Edinson Volquez was knocked around by the Indians yesterday, allowing seven runs while failing to make it out the third inning as his ERA rose to 6.35.
He’s struggled all season with 38 walks and nine homers allowed in 51 innings, but what made yesterday’s ugly outing different than his previous ugly outings is that afterward Volquez took the opportunity to criticize the Reds’ lineup. Seriously.
When speaking to reporters following the game, Volquez said:
I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs. The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.
Thanks largely to Volquez the Reds allowed 12 runs yesterday and the lineup did well enough scoring four times, which makes it an awfully strange moment to talk about how “everybody has to step up and start getting some runs.”
Last season the Reds led the NL in runs and this season they rank second. The big change has been the pitching staff going from seventh to 14th in ERA and Volquez has led the way with his ERA rising from 4.31 to 6.35. So yes, maybe the Reds’ offense hasn’t been particularly productive for the past week, but Cincinnati has still scored the second-most runs in the league this season and Volquez has still been one of the worst performers on one of the league’s worst pitching staffs.
And just so no one thinks Volquez’s quote was taken out of context, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com notes that the above statement came in response to a question about his lack of command yesterday. Clearly the guy just had something to get off his chest. Shame it doesn’t make any sense.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.