Brush back Yoenis Cespedes and pay the price

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You’ll often hear pitchers and/or old-schoolers tout the importance of brushing back hitters with inside pitches to keep them off the plate.

Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton tried that last night against Yoenis Cespedes, going way up and way in on the Red Sox outfielder. And on the very next pitch, a 95-mph fastball, Cespedes launched a mammoth two-run homer to dead center field that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead (and victory).

Asked afterward about the brush-back attempt, Cespedes replied via an interpreter: “A lot of times pitchers think when you get a pitch thrown high and tight on you like that, you’ll back off and get a little flustered, but that’s not how I am.”

No, no it isn’t. Thankfully.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.