Tomorrow’s the big trip to Austin for my bachelor party, which means I’ll be out for the weekend. I’m thinking about locking myself out of Twitter, too.
After all, beer plus a series in St. Louis after dropping two games in a row and scoring no more than three runs in over a week sounds like a recipe for some Kato-Kaelin-level-disaster tweeting.
Here’s some news from around the league …
- The one and only Ichiro is finally hanging them up:
#Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is transitioning to the role of Special Assistant to the Chairman, effective today.
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) May 3, 2018
- At age 44, Ichiro was hitting just .205/.255/.205 after a down 2017, and it seems that it’s time. What a unique, Hall of Fame-worthy career.
- The Trevor Bauer, spin-rate, ball-doctoring saga has continued, with Bauer possibly conducting an in-game experiment on his own involving these issues. Follow me as I explain. A few weeks ago, Bauer tweeted the following about his ability to spin it about 400 RPM more than his average by adding pine tar to the ball:
My fastball is about 2250 rpm on average. I know for a fact I can add 400 rpm to it by using pine tar. Look how much better I would be if I didn’t have morals… pic.twitter.com/o62kWkxWAy
— Trevor “Tyler” Bauer (@BauerOutage) April 11, 2018
- And then during his latest start, after calling the issue out on Twitter in the context of accusing the Astros of cheating, Bauer’s spin rate was a good 300 RPM faster than usual. Bauer had no comment but to remind us that research shows about a 200-300 RPM increase when a foreign substance is used:
Bauer's 4-seamer had a spin rate of 2,597 RPM in 1st inning of last start, compared to a 2,294 season average. Had "no comment" on whether he used a substance on the ball, but noted that his research shows a 200-300 RPM jump on higher-velocity pitches when a substance is used.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 2, 2018
- So … am I reading the implication there correctly? That Bauer cheated for an inning in order to prove that a foreign substance can increase spin rate? Is that really what happened? And if so, didn’t we already know he was right about that particular fact? The real question was whether the foreign substance was the *ONLY* way the Astros’ pitchers could be improving their spin rates.
- Whatever the case, one thing is clear. Baseball really needs to update its stance on foreign substances, because Bauer is correct in pointing out the hypocrisy. Indeed, from the sound of it, some players are very open about the stuff they add to their pitches:
Major League Baseball needs to end the charade of selective enforcement of foreign substances and allow pitchers to use them … because almost all do already. Column on the crazy things they cook up — literally — and how spin rate has taught us why: https://t.co/CKTnaAW344 pic.twitter.com/nogJBeno7M
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 2, 2018
- Bauer isn’t the only one petitioning the league about a pet issue through unofficial channels. Mets third baseman Todd Frazier has grown fed up with inconsistent and ever-changing strike zones, and has started chiding umpires for it:
Frazier said he's been upset last 5-6 games by umping. Here's the four games before tonight (left) and tonight (right). The oranges are called strikes: pic.twitter.com/khoSVubPxM
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) May 3, 2018
- Unlike being more strict about obvious ball-doctoring violations, I’m not really sure what can be done about this. So long as humans call balls and strikes, there will be errors. Perhaps stiffer penalties for repeat offending umpires?
- The bad news for the Dodgers continues, as starter Hyun-Jin Ry is headed to the disabled list with a left groin strain. “It doesn’t feel good,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “This seems to be worse than the ones in the past. Definitely very disappointed. I came into the season very healthy and had very good performances in the season. At this point, I’m very frustrated and very disappointed.” As for the Dodgers, you can just add Ryu’s injury to the pile (Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, Logan Forsythe, Rich Hill, Tom Kohler, and Julio Urias are *all* on the DL).
- Staying out west ,Johnny Cueto is back on the disabled list for the second time this season, and it sounds like this one could be a bit more serious:
Bochy said Cueto will seek two or three outside opinions on elbow, including likely Dr. James Andrews. Sounds like this is complicated, not as cut and dry as "surgery or not."
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 2, 2018
- It’s a real bummer for Cueto, because he has been LIGHTS OUT through his five starts this season (0.82 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 5.1 BB%). Hopefully, the injury isn’t as serious as it appears to be and he can get back on the mound shortly. Not for nothing, but I’ve always kinda liked Cueto.
- James Paxton racked up 16 strikeouts against the A’s yesterday, allowing just 5 hits, a walk, and no runs … and the Mariners still lost. That’s a bummer. But, hey, here’s a fun look at the 16 strikeouts in 16 seconds:
- The Arizona Diamondbacks could eventually be on the move out of Chase Field. Maricopa County has struck a deal with the D-Backs, which would allow them to immediately begin looking for another home if the team drops a lawsuit arguing that the county should pay for the $187M in necessary repairs. It doesn’t sound like the team would be able to move until 2022 at the earliest anyway, but I guess keep that in the back of your mind. MANY more details on the agreement and lawsuit here at AZCentral.
- Right-handers Joe Musgrove (shoulder strain) and A.J. Schugel (shoulder discomfort) are both making progress on their way back to Pittsburgh, as each posted successful rehab appearances in the Minors earlier this week. Meanwhile, second baseman Josh Harrison (left hand fracture) has resumed baseball activities and could return within three weeks. Some more good news for another NL Central team looking to spoil the Cubs fun.
- Joey Votto is just the absolute best:
— Vlad Needer Birenbaum (@birenball) May 3, 2018
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 3, 2018
- 27 coffees … and a cake pop.