The Red Sox turned baseball’s fifth triple play of the season on Tuesday night against the Cardinals. The Cardinals threatened in the top of the fourth inning against Rick Porcello as Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler hit consecutive singles. The slow-footed Yadier Molina followed up, unfortunately for his team, with a ground ball right to Rafael Devers at the third base bag. He got the force out, whipped to Dustin Pedroia at second base, who fired to Mitch Moreland to complete the 5-4-3 triple play.
The last time the Red Sox turned a triple play was on August 16, 2011 against the Rays, also in the fourth inning. Erik Bedard had allowed consecutive singles to Melvin Upton and Casey Kotchman before Sean Rodriguez grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play — Jed Lowrie to Pedroia to Adrian Gonzalez. The Cardinals were last victims of a triple play on May 9, 2015 against the Pirates. In the top of the second inning, Vance Worley walked Jhonny Peralta and gave up a double to Jason Heyward. Molina then lined out to second baseman Neil Walker in what became a 4-5-4 triple play.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t appear to be cooling down anytime soon. The Home Run Derby participant has had an otherworldly second half thus far, entering Tuesday’s action with a .302 average and 17 home runs in 126 plate appearances since the All-Star break. He has homered in five consecutive games.
Make that six. The slugger mashed a 0-1 Madison Bumgarner cut fastball to deep left-center for a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning, tying the game at two apiece. It’s major league-leading homer No. 44 for Stanton on the season.
The record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, held by Don Mattingly, Dale Long, and Ken Griffey, Jr.
Stanton, by the way, is now on pace for over 60 home runs. Entering Tuesday, he was on pace for 60 if you round up from 59.53. No need for rounding now.
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler and manager Brad Ausmus were both ejected by umpire Angel Hernandez in the top of the fifth inning of Monday night’s game against the Rangers. Here’s what went down:
Kinsler, who wasn’t happy with Hernandez’s strike zone that evening, looked back at Hernandez after a pitch that was way out of the strike zone was called a ball. You can imagine the implication. Hernandez immediately ejected Kinsler. Ausmus was ejected just as quickly when he came out to defend his player.
Kinsler followed up with the media about the situation on Tuesday. Per MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Kinsler hasn’t heard anything from Major League Baseball about the incident. Kinsler then said, “It has to do with changing the game. He’s changing the game. He needs to find another job. He really does.” He added, “I’m just saying it’s pretty obvious that he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
He’s not wrong. Hernandez has been notorious over the years for having a short leash and ejecting players and managers certainly does influence the outcome of the game. It’s impossible to say that the Tigers would have won Monday’s game if Kinsler had taken three more at-bats instead of Dixon Machado, but the Tigers would certainly rather have him at the plate.
There is a power imbalance between umpires and players. It’s a tight rope to walk between anarchy and a dictatorship because players who fear no repercussions can step on umpires the same way umpires are stepping on them now. But a player giving an umpire a look, even having a few words with an umpire, over a strike zone judgment shouldn’t result in an ejection. Fans pay to see players like Kinsler play and umpires like Hernandez rob them of that opportunity. Perhaps we could have the rules outline specific behaviors that will result in an ejection, lessening the one-sided power that umpires currently hold. Hurting an umpire’s ego shouldn’t be grounds for an ejection.