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CC Sabathia on Ángel Hernández: ‘He shouldn’t be anywhere near these playoff games’


Yankees starter CC Sabathia and umpire Ángel Hernández don’t get along very well. In late April, Sabathia had a frustrating start in which he barked at Hernández, “Don’t talk to me. Call f–king strikes!”

As fate would have it, Hernández was behind the plate calling balls and strikes for Sabathia’s ALDS Game 4 start against the Red Sox on Tuesday night. If the Yankees lost, they would be eliminated from the postseason and the Red Sox would move on to the ALCS to face the Astros.

In Hernández’s defense, his ball- and strike-calling was decent and didn’t impact Sabathia’s lack of success in Game 4. Of course there were a few debatable calls but there are always a few no matter who the umpire is, and none came in high-leverage situations. Sabathia served up a three-spot in the third inning before departing. Overall, he gave up the three runs on five hits and two walks with one strikeout on 59 pitches.

After the game, Sabathia went off on Hernández. Per Newsday’s Tim Healey, Sabathia said, “He’s absolutely terrible. He was terrible behind the plate today. He was terrible at first base. It’s amazing how he’s getting jobs umpiring in these playoff games.”

More from Sabathia, per Healey:

Paired with his subpar showing as a first base umpire in Game 3, it hasn’t been a great couple of days for Hernández. He has long been one of baseball’s least popular umpires. Even in just in the last two years, we have covered Sabathia, Anthony Rizzo, and Ian Kinsler taking issue with Hernández. Former players Chipper Jones and Paul LoDuca were among the players tweeting along with Game 3 last night and using the opportunity to criticize Hernández. And if the responses I saw to my post last night are any indication, he doesn’t have very many supporters among baseball fans, either.

All this being said, Sabathia probably could’ve picked a better time to gripe about Hernández. Doing so immediately after one’s team has been eliminated from the postseason will make it seem like he’s just salty about losing and looking to lash out. Sabathia could have also phrased his concerns in a more diplomatic way if he were actually concerned with getting better umpiring crews for the playoffs.

When Rick Porcello, who opposed Sabathia in Game 4, caught wind of Sabathia’s comments, he said (via James Wagner of the New York Times), “Throw the ball over the plate C.C. I thought Ángel Hernández called a good game. You gotta out the ball over the white part of the plate and then you get the strikes called.”

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.