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Boston fans make racist remarks, throw peanuts at Orioles’ Adam Jones

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The Red Sox and Orioles have a bit of a rivalry brewing, especially after last week’s incident in which reliever Matt Barnes threw a fastball at Manny Machado‘s head. Barnes was immediately ejected from that game and later handed a four-game suspension for his actions. The Red Sox weren’t happy with Machado, who had slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base two games prior and injured him.

At the very least, last week’s series got the blood flowing and pumped interest into Monday’s series opener. The game itself was fine — the Orioles won 5-2. Machado homered and made a few nifty defensive plays.

Unfortunately, it’s some racist fans in Boston who are stealing the spotlight. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that some fans at Fenway Park directed racist remarks towards Jones and one even threw a bag of peanuts at him. Jones said, “A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me. I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”

Jones continued, saying, “It’s different. Very unfortunate. I heard there was 59 or 60 ejections tonight in the ballpark. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball. It’s unfortunate that people need to [resort] to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m trying to make a living for myself and for my family.”

Regarding the fan who threw peanuts at him, Jones said, “It’s pathetic. It’s called a coward. What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check. That’s how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It’s a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he’s done. At the end of the day, when you throw an object onto the field of play, the player has no idea what it is. What if something hit me right in the eye and I can’t play baseball anymore. Then what? I just wear it? No. Things like that need to be handled a little more properly, in my opinion.”

Though the fans, of course, were acting on their own volition, the Red Sox will likely make a formal apology to Jones and the Orioles on Tuesday. Jones said that Monday wasn’t the first time he’d been the subject of racist remarks at Fenway Park, but he did say that it was one of the worst experiences he’s had during his 12 years in the majors.

Related: A Giants fan threw a banana at Jones in 2013, and Red Sox starter David Price said back in January that he heard racist taunts from Boston fans as well.

World Series Preview: We have come to the proverbial “pivotal Game 2”

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Some fun facts in the wake of the Nationals stealing one on the road from Gerrit Cole and the Astros last night:

  • Before last night the Astros hadn’t lost a Cole start since July 12 and hadn’t lost a Cole start at home since May 22;
  • Juan Soto became only the fourth player to homer in the World Series before turning 21. The others who have done it: Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones and Mickey Mantle. Cabrera’s 2003 Marlins and Mantle’s 1952 Yankees won. Jones’ 1996 Braves lost;
  • 18 of the last 22 teams to win Game 1 of the World Series have gone on to win it all.

Those first two are just neat trivia. The last one is a bit more foreboding for the Astros. The last two, I guess, can go together in that the World Series in which Andruw Jones homered at age 20 was also a World Series in which the team which won Game 1 — and Game 2 for that matter — lost, with the 1996 Braves falling to the Yankees. Encouraging on some level? I dunno. What do you do when your invincible hero gets beat up by a kid? You reach a bit, I suppose.

You also turn to the next hero and hope for better things:

The GameWorld Series Game 2: Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros
The Time: 8:08 PM Eastern
The Ballpark: Minute Maid Park, Houston Texas
The Network: Fox
The Starters: Stephen Strasburg vs. Justin Verlander

The Upshot:

Another night, another fantastic starting pitching matchup, with two Cy Young Award candidates — really, if either of them finish lower than second in the voting in their respective leagues it’ll be an upset — facing off.

There is obviously pressure on Justin Verlander here, as it’ll be a Very Bad Thing if the Astros fall down 0-2, at home no less, in this series.

But there is also pressure on Stephen Strasburg. Not just in a “every game in the World Series is laden with pressure” way, but in a “the Nationals really, really need him to go deep into this game” way.

Washington won last night, but they did so in a way that reveals one of their weaknesses. Max Scherzer got the win but he labored, only going five innings on over 100 pitches. Because Dave Martinez really only has two relievers he can trust in Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle, he made the bold move to use presumptive Game 3 starter Patrick Corbin for an inning of relief. It worked and, since he only threw 21 pitches the Nats can probably call it a defacto bullpen side session between starts and can count on him in Game 3. But Martinez, not wanting to stretch Corbin, also had to use Tanner Rainey — who gave up a run — as a bridge to Hudson — who gave up a run — and Doolittle. The two big guns each had to go longer than an inning.

Which is to say that the Nats would really prefer not to have to rely too much on their bullpen this evening. Or, if they do have to do that, they’d really prefer it not to be a close game, so they can maybe get some of their lower leverage arms some work to save the higher leverage arms for later. There are only so many starting pitchers you can press into service when you’re playing a best-of-seven series over nine days.

The one they have going tonight, though, is a good one who is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in the 2019 postseason. He has also given the Nats nineteen innings in his three starts, so there’s reason to believe he can do exactly what is needed to be done here. It’s just a matter of executing.

As for Houston: if Stephen Strasburg shuts them down and Justin Verlander can’t get the job done, hoo boy, they’re in some serious trouble. They will have fired their two best bullets to no effect and will have to go on the road with their third starter, albeit a better-than-usual third starter, and Brad Peacock/bullpen arms in the first two games in hostile territory. Not what you want.

But, as is the case with Washington and Strasburg, the Astros should have confidence in their co-ace. Tonight’s start will be Verlander’s 30th career postseason appearance. He’s 14-9 with a 3.26 ERA in the playoffs and. While his 1-2, 3.70 ERA this postseason is not a Verlander-esque line, he has still held opposing batters to a .205 average and a 1.07 WHIP. Not bad given the level of competition and the pressure. He’s going to be tough for Nats hitters to deal with. And, if he’s smart, he’s not gonna give Juan Soto a good pitch to hit all night.

It’s an overused phrase in sports, but we’re facing the proverbial “pivotal Game 2.” An Astros win — especially one that has Strasburg leaving earlier than he planned — essentially re-sets the series. A Nats win — especially one in which the Nats bullpen can be re-set — puts Houston in a big hole.