entire industry would be a sham.

A healthy journalism industry is one where writers aren’t essentially blackmailed into positive coverage. In other words, “Write glowingly about us, otherwise we will shun you publicly and make it difficult or impossible for you to properly do your job.” A lot of tech journalism, for example, is terrible because writers are too close to key figures in the industry and are afraid to tell the truth lest their contacts and perks be cut off.

Hoynes should be applauded for doing what seems to be an increasing number of beat reporters won’t do, which is to be critical of the team he covers. His obligation, first and foremost, is to present information and viewpoints worthy of consideration by his readers. Hoynes certainly fulfilled his obligation with Saturday’s column.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 14, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
1 Comment

Baseball fans are in for a real treat on Monday night. In a battle of aces, the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner takes on the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in a 10:10 PM EDT start at Dodger Stadium.

Yup, Kershaw is back after spending nearly two and a half months on the disabled list with a lower back injury. He’s made two starts since coming off of the DL, but has logged eight innings in total. They’ve been quality innings, as he’s yielded two runs on six hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Unsurprisingly, Kershaw will be on a pitch count of 90 to 100. Prior to the injury, Kershaw seemed like a lock for the National League Cy Young Award, carrying a 1.79 ERA with a 145/9 K/BB ratio in 121 innings following his June 26 start against the Pirates.

Bumgarner was also in the Cy Young conversation, but Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks has really pulled away from the pack and is currently the favorite. Bumgarner owns a 14-9 record with a 2.66 ERA and a 231/52 K/BB ratio in 206 1/3 innings. The ERA is fourth among qualified starters, trailing Hendricks, Jon Lester, and Noah Syndergaard.

Monday night will be the 10th time Kerhsaw and Bumgarner have matched up against each other. The Giants have won five of the nine past matchups.

Something to watch out for: Bumgarner has 14 career home runs. Two of them have come against Kershaw.

The rest of Monday’s action…

Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 7:05 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair) @ New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard), 7:10 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (A.J. Cole) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Tim Adleman) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Jhoulys Chacin) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ Colorado Rockies (Tyler Anderson), 8:40 PM EDT

Houston Astros (Brad Peacock) @ Oakland Athletics (Jharel Cotton), 10:05 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Braden Shipley) @ San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard), 10:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 10:10 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada) @ Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker), 10:10 PM EDT