Ryan Pressly
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Ryan Pressly sets an all-time record for consecutive scoreless appearances

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Astros reliever Ryan Pressly is on a roll. On Wednesday, he tied Craig Kimbrel for the longest consecutive scoreless streak in MLB history, with 38 such appearances dating back through August 15, 2018. On Friday, he made it through another outing without giving up a run, pushing his streak to 39 appearances to reach an all-time best mark.

Pressly’s record-breaking opportunity came in the bottom of the eighth inning when he stepped in for Will Harris. He needed just 11 pitches to get through the inning, fanning Mitch Moreland on a 96.7-m.p.h. fastball and inducing the remaining two outs from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. The inning ended in dramatic fashion as Pressly scooped a pop-up from Devers and tossed it toward first base for the final out, tumbling backwards as he made the throw.

Following a scoreless ninth — this time with Roberto Osuna at the helm — the Astros wrapped the series opener with a win, their 30th of the year.

As Andrew Simon of MLB.com rightly points out, the right-hander’s impressive streak comes with a few caveats, the most pertinent of which are a) streaks of this kind are often made possible through the limited and specialized use of relievers, and b) pitchers may keep their streaks intact without taking into account any runs they allowed inherited runners to score. To the first point, Pressly has rarely been called on to pitch more than a single inning in any given game, reducing his chances of snapping the streak as he moves from outing to outing.

Taking Friday’s win into account, the 30-year-old has complemented his 0.00 ERA with a 1.01 FIP, 0.00 BB/9, and 9.45 SO/9 through his first 20 innings of 2019. He’ll likely get the chance to extend his historic streak as the Astros continue their series with the Red Sox through Sunday.

MLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.