Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates’ left-hander Jonathan Sanchez has been suspended six games and fined an undisclosed amount for throwing at Cardinals’ first baseman Allen Craig last night.
Sanchez has already appealed the suspension and is eligible to pitch tonight, though keeping him away from a mound may be the best strategy for the Pirates if they want to win baseball games.
Sanchez failed to retire a batter in his start last night. He served up back-to-back homers to Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran and a single to Matt Holliday before he threw near the head of Craig and was ejected by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle came out to argue the decision and was also given the heave-ho. You can watch video of the incident here.
Sanchez has allowed 16 runs on 21 hits and five walks over just 11 1/3 innings of work this season. The 30-year-old has an eye-popping 8.76 ERA in 19 starts dating back to the start of last season.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.