Brad Mills went a bit nutso with his pen last night

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Look, the Astros won the game so it’s all good, but this was a little nuts:  Brad Mills used six pitchers against six consecutive batters across an inning and a third.

Bud Norris started the game and went six and two-thirds innings.  In the seventh, the last batter he faced was Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who singled in two runs. Time to go to the pen, right? Of course it was. But from the end of the seventh inning and on through the eighth, it went like this:

  • Wilton Lopez faced Ruben Tejada and no one else;
  • Wesley Wright faced Daniel Murphy and no one else;
  • Brandon Lyon faced David Wright and no one else;
  • Fernando Abad faced Ike Davis and no one else; and
  • Fernando Rodriguez faced Scott Hairston and no one else.

Only Davis reached. All of the other one-batter relievers retired their men.  And New York was kept scoreless for the entire inning and a third in which those six men pitched.

I bet that if even Tony La Russa was watching that game he’d say “damn.”

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.