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#pounditMonday, August 8, 2022

Baseball

Twins fall victim to controversial replay call in loss to Blue Jays

Twins replay review call

The Minnesota Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli were livid after a controversial replay decision cost his team in an extra innings loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays scored the winning run of Sunday’s game in the top of the tenth inning, when catcher Gary Sanchez was ruled to have blocked the plate on Whit Merrifield’s attempt to score on a sacrifice fly. Merrifield was called out live, but a replay review led to Sanchez being called for interference and awarding the run.

Baldelli was furious at the time and was ejected, and his mood had not improved after the game. He tore into the umpires handling the replay review and said the rules about blocking the plate were never applied the way they were in this scenario.

“That play has not been called since the beginning of replay more than a couple of times. In all of baseball, the thousands and thousands of games and plays at home where the catcher actually does block the plate, over and over and over again, that play has virtually never been called,” Baldelli said. “For someone to step in in that situation and ultimately make a decision that that was blocking the plate, that’s beyond embarrassing for our game, for all the players out there on both sides of the field working their a– off for the entire game. It’s completely unacceptable. I can’t even believe I’m sitting here talking to you guys about this right now. It’s one of the worst moments I think we’ve seen of umpiring in any game I’ve ever been a part of in baseball, and I think it was pathetic what just played out.

“I could go on and on and on about this. The umpires on the field have nothing to do with it. They made a play on the field which was the right call, which every person in all of baseball including the umpires know is the proper call, and someone in New York decided that that was worthy of being overturned on the field.”

Major League Baseball issued a statement saying Sanchez’s “movements into foul territory were not in reaction to the trajectory of the throw” and thus “hindered and impeded the runner.”

Under the league’s rules, catchers cannot block home plate unless they are moving to catch a throw. If they catch the throw in advance of the runner’s arrival, they are expected to re-establish position so the runner has a lane to slide. In this instance, the league evidently felt that Sanchez failed to give Merrifield that lane by putting his knee down where he did after catching the ball. Sanchez, for what it’s worth, barely even had time to react or establish himself before the Merrifield’s arrival.

The so-called “Buster Posey rule” has been a source of controversy for both catchers and baserunners since its implementation. In this instance, it is quite difficult to see how the call on the field was not allowed to stand, and it’s easy to understand why Baldelli was so furious.

Jarren Duran has confrontation with Royals fans after misplay

Jarren Duran yelling at Royals fans

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran has had some major issues on defense lately, and some of it appeared to catch up to him during Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

The Boston center fielder had aa rough seventh inning in Kansas City, once again losing a fly ball in the sun and letting it drop for extra bases. Later in the inning, he attempted to make a leaping catch against the wall on another fly ball, only to have it deflect off his glove and drop for extra bases. After that play, Duran appeared to exchange some words with Royals fans seated behind the outfield wall.

Duran slightly atoned for his issues by making a diving catch for the first out of the inning. After that play, however, he continued jawing with Royals fans to the point that right fielder Alex Verdugo actually came over and intervened.

It’s easy to imagine that some Royals fans were getting on Duran’s case over his defensive issues. Considering how significant those have been lately, it sure looks like those taunts got in Duran’s head a bit and he let his frustration get the best of him.

Duran ultimately needs to come up with a way to sort out his issues with fly balls. If he can do that, the jeering will stop. Until then, he probably needs to find a way to keep his cool more effectively.

Rays pitching coach suffers bizarre in-game injury

Kyle Snyder walks off the field

Jul 21, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder (23) runs off the field during the game against the Miami Marlins at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder suffered an awkward injury during Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

Snyder was walking out to the mound in the seventh inning to speak to starter Shane McClanahan when he pulled his calf muscle. Snyder could not even make it to the mound for the visit and retreated to the dugout, with manager Kevin Cash going to speak to McClanahan instead.

Snyder admitted he had been hearing it from around the league after word of the injury got out.

Sometimes you’ll hear people joke about catchers or coaches wearing a path to the mound when pitchers are struggling. Actually getting hurt is definitely a first.

Snyder can take solace that even top-level athletes can pop their calf muscles in rather mundane circumstances. Still, he’s going to have a tough time living this one down.

Video: Mets ball boy commits big blunder

A ball boy runs across

A New York Mets ball boy inadvertently invited the wrath of Max Scherzer on Saturday night.

Scherzer pitched a dominant 7 innings, striking out 11 in his Mets’ 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in the second game of a doubleheader. Scherzer was getting set to face Travis d’Arnau to start the fifth when he was interrupted.

An overzealous Mets ball boy ran across the field behind the umpire to clear the on-deck circle. That caused Scherzer to stop his motion just as he was on his way to delivering a pitch.

“Oh crap!” the Braves’ announcer said.

What terrible timing by the ball boy. What was he thinking? Just about the last person whom you want to interrupt in the middle of an inning is Scherzer. He was asking for trouble.

James Karinchak goes nuts celebrating after striking out Jose Altuve

James Karinchak raises his arms

Few players show more emotion on the mound than James Karinchak.

Karinchak is in his fourth MLB season and came back last month from a shoulder injury. The 26-year-old is pretty stoked to be back and having success.

Take a look at how fired up he was after striking out Jose Altuve to end the top of the eighth in Cleveland’s 4-1 win over Houston on Saturday night.

He was talking to himself and waving his hands like he was at a nightclub.

This sort of behavior is nothing new for the reliever. He is one fully-cafeinated individual all fired up when he’s on the mound.

