When a pitcher “wears one,” it means he takes one for the team in a blowout, helping preserve the other arms in the bullpen to fight and pitch another day. Vin Mazzaro did that last night in the Royals’ 19-1 loss to the Indians, and he did so in epic fashion. According to Joe Posnanski, this was the single worst performance by a pitcher. Ever. In baseball history. As Posnanski notes, no reliever since World War II had allowed 14 runs in a game and no pitcher has ever allowed 14 runs in less than three innings.
Mazzaro was sent down to Omaha after the game. And in this case, he’s probably happy for the demotion. Not out of shame, but for his own good and the good of Ned Yost who, for reasons that baffle me, let Mazarro take that abuse. Especially considering that the very purpose such abuse is supposed to serve — saving the pen — didn’t even happen. Nope, Yost still used Tim Collins, Joakim Soria and three other relievers in this one, which makes no sense to me at all. Don’t you put your utility infielder in to pitch a couple of innings at some point?
Mazzaro said all of the right things after the game, but man, at some point you’d hope your manager would save you from all of that.
It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.
If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.
Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.
Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.