Just week since he helped the Pirates avoid getting perfect-gamed by Max Scherzer and the Nationals, outfielder Jose Tabata has been designated for assignment, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. It sounds like pitcher Chris Volstad is on his way out as well, while Steve Lombardozzi and Gorkys Hernandez are coming up from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Tabata, 26, hit .289/.341/.289 with four RBI in 41 plate appearances for the Pirates this season. Once a top prospect in the Yankees’ system, Tabata has yet to match expectations. He joined the Pirates in July 2008 along with Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, and Daniel McCutchen when the Pirates sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Bronx in a trade.
Though Tabata has utility and is only 26, he’s unlikely to be claimed on waivers as he’s owed the remainder of his $4.167 million salary plus $4.5 million next season and a $250,000 buyout for any of the 2017-19 seasons.
Johnny Vander Meer is the only pitcher in baseball history to throw back-to-back no-hitters, doing so on June 11 and 15 during the 1938 season for the Cincinnati Reds. Long have we thought someone would eventually join Vander Meer, only to be disappointed each and every time.
Max Scherzer no-hit the Pirates on Saturday, a comparatively disappointing result as he was one strike away from a perfect game before he hit Jose Tabata with an errant slider. If ever someone was going to pull a Vander Meer, it’s Scherzer, considering his upcoming match-up. He’s on schedule to open a series in Philadelphia against the lowly Phillies on Friday.
The Phillies entered play Sunday averaging 2.5 runs per game over their last 25 games and rank last or close to last in the league in a slew of offensive categories. Last in batting average (.236), last in on-base percentage (.287), last in slugging percentage (.348), last in home runs (41), third-worst in walks (157). They did manage to score nine runs to beat the Cardinals on Sunday, but it marked only the fourth time all year that they had scored more than six runs. The Phillies are still the worst-hitting team in the league and are among the worst teams of this millennium:
Regardless of how bad the Phillies are, the odds are still overwhelmingly in favor of Scherzer not throwing a no-hitter his next time out. According to the math, he has over a 99 percent chance to give up at least one hit. But this is the best confluence of variables that Scherzer — and we, fans of baseball rarities — could ask for. His next start on Friday in Philly will be must-see TV.
On Saturday, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata controversially broke up Max Scherzer’s perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning when he was hit by a two-strike slider. Some argued that Tabata intentionally leaned into the pitch. Others argued he should have at least made more of an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. Members of both groups suggested the Nationals should throw at Tabata in his first at-bat on Sunday.
Tabata took his place in the batter’s box in the second inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Washington, D.C. against Gio Gonzalez, treated to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Gonzalez’s first pitch to Tabata was a 91 MPH fastball over the middle of the plate.
Gonzalez would have been in the wrong for throwing at Tabata. For one, that would simply make him a bad human being, as a batter’s career can end in an instant if he’s hit by a pitch in the wrong area. Moreover, Tabata did nothing wrong in getting hit on Saturday when he faced Scherzer. The logic that getting hit by a pitch to break up Scherzer’s perfect game is “bush league” — as many argued yesterday — is as silly as thinking that Yankees reliever Jose De Paula was bush league for not throwing a meatball to J.D. Martinez this afternoon when he came to the plate in the seventh inning with an opportunity to have a four-homer game. He flew out to right field instead. Should the Tigers have thrown at one of the Yankees? Or maybe Bryan Holaday — who hit directly behind Martinez — should have kicked a clump of dirt around home plate into Yankees catcher Brian McCann’s face?
Unwritten rules are dumb, you guys.