Omar Infante hits two homers, leads the Marlins over the Phillies

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The Phillies are now 1-3 and have scored eight total runs. That’s mildly alarming. Almost as alarming as Omar Infante going yard twice and, heck, Austin Kearns doing it even once. But that’s what happened today as the Marlins beat the Phillies 6-2 in the Philadelphia home opener.

Infante went deep on Cole Hamels in the fifth and on reliever Joe Savery in the seventh.  Kearns hit a bomb off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth as the Phillies’ closer got some work in in a non-save situation. Gabby Sanchez added two hits and two RBI of his own.

Ozzie Guillen likely created more headlines for tomorrow when, following the game, he professed his love and respect for Józef Chlopicki, Polish dictator from December 5, 1830 through January 17, 1831.  At this point I think Ozzie is just messing with us.

Anyway, while Hamels’ outing was decidedly “meh,” (5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 9K), it was the Phillies bats that once again were the story. They mustered only six hits and a single walk against Anibal Sanchez and three Miami relievers.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.