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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Baseball

Watch: Angels closer uses bizarre leg kick to mess with Vlad Guerrero Jr

Vladimir Guerrero Jr

Vladimir Guerrero Jr has played less than 50 games in his MLB career, and opposing pitchers are already coming up with unique ways to try to get the young slugger out.

With the Toronto Blue Jays trailing 3-1 in the ninth inning Tuesday night, Los Angeles Angels closer Hansel Robles needed one final out. In order to keep Guerrero from making it a one-run game with one swing, Robles broke out a ridiculous leg kick to disrupt the 20-year-old’s timing. Vlad did not seem enthused.

Robles went with a quicker leg kick later in the at-bat, and Guerrero managed to get a good piece but flied out to right-center, ending the game.

If you’ve seen how far Guerrero can hit a baseball, it’s hard to blame Robles for thinking he needed to get creative in that situation.

Mets manager admits to trying to pad Jacob deGrom’s stats

Jacob deGrom

If nothing else, you have to give Mickey Callaway credit for his honesty.

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom threw a gem on Tuesday, going 8.1 innings, striking out 10 batters, and allowing just two earned runs in a 10-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. Callaway, the Mets manager, pulled deGrom in the ninth inning and inserted reliever Robert Gsellman to get the final two outs.

After the game, Callaway was asked why he went with the veteran Gsellman instead of putting in young reliever Stephen Nogosek in what appeared to be a prime spot with an eight-run lead. Callaway essentially admitted that he was trying to pad deGrom’s stats, reasoning that he did not want any inherited runners to go on the star righty’s stat line, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

True, Gsellman was the more seasoned, reliable option, and even if deGrom exited the game without any runners on base, Callaway probably had already made the decision to warm up Gsellman over Nogosek. But giving one of your top bullpen arms an unnecessary day of work for the purposes of preserving an individual stat line is an interesting strategy to say the least.

After posting the best ERA in baseball last season (1.70), deGrom hasn’t been particularly close to replicating that feat this year with a 3.38 ERA in 14 starts before Tuesday. Still, he has to appreciate Callaway’s efforts, especially in a season where the skipper has taken major heat for his pitching decisions.

Max Scherzer suffers broken nose after being hit in face during bunting drill

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer suffered a broken nose after being hit in the face during a bunting drill on Tuesday.

The Washington Nationals ace was in the cage during batting practice before the team’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He squared to bunt and caught the ball wrong. The ball skipped up and hit him in the face, leaving him bloodied.

Though Scherzer was initially expected to start in one of the team’s doubleheader games against the Phillies on Wednesday, the Nationals later said Scherzer had a broken nose and his status in the rotation was to be determined.

Scherzer is in the fifth season of a 7-year, $210 million deal he signed with the Nats prior to the 2015 season. He has delivered two Cy Young Awards, finished second in voting last season, and is 5-5 with a 2.81 ERA this season. He leads the National League with 136 strikeouts.

Max Scherzer hit in face by ball during bunting drill

Max Scherzer

If Max Scherzer looks a little beat up in his face next time you see him, you’ll know why.

The Washington Nationals pitcher took a ball off his face during a bunting drill on Tuesday afternoon.

He is said to be wearing a splint on his nose:

Nationals manager Davey Martinez still expects Scherzer to pitch in one of the team’s doubleheader games against the Phillies on Wednesday.

Though the Nats have disappointed with a 33-38 record this season, Scherzer continues to perform at a high level. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 5-5 with a 2.81 ERA. His 136 strikeouts lead the National League.

MLB calls out Umpires’ Association over Manny Machado suspension statement

Manny Machado

MLB issued a statement on Tuesday in response to the Umpires’ Association statement about the Manny Machado suspension.

Machado was suspended one game for making contact with umpire Bill Welke after being ejected for arguing a third strike call during Saturday’s San Diego Padres-Colorado Rockies game, the league announced Monday. The Major League Baseball Umpires Association apparently was not happy with the light punishment for “violence in the workplace” and issued a statement on the matter.

MLB responded to the statement from the umpires and said it was not appropriate for them to comment on the discipline issued by MLB. They also said the comparison to “workplace violence” was inappropriate.

Machado appealed his one-game suspension on the grounds that he did not make contact with the umpire.

David Ortiz has condition upgraded to ‘good’ by doctors

David Ortiz

David Ortiz continues to make progress as he recovers from a gunshot wound in Boston, and the former MLB slugger’s wife said on Tuesday that his condition has been upgraded.

In her latest statement, Tiffany Ortiz said David’s condition was upgraded to “good” by doctors at Mass General Hospital on Tuesday. He had previously been in stable condition.

Tiffany Ortiz has kept fans updated on Big Papi’s health, and fortunately the news seems to be getting better and better. Ortiz was shot in the back and the bullet exited through his stomach, so it goes without saying that he is fortunate to be alive. He underwent extensive surgery in the Dominican Republic before being transferred to Boston.

Police in the Dominican Republic have released some details about the attack on Ortiz, but the case remains under investigation.

Jesus Aguilar: Manny Machado apologized for playoff incident

Manny Machado Jesus Aguilar

No one would blame Jesus Aguilar if he wanted to hold a grudge against Manny Machado for the rest of his MLB career, but the Milwaukee Brewers first baseman says he has moved on from the dirty play Machado committed during the playoffs last year.

When Machado was with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, he intentionally dragged his left leg along the first base bag on a routine groundout during the NLCS so he could clip Aguilar’s leg on the way by. It was a bush league play by anyone’s definition.

Aguilar and Machado met again on Monday night when the San Diego Padres hosted the Brewers, and Aguilar was asked if there is any lingering bad blood between the two. Aguilar said Machado has apologized and they have “moved forward.”

That wasn’t the only dirty play Machado committed during the postseason last year, and those antics have contributed to him having a bad reputation across the league. Even if Aguilar has forgiven him, there are still plenty of people who don’t think very highly of Machado.