Josh Hamilton had a nightmare game last night

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It’s hard to grasp how truly awful Josh Hamilton was on Tuesday night. He came to the plate five times. Here’s what happened:

  • First Inning: No score, Mike Trout on first, nobody out, Hamilton grounds into a double play;
  • Third Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Mike Trout on first, nobody out, Hamilton grounds into a double play;
  • Fifth Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Peter Bourjos on second, Mike Trout on first, one out, Hamilton grounds into a double play;
  • Seventh Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Chirs Ianetta on second, two outs, Hamilton strikes out;
  • Ninth Inning: Score tied 2-2, Erik Aybar on second, Chris Ianetta on first, two out, Hamilton strikes out.

Those were a lot of chances to tie the game, give the Angels the lead or, at the very least, keep an inning going and let someone else help out. Instead he left seven men on base, Anaheim lost in extra innings and Hamilton experienced perhaps his worst night in an Angels uniform.

For those of you who want a statistical measure of this badness, note that Hamilton’s Win Probability Added (WPA), which measures how much a player contributed to his team’s win or loss on a given day, was -.477. That means he, all by his lonesome, reduced the Angels’ chances of winning last night’s game by 47.7%.

On the bright side: only four more years to go on that contract after this one.

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.