Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz in the same game? Dodgers deserved to lose

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Russ Ortiz took the loss in last night’s marathon Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, but a terrible play from Matt Kemp in center field was actually to blame. With that said, at this point any major-league team using Russ Ortiz in a game that counts in the standings probably deserves to lose.
Ortiz went 103-60 with a 4.00 ERA in 1,341 innings through age 30, including 21 wins and a fourth-place Cy Young finish for the Braves in 2003. However, since then he’s gone 10-29 with a 6.59 ERA and putrid 185/177 K/BB ratio in 317 innings while pitching for five different teams, posting yearly ERAs of 6.89, 8.14, 5.51, 5.57, and now 8.31.
So if the Dodgers are in the 11th inning of a 7-7 game and want to use a 36-year-old pitcher who hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 since 2004 … well, they deserve what they got. Heck, before turning to Russ Ortiz in extra innings they used Ramon Ortiz to get two outs in the seventh inning. He’ll be 37 years old next month, has allowed five runs in 4.1 innings so far this season, and hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 since 2004.
I’ll never understand why teams keep giving chances to washed-up (and then some) veterans like Russ and Ramon Ortiz (or Sidney Ponson for another prime example) when they’d probably be better off just randomly picking a different pitcher off a Triple-A roster. You’re telling me there aren’t a couple 20-somethings in the Dodgers’ farm system who could do a better job than the geriatric Ortiz boys?

Phillies-Mets could get contentious tonight

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As the Mets were wrapping up a 9-0 shellacking of the Phillies on Tuesday night, reliever Jacob Rhame threw a pitch up and in to first baseman Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning. The pitch sailed behind Hoskins’ back. The slugger wasn’t happy about the scare, understandably. Players began to trickle out of their respective dugouts, but a fracas was avoided.

Hoskins was skeptical that Rhame simply missed his spot. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, Hoskins said, “He didn’t miss up and in the rest of the inning, so I’ll let you decide. I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.”

Teammate Bryce Harper said, “I don’t get it. I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the [butt]. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”

Indeed, two Mets were hit by pitches on Monday night. José Álvarez hit Jeff McNeil in the seventh inning, which advanced a base runner. In the very next at-bat, Juan Nicasio hit Pete Alonso with a first-pitch fastball. It was obvious neither was intentional as the Phillies were only down two runs and hitting both batters advanced base runners and led to runs scoring. It is less obvious that Rhame’s pitch to Hoskins was unintentional, but he showed empathy in his post-game comments. Rhame said, “When you accidentally sail one, it’s probably pretty scary. I’d get [angry], too.”

Will Wednesday night’s series finale be contentious? Despite being “fairly upset,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “We do not retaliate, and we do not throw at anybody intentionally,” Jake Seiner of the Associated Press reports.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway didn’t give as straight an answer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Callaway said, “I think at this point, you just go out there and beat people, and win. … For now, I don’t feel like anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.” If that changes, however, Callaway said, “They’re going to have each other’s backs.”

Hopefully, neither side decides to take justice into their own hands. But, welcome to the NL East in 2019. The Mets lead the Phillies by one game, and the Braves and Nationals by 1.5 games. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out division fight all year long.