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#pounditMonday, May 16, 2022

Baseball

Yadier Molina pulled veteran move to steal Giants’ signs

Yadier Molina checking signs

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina showed off a great example of legal sign stealing in Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

With runners at the corners and two out in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game, Molina pulled a veteran move and caught the Giants trying to steal. Molina could be seen casually glancing toward the Giants’ dugout, where he seemingly took note of the signs manager Gabe Kapler was relaying. Aware that something was up, Molina called for a standing pitchout and easily threw out Joc Pederson at second to end the inning.

The Giants’ TV broadcast broke down what Molina was seeing and how he reacted.

Even if Molina didn’t have the exact steal sign the Giants were using, he was probably aware that something was up just from the activity. He was also savvy enough to catch on without the Giants becoming aware that he was onto them. There is absolutely nothing illegal about that, and in this sort of scenario, it falls upon the Giants to be more careful with their signs.

Sign-stealing is enough of an issue in the game that MLB has proposed a number of actions to curb it. None of them would have deterred Molina here, though. That’s just baseball IQ.

Buck Showalter was so excited to meet famous singer before game

Buck Showalter in the dugout

Apr 8, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) walks the dugout during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Buck Showalter knows that the hips don’t lie.

Showalter is mostly viewed as a no-nonsense type of guy, but he was very excited about one musical guest who attended Saturday’s New York Mets game at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y.: singer Shakira.

The Mets manager spent a minute talking about Shakira during his pregame media session.

Guess what? He even got to meet Shakira and take a photo with her before the game.

That’s Eduardo Escobar who’s also in the photo.

It’s easy to understand why Buck would have been excited to meet Shakira. The 45-year-old singer is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with over 80 million records sold. Some of her biggest English hit songs include “Wherever, Whenever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Some of Buck’s greatest hits include winning 100 games with the Diamondbacks in 1999 and winning 96 games and the AL East with the Orioles in 2014. Shakira just might have the edge over him. Barely.

Dodgers announcer reveals why Max Muncy was so upset in viral video

Max Muncy with a frown

A video clip involving Max Muncy went viral over the weekend, though we finally know exactly what happened.

Muncy was batting in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night with his Los Angeles Dodgers down 9-7 to the Philadelphia Phillies. After starting the at-bat with a ball, Familia threw the second pitch right down the middle. Muncy took a called strike and then protested with the umpire afterwards.

Muncy left many perplexed — and got ridiculed — because he was protesting after an obvious strike.

Even Dodgers announcer Joe Davis was critical of Muncy during his play-by-play commentary at the time.

“That’s concerning to see him argue that,” Davis said of Muncy.

But it turns out that wasn’t the issue.

Davis later clarified on Twitter that Muncy was arguing that Familia failed to come set before delivering the pitch.

That makes a lot of sense. There’s no way Muncy could have argued that the pitch wasn’t a strike — and he wasn’t.

What’s interesting is that the Phillies broadcasting crew flagged the issue even before Muncy complained.

The clip from the Phillies announcers didn’t receive nearly as much attention as the one from the Dodgers’ announcers.

Muncy grounded into a fielder’s choice in the at-bat. He went 1-for-5 with two runs scored. The slugger is struggling at the plate this season, batting .147.

Reds manage to lose game despite throwing no-hitter

Hunter Greene in the dugout

Apr 5, 2022; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene against the Seattle Mariners during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds have been notoriously awful for much of the MLB season, but they managed to reach a new low Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Reds pulled off a remarkable feat by throwing a combined eight-inning no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sunday. In spite of that, they managed to lose the game 1-0, with the Pirates’ lone run crossing the plate in the bottom of the eighth.

How did that happen? Reds rookie Hunter Greene was dynamite and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but struggled with his control at times. After issuing back-to-back walks with one out in the eighth and with his pitch count at 118, Greene was relieved by Cincinnati reliever Art Warren. Warren issued another walk, loading the bases, then couldn’t quite turn a double play on a Ke’Bryan Hayes ground ball.

The Reds scraped together four hits, but were shut out, so it goes into the book as a loss despite the no-hitter. For what it’s worth, the game would not qualify as an official no-hitter, solely because the Reds’ staff did not get the chance to throw nine full innings of no-hit baseball.

This has actually happened before, as this is the sixth game in MLB history in which a team lost despite allowing no hits. The Los Angeles Angels were the last victims, losing a 1-0 game to the Dodgers in 2008 despite a combined no-hitter between Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo.

The Reds were on a historically bad pace to start the season. They’ve picked things up a tiny bit since then, but not much, and a game like this is probably bound to linger a bit.