Great Moments in Strategy: Jim Tracy

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Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy is sneaky:

Fifth starter Jason Hammel will pitch in
the team’s Cactus League opener Thursday, facing the Diamondbacks.
Opening-day starter Ubaldo Jimenez will make his first start Friday
against the Angels rather than pitch against the Giants that same day.

“That is by design,” Tracy said, not wanting to give San Francisco any unnecessary looks at his ace.

Given that (a) in his career, Ubaldo Jimenez has pitched more innings against the Giants than any other team; and (b) the Giants probably spring for the Extra Innings package, I’m guessing they’ll survive without seeing him pitch some meaningless early March game in Tucson.

Video: White Sox turn triple play against Astros

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White Sox starter Iván Nova was able to escape a jam in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Astros with the help of a triple play. Nova had allowed a leadoff double to Tony Kemp, then hit Robinson Chirinos with a pitch to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Facing Jake Marisnick in a 1-1 count, Nova threw a 94 MPH fastball that Marisnick sharply grounded to Yoán Moncada right at the third base bag. Moncada quickly fired the ball to Yolmer Sánchez at second base, then Sánchez whipped the ball to José Abreu at first base just ahead of a lunging Marisnick to complete the triple-killing.

According to Baseball Almanac, it’s the 718th known triple play dating back to 1876. The last time the White Sox turned a triple play was 2016. They turned three triple plays that season, amusingly. The Astros have been victimized by two of the last three triple plays, having also hit into one on April 19 last year against the Mariners.