Here are a few other great videos of Karinchak:

Karinchak has the performance to back up his celebrations. After allowing runs in his first two appearances, he has settled down and become dominant. He’s only allowed 2 hits and 4 walks over his last 10.2 innings while striking out 18.

He’s a talented player, and a total maniac. Maybe there’s something about being a Cleveland player that leads to this.

Video: Max Fried smacks his head on ground after making throw

Max Fried on the ground

Max Fried gave Atlanta Braves fans a scare on Saturday night when he faceplanted into the turf at Citi Field.

Fried was pitching for the Braves against the Mets, and New York had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the third. Darin Ruf hit a grounder to first baseman Matt Olson, who threw to second in hopes of a 3-6-1 double play. They got the force at second, but they weren’t able to turn the double play at first due to a bounced throw.

Fried went to get the errant throw and tried to pick it up and throw to home, but he faceplanted in the process.

Here is the full play:

And here you can see how Fried hit his head on the ground:

Fried stayed in the game, though the Mets scored two runs on the play to go up 3-0. The southpaw got the next batter out to end the inning and also went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

Rays could get key pitcher back ahead of schedule?

Tyler Glasnow throwing a pitch

Oct 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st inning of game one of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays could be in line for a significant boost ahead of the postseason with the health of a key pitcher.

Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder revealed that right-hander Tyler Glasnow is “fully healthy” roughly a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and has been throwing 99 MPH in his rehab. Snyder added that the chances of Glasnow returning in 2022 were “not zero.”

Glasnow opted for surgery about a year ago, and the initial prognosis was that he could be out until 2023. That may still be the case, but it is hugely encouraging that he might pitch this season at all. If the Rays do decide to use him, they may be cautious with the 28-year-old and use him out of the bullpen or in limited duty.

Glasnow appeared to be in the midst of a breakout season in 2021 before he got hurt. Through 14 starts, he was 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 88 innings.

Shohei Ohtani sums up Angels’ difficult season

Shohei Ohtani smiles

Jul 19, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; American League pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Angels smiles at fans before the 2022 MLB All Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Things have not gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Angels this season. They are 45-61, in fourth place in the AL West and 24 games out of first place. That’s a miserable place to be, admits superstar Shohei Ohtani.

“Remaining motivated in that way is hard,” Ohtani told the Los Angeles Times following a 3-1 loss to the A’s earlier this week.

Ohtani hurled 5.2 inning of two-run ball, but it wasn’t enough for the Angels. Their bats couldn’t get going and Ohtani himself went 0-for-3.

“Individually, there are many things I have to do,” he said. “But my life in baseball will continue for some time and whatever the circumstances, I’d like to be focused each and every game.”

Since those comments were made, the Angels have gone 1-1 including an 8-7 loss to Oakland in which they connected for seven solo home runs. They were barely able to escape the Marines on Friday night, rebounding in the 10th inning after blowing a 4-0 lead in the ninth.

Things are not likely to get any easier for Los Angeles, either. They traded away starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, closer Raisel Iglesias and outfielder Brandon Marsh at the deadline.

“I’m cheering from the bottom of my heart for the players who left,” Ohtani added. “I’d like them to be part of good teams, get results and do their best in the postseason.”

The postseason is where Ohtani would love to be, but he recognizes that’s not likely to happen. That reality puts a strain on the day-to-day.

“As a player, it’s pretty tough knowing the chances are low that a win will play a part in getting you to the postseason. But I think I’d like to do what I have to do the best I can,” he said.

The remainder of the season is certain to be a grind for Ohtani and his Angels teammates.

Video: Dodgers prospect absolutely obliterates home run

James Outman swings

James Outman had an undeniably impressive first stint in the majors. He collected six hits in 13 at-bats, including two doubles, a home run and three RBI. He reached safety in all four games he started, but the Los Angeles Dodgers ultimately optioned him back to Triple-A following the return of Chris Taylor.

Returning to the minors did little to cool Outman off.

In his first at-bat back in the minors, the Oklahoma City Dodgers outfielder obliterated just the third pitch he saw. And when we say “obliterated,” we very much mean “obliterated.”

The ball came off Outman’s bat at 107.5 MPH and traveled an estimated 441 feet. Blake Harris of ESPN joked that it actually went 583 feet, which would have made it the longest recorded home run in history.

Whatever the distance, it was an absolute bomb — something the Dodgers have come to expect from Outman.

The 25-year-old Outman, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft, is rapidly developing into one of the Dodgers’ top prospects. He clearly has a bright future and if he keeps hitting bombs like that, he’ll find his way back to the big leagues in no time flat.

Freddie Freeman bobblehead doll has the whitest teeth imaginable

A Freddie Freeman bobblehead doll

Freedie Freeman has a set of pristine pearly whites in his mouth, but the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman has been upstaged by his own bobblehead doll in the teeth department.

The Dodgers are holding a Freeman bobblehead giveaway night on Wednesday, Aug. 10, and they have been promoting the event quite a bit lately. Those who have seen the ads for the Freeman bobblehead promotion online or on TV likely noticed something with the doll: it has incredibly white teeth.

Take a look:

Did they paint those teeth with some white out? Goodness.

Even when promoting the bobblehead through an ad during Friday night’s Dodgers-Padres game, Dodgers analyst Orel Hershiser couldn’t help but make note of the white teeth. Freddie himself has gone viral in the past for his perfect teeth. Next up it will be his bobblehead doll’s teeth getting all the attention.