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Joe Maddon criticizes Cardinals’ book of unwritten rules

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Things got testy in Friday afternoon’s game between the Cardinals and Cubs. Cubs starter Dan Haren hit Matt Holliday in the head with a fastball, forcing the outfielder from the game in the fifth inning. Both benches were promptly warned by home plate umpire Dan Bellino. Nevertheless, Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle attempted to exact revenge in the seventh, throwing a fastball at first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Belisle was tossed from the game.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wasn’t happy about the Cardinals’ attempt to get revenge. He defended Haren, saying his pitch to Holliday was “an absolute mistake” and that there was “no malicious intent whatsoever”.

Following that, he criticized the book of unwritten rules that the Cardinals purport to follow. Maddon said, “I never read that particular book that the Cardinals wrote way back in the day. I was a big Branch Rickey fan, but I never read that this book that the Cardinals had written regarding how to play baseball.”

Maddon was saying that in reference to the Cardinals playing their first baseman behind Chris Denorfia, who had walked and was on first base with one out in the bottom of the eighth with the Cubs leading by five runs. He threatened that, in the future, he would have his runner steal second base. According to the book of unwritten rules, teams shouldn’t take advantage of that situation given their lead. But, as Maddon explained, playing for an extra run would help them in the next inning as it would prevent them from having to warm up closer Hector Rondon.

Maddon also said about the Cubs, “We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.” Here’s video from the Chicago Daily Herald:

It didn’t seem like it took long for the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry to heat up again. Following Friday’s win, the Cubs are 86-61, six games behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central. The Cubs trail the Pirates by 1.5 games for the first NL Wild Card slot.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.