On the day the baseball world celebrated the life and legacy of the late Roberto Clemente, the Tampa Bay Rays honored the slugging philanthropist by making MLB history.
Rays Make History on Roberto Clemente Day
The Tampa Bay Rays made history on Roberto Clemente Day yesterday by fielding MLB’s first lineup of all Latin American-born players. Tampa Bay was in Toronto taking on the Blue Jays on Thursday, and their historical lineup didn’t disappoint, putting up 11 runs as they cruised to an 11-0 victory over the Jays.
Randy Arozarena led the way with a 3-for-5 day that included a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Yandy Díaz hit a three-run home run in the second inning over Kevin Gausman and Manuel Margot had a three-run double in a six-run ninth inning.
The Rays weren’t the only ones doing special things on Roberto Clemente Day. Francisco Lindor, a Puerto Rican-born player like Roberto Clemente, drilled a two-run home run in the third inning of the Mets’ 7-1 victory over Clemente’s old team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Rosenthal called Thursday night’s game a “special” one:
Zach Plesac Gets Dumped
You often hear of players dumping their representation in professional sports, but hardly ever do you hear of an agency dumping a player, especially mid-season. According to Jon Heyman, Cleveland’s Zach Plesac will be searching for new representation after CAA terminated their relationship with the Guardians starter.
Plesac is sidelined with a broken pinky after punching the mound after allowing a home run a few weeks ago, and this isn’t the first time that Plesac has injured himself by not being able to control his emotions on the mound.
Last season, the 27-year-old broke his thumb after ‘aggressively ripping off’ his undershirt, according to Francona, and catching his finger on a chair after a game against the Minnesota Twins. Plesac also made headlines in 2020 when he and Mike Clevinger breached COVID protocols after a game against the Chicago White Sox, causing Cleveland to send him home to quarantine.
Plesac is a talented young pitcher, but he’s been in the business of costing himself time on the field with poor decision-making. Hopefully, this is a wakeup call for him. I’d have to imagine that Terry Francona and the Guardians aren’t too thrilled with one of their starters being on the IL amid a race for the AL Central, so CAA might not be the last people to part ways with Plesac.
Curious About New MLB Playoffs?
The MLB Postseason will look a bit different this season. Per the new CBA between MLB and the MLBPA, a 12-team playoff bracket featuring six teams from each league, rather than last year’s format with 10 teams.
Each side of the bracket will have three division winners and three wild-card teams. Instead of having a single-elimination wild-card game, the new format features a best-of-three wild-card series.
But, there are plenty of questions that some have about how things will work under the new format. How will tiebreakers be handled? What will seeding look like? The Athletic‘s MLB staff has you covered with a guide to the new-look playoff:
Odds and Ends
- Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski “threw” out the ceremonial first pitch at the Twins game yesterday, and it was one of the cooler ones you’ll ever see. Most people struggle to throw the ball near the strike zone on flat ground in front of the mound. Goligoski fired in a wrist-shot for a strike! Darn impressive.
- Ever home run from Thursday’s action:
- The self-preservation skills of human beings can be quite impressive. Exhibit A:
- Likely a case of too little, too late, but the White Sox are hitting the ball out of the ballpark this month at the rate we expected them to from the jump. The White Sox pounded five home runs against the Guardians on Thursday afternoon.
- I love seeing rookies deal in their MLB debuts. Drey Jameson tossed seven scoreless innings against the San Diego Padres in his first big league start for the Diamondbacks last night.
- Lance McCullers was filthy on Thursday night. McCullers had 11 strikeouts and allowed two earned runs in six innings as the Astros knocked off the A’s for their 94th victory.
- Carlos Carrasco was filthy for the Mets last night, striking out 11 Pirates and allowing one run in six innings.
- Shane McClanahan got all the run support he could ask for yesterday but didn’t need much of it. McClanahan allowed no runs on three hits in five innings against the Blue Jays. McClanahan is working his way back from injury, so he was pulled after 69 pitches.