By Paul Daley
Here are some observations from deep in right field:
This past week for the first time ever, a National league pitcher started the game and hit for himself. Madison Bumgarner bats in AL park! Don’t they know how I feel about this? Yes, his team won and he went seven innings. That meant his relief had to also bat in the last two innings possibly! Since you can’t go to a DH after game starts. I tried to see if we used the old double switch to protect reliever from actually batting?
Did we all see our own ‘Jeff Maier’ save the Red Sox Friday night? This youngster fielded a ball barehanded a ball precariously close to rattling around the right field corner allowing Trout to score from first with tying run! Instead he was directed to third and it was called a ground rule double, maintaining the Sox lead. Kimbrel then ended game by getting next batter. Point of reference; Maier was a teen at a Yankees home game who leaned over right field wall (314 ft from home) robbing the right fielder of a put out on Jeter’s fly ball. Giving the Yanks a win. Of course it was ALCS game !, 1996.
But this win halted Sox skid and Farrell’s job (for now) appears safe, this could come back to mean a lot since a win is a win.
Speaking of Managers it’s time. He should be displaying an awesome pitching staff. After all there are two pitching coaches on the bench, counting himself. But they are far from getting it done. They won due to a lineup full of hitters coming through. Now that they’ve cooled off, the pitchers are being seen for what they really are….not good.
Last years replacement Lovello did a good job, in his short stint. I prefer catchers as managers, look at the track records. Casey Stengel (remenber I told you I’ve been around since the Earth was still cooling) he was the manager of the Yankees dynasty teams of 50’s-60’s. Yogi Berra managed to win a World Series and went to other league to manage there. There are more but I’ll save you the history lesson. Right now the best manager in baseball is in Cubs dugout and I think he only appeared in one game in his major league career. Of course he was a catcher, maybe Varitek isn’t ready, but let’s at least get an everyday position player to make in game decisions.
While I’m off the subject there have been two baseball fights this year, where actual blows were landed. Not like Nolan Ryan pummeling Robin Ventura. Yet better than most bench emptying meetings at home plate. Texas waited till the last time they would face Toronto unless play-offs make it happen, to drill Jose Baptista for his exuberant bat flip last year beating them in playoffs. Less than manly act! In the same inning Baptista went in hard at second, ducking a low throw from second baseman Odor. He rose and advanced towards Odor who took this as aggression and delivered a solid punch to his face wobbling him on the spot.
Second fight was Manny Machado of Baltimore getting pitched behind, and then drilled by 99 mph in his rib cage area By pitcher Yolando Ventura . Watching him approach mound it was clear the catcher was less than interested in intervening on the pitchers behalf, thus allowing both parties to connect enough blows to warrant suspensions. Usually catcher holds batter back? Where was he?
Now the instigator (pitcher) got nine games, while Machado an infielder got four games. This is where the unfairness arises: nine games for a starter is really one, maybe two missed games! Four games is four games for an infielder. So the double length for pitcher also the instigator is actually half the real penalty when compared to Machado. Though the monetary fine is larger the loss to team is less. What if the rules were changed to make it nine starts? They would fine him nine games, while the team has to pay his salary for the other scheduled non-start dates for him. (after all they would’ve paid him anyway) We are looking at a 45 day loss probably. Relief pitchers would need a formula, like appearances to date versus total games, to come up with his proper absence. I’m all about fairness. This would send a message to the pitchers in the American league drilling batters without the fear of retaliation, as they never bat. Giving the umpire say in whether pitch was intentional or not to thus impose an ejection.
As of today we have used 18 non-pitchers as pitchers to complete blow outs and save the bull pens, and the Mets who were up 16 runs pinch hit with a pitcher (Jason deGroem) who weakly popped out. Have I mentioned pitchers shouldn’t bat?
Hope some of this made sense and makes you think on it.