Jarrod Saltalamacchia taps the yips away. Big deal: Russell Martin will make you tap out, brother! (er, sorry. I have no idea what I’m talking about):
It wasn’t as if Russell Martin was preparing to grapple with Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell or his favorite Mixed Martial Arts star, fellow Montreal native Georges St. Pierre. Martin just wanted to train like them.
So the new Yankee catcher spent part of the offseason doing MMA-style workouts.
“I wasn’t getting in the ring and fighting guys,” Martin said, smiling. “It was how they condition, how they prepare. Just a lot of power endurance stuff, high-intensity work with short recovery times. It builds your cardio and you get in better shape.”
And of course he’s in better shape. He’s apparently lost 15 pounds, which is what all the cool kids except Joba Chamberlain are doing these days. Probably needs to do everything he can, actually, because Jesus Montero is not content to start the season in Scranton.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.