A manager saving his closer in a tie game on the road backfires again

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Shocking, I know.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided against using closer Jason Grilli, one of the best relievers in baseball, as his team battled the Cubs in an 11-inning affair this afternoon. Trailing 3-2 in the ninth, Pirates outfielder Starling Marte tied the game with a solo home run. Hurdle went to Vin Mazzaro in the bottom of the ninth and Bryan Morris in the bottom of the tenth, both recording scoreless innings.

Hurdle could have called on Grilli, but decided to use Morris for a second inning in the eleventh. Morris entered the afternoon with more than half the strikeout rate (17% to 40.5%) and more than double the walk rate (11.5% to 5%). Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano both singled to start the inning, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Catcher Russell Martin made a throwing error throwing behind Rizzo at second base, as Luis Valbuena was attempting to sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. Valbuena was intentionally walked to set up a force out at each base. Dioner Navarro mercifully ended the game quickly, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Cubs the 4-3 win.

Hurdle is just the latest in a long line of managers who have opted to let their best reliever rot in the bullpen in the hope their team takes a lead rather than actively using him to maintain a tie game. Today, though… today is his.

David Price has opted out of the 2020 season

David Price opts out of season
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David Price has opted out of the 2020 season. he’s the biggest star to do so to date. He said the that he will not play the 2020 season, citing health concerns because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Price joins Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross of the Washington Nationals, Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies, Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and free agent Tyson Ross on the list of players who have chosen not to take part in the season.

Price, who was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers in a five-player deal in February, previously agreed to pay more than 200 Dodgers minor leaguers $1,000 each to make up for lost wages. He was poised to enter the fifth season of a seven-year, $217 million contract he signed with the Red Sox in December of 2015. Per the terms of the agreement between the MLBPA and MLB, Price will not be paid for the 2020 season.