There are a couple of ways to get a save in a major league baseball game. The most common way is to close out a game where the margin of victory is three runs or fewer. Another way, however, is to pitch three innings to end a game regardless of the score. That’s what Caleb Ferguson did for the Dodgers last night.
Ferguson came in for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings and pitched admirably, shutting out the Pirates on three hits and didn’t walk a batter. Of course, he came in to the game when the Dodgers led 17-1, so you might say that the save was less than rigorous. His teammate, Alex Wood, who got the win for L.A. certainly thought so, shaking his head and saying “a 16-run save . . .” afterwards, amused but unimpressed. For his part, Ferguson didn’t even realize he was in line for a save until someone told him.
This happens a couple of times a year and it’s always fun when it does. Though I suppose “fun” is a relative concept. Cut me some slack, I don’t have much of a life, OK?
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.