Micah Owings pitched well enough for the Diamondbacks last season that most people stopped saying he should give up pitching and become a full-time hitter, but the 29-year-old right-hander has still had to settle for a minor-league deal from the Padres.
Owings was an excellent hitter in college and has batted .286 with an .820 OPS in 217 plate appearances as a big leaguer, but came to the plate just 19 times for Arizona last year while throwing 63 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 44/23 K/BB ratio.
He’s a fairly marginal pitcher, posting a 4.91 ERA in 473 innings, so it would seemingly make sense for an NL team like the Padres to use him more in a Brooks Kieschnick-style dual role. So far no team has done that, though, and he’s expected to compete for a traditional bullpen job in spring training.
The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.
With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.
Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.
It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.