UPDATE: Now Rosenthal reports that Loria denies ordering the switch. This is the most interesting thing the Marlins have done all season so far.
11:32 AM: We wrote the other day about how the Marlins flip-flopped Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco in the doubleheader against the Twins earlier this week. Today Jeff Passan reports that it wasn’t an organizational decision as such. It was a Jeff Loria decision. He personally demanded that the pitchers switch games, which went against the set rotation, violated baseball protocol in such situations and angered Nolasco and some others on the team.
But here’s the best part: Loria’s reasoning for the switch — to keep Fernandez out of the colder temperatures in the night game — actually backfired:
Loria insisted Fernandez, the team’s prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. The temperature at Fernandez’s first pitch (38 degrees) was actually colder than at the beginning of Nolasco’s start (42 degrees).
Jeff Loria: Tries to do the wrong thing, screws up, still does the wrong thing.
Astros’ star second baseman José Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports. Neither the specifics of the surgery nor a concrete timetable for the infielder’s recovery have been officially confirmed by the club yet.
Altuve, 28, suffered the injury in July after he jammed his knee on a close play at third base. Even after he completed an initial 3.5-week stint on the 10-day disabled list, chronic knee pain continued to dog him in the months that followed. As manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Thursday, he would have held the second baseman out of the lineup under any other circumstances, but instead chose to commend Altuve for showing up and pushing through the pain as the Astros tried for a repeat championship title this postseason.
Per McTaggart, the Astros expect Altuve to make a full recovery by spring. The perennial All-Star infielder finished his 2018 run with a .316/.386/.451 batting line, 13 home runs, and an .837 OPS through 599 plate appearances. He fared slightly worse during Houston’s ALDS and ALCS campaigns, slashing .265/.324/.412 with three extra-base hits over 37 PA. The Astros were eliminated by the Red Sox during Thursday’s 4-1 loss in ALCS Game 5.