Kind of hard to fault Max Scherzer here. He pitched into the ninth inning having given up only one run, having struck out nine, and having retired ten in a row coming into the final frame. Unfortunately his teammates could do no better against Manny Banuelos — who left early with cramping and dehydration — and four Braves relievers. That had it tied in the ninth.
Scherzer was not hit hard at all in the ninth, but the Braves placed those hits just so. First Pedro Ciriaco reached on infield single to short, just beating out the throw. After he was sacrificed over to second, Cameron Maybin came to the plate and chopped one over third base. It landed in foul territory, but the umps say it passed over the bag in fair territory, and that’s what matters. Watch:
Scherzer, whose ERA went up a couple of ticks despite only giving up two runs, pretty much captures what this one was all about: being BABIP’d to death:
“The way you lose like that — an infield single with Ciriaco being able to beat it out and then a ball that chops right over the third base — what are you going to get mad about?” Scherzer said. “I thought I executed my pitches in those situations. They just got hit. Baseball’s a funny game sometimes.”
Today is July 1. That’s Canada Day, so happy Canada Day! I hope, like me, you’ll be blasting Rush and eating Timbits all day long!
It’s also the day that the Mets have to pay Bobby Bonilla $1.2 million, as they have since 2011 and will have to until 2036. People will laugh at that last one like crazy. It’s become an annual “LOL Mets!” joke. But it’s about the hackiest and easiest “LOL Mets!” joke around. And as many have noted, it’s not even in the top 10 of things to laugh at the Mets over. The quick version:
- Essentially this is deferred compensation. While it wasn’t super common for teams to do it back when Bonilla agreed to that deal, it is far more common now. Let’s see what Max Scherzer’s payouts look like when he’s still accepting huge checks from the Nats seven years after he retired
- One thing that makes Bonilla’s deal stick out is the interest he’s getting: 8%. That’s high, but as The Bad Economist pointed out a few years back, the prime rate when he signed the deal was 8.5%. The Mets probably should’ve made his interest a floating figure rather than fixing it at 8% — Bonilla is getting a windfall as a result — but that’s down to the Mets’ owners’ well-documented bad financial instincts and their misguided belief that they’d make 15% on any investments in perpetuity, not the silliness of the structure.
- The Mets got use of the $5.9 million Bonilla deferred for years. And hey, for a lot of that time they probably DID get 15% on it because they were early investors in a ponzi scheme! But even if they put that in a non-criminal investment, they made money on it. They got something for that money. Even conservatively invested, a good half of the $30 million or so Bonilla is getting after interest will have been paid for.
- And they got more than just the investment. As Dan Lewis pointed out five years ago, the $5.9 that was freed up for 2000 was used to bite off a huge chunk of the salaries owed to Mike Hampton and Derek Bell, for whom they traded and who helped them reach the World Series. When Hampton walked to take advantage of the good schools in the Denver area, they used the compensation pick to draft a kid named David Wright. None of that happens without deferring Bonilla’s salary given their payroll crunch at the time.
So mock the Mets all you want. Mock them for trading for Bonilla in the first place (though they only gave up Mel Rojas for him, and he was clinically dead by then). Mock them for their choice of interest rate. But don’t mock them for deferring Bonilla’s salary, because it was a good move for them at the time that allowed them to make moves they wouldn’t have otherwise made, including a move that helped them win a pennant.
Besides, there are things far more recent to mock them for anyway. And why not dwell on those?
From beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution comes word that left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos is lined up to make his major league debut this Thursday night against the Nationals and ace right-hander Max Scherzer.
Banuelos sat 13th on MLB.com’s ranking of the top 100 prospects back in 2012 when he was with the Yankees, but elbow problems — Tommy John surgery, specifically — sidetracked his rise.
The 24-year-old was traded to Atlanta this past winter for relievers David Carpenter and Chase Shreve.
Banuelos has rebuilt some of his early-career hype this summer with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett, Georgia, posting 2.29 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 82 2/3 innings (15 starts).
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.
Max Scherzer was already reeling after surrendering a hit to the Phillies in the sixth inning of Friday night’s start at Citizens Bank Park, ending his bid for a perfect game, which would have doubled as the back end of back-to-back no-hitters. That would have paired him with Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers to have tossed back-to-back no-hitters.
Then Scherzer relented a run in the seventh on a Domonic Brown RBI double to left-center, which ended the Nationals’ streak of 48 consecutive scoreless innings pitched by the starting rotation.
Ahead 5-1, manager Matt Williams opted to have Scherzer start the eighth inning, which was a bit questionable considering the right-hander’s recent workload, his pitch count nearing 100, and the fact that the Nationals were comfortably ahead. Freddy Galvis helped Scherzer out, though, popping up a bunt attempt on the first pitch to bring up Ben Revere.
Revere, if you aren’t aware, is not exactly known for his power. He memorably had baseball’s longest active home run drought, at 1,466 at-bats, before ending it in late May last year. He homered again in September for good measure. Revere hadn’t homered since then. Scherzer hadn’t allowed a home run since Stephen Drew took him yard on June 9. Revere had 304 homerless plate appearances on the year coming into Friday’s action; Scherzer had thrown 1,449 pitches and yielded only six home runs (0.41%). And yet, as baseball is wont to do, the statistically improbable happened: