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#pounditSaturday, June 12, 2021


Video: Here is the pitch where Max Scherzer got hurt

Max Scherzer leaves

Max Scherzer has been enjoying another standout season for the Washington Nationals, but there was a concern on Friday.

Scherzer left his start against the San Francisco Giants after throwing just 12 pitches. He seemed to injure his leg on a pitch to the second batter of the game.

Scherzer tried to throw a warmup pitch, but it didn’t go well.

Scherzer is 5-4 with a 2.22 ERA. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has 104 strikeouts in 77 innings this season.

Scherzer said after the game that he is day-to-day with a groin injury.

Video: Liam Hendriks gets game delayed after refusing to pitch in downpour

Liam Hendriks rain delay

Friday night’s game between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox went into an ill-timed rain delay in the bottom of the ninth inning. The trigger for the delay wasn’t so much the rain as it was the pitcher.

The White Sox called in closer Liam Hendriks to preserve a 4-2 lead over the Tigers in the 9th. However, Hendriks ended up taking the mound during a heavy downpour in Detroit. With the game three outs from completion, the umpires understandably wanted to push through and try to get the contest over with. After throwing one pitch, however, Hendriks was not having it, and essentially refused to pitch any further.

The White Sox closer angrily threw the baseball away and could be seen yelling “it’s all wet” at home plate umpire Chris Conroy. Conroy acknowledged that he was well aware of how slick the ball was. As White Sox manager Tony La Russa emerged from the dugout, presumably to back his closer, the umpires accepted that Hendriks had a point and called for a delay.

Hendriks only needed to get three outs to finish the game. That’s almost certainly why the umpires were trying to push onward. However, Hendriks’ frustration was entirely warranted. Pitching in those conditions can lead to mistakes, and could even be dangerous to hitters if the pitcher can’t get a good grip and control where the ball is going.

The good news is as long as the tarp rollout goes better than this one did, finishing the game should be rather straightforward.

Jacob deGrom sets ridiculous strikeout record in latest start

Jacob deGrom

Every time he pitches, Jacob deGrom seemingly makes some new bit of baseball history. Friday night was no different.

deGrom collected his 100th strikeout of the season Friday against the San Diego Padres. He did it in just 61 2/3 innings. Not only is that a record, but according to ESPN Stats & Info, that’s the fewest innings any starter has required to reach the 100-strikeout mark since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893.

MLB Stats also noted that deGrom’s 0.56 ERA through ten starts is the lowest since ERA became an official stat over 100 years ago.

deGrom left his start with arm tightness, unfortunately for the Mets.

The more you dig into deGrom’s 2021 season, the more ridiculous it gets. He threw six innings on Friday, allowing one hit while striking out 10. He even added a two-run single to give himself some run support. He’s done it without even using one of the pitches in his arsenal, too.

Mets GM laughs off Pete Alonso’s theory about manipulated baseballs

Pete Alonso

New York Mets acting general manager Zack Scott is not on board with Pete Alonso’s theory about manipulated baseballs and free agency.

The Mets first baseman claimed Thursday that Major League Baseball made its baseballs more or less hitter-friendly depending on whether the upcoming free agent class has more top hitters or pitchers in it. Alonso alleged that the league wants better hitting when top pitchers are headed for free agency and vice versa in order to depress free agent value. Alonso even added that other players also believe the theory.

On Friday, Scott laughed it all off, adding that even if that were the case, MLB teams are savvy enough to see through variance in league environments and respond accordingly.

“I didn’t know Pete was a conspiracy theorist,” Scott said while laughing, via Jake Seiner of the Associated Press. “The way teams value and evaluate performance is relative to levels, so we’re not going to be fooled by offense is way up or way down. We’re going to look at players about relative to how the league is playing. So it would have no influence on how players are valued or paid.”

If nothing else, Alonso’s theory shows how little players trust the league right now, and we’ve had examples of that going the other way too. Scott pretty much has to side with the league here, especially when there’s no real evidence behind Alonso’s claim.

Video: Bill Murray talks some trash about Cardinals

Bill Murray

Bill Murray was enjoying himself at the St. Louis Cardinals’ expense on Friday.

Murray is a big Chicago Cubs fan and attended the team’s game at Wrigley Field Friday. He joined the TV booth as a commentator. The Cubs came back from down 5-1 to win the game 8-5, pleasing Murray and Cubs fans.

In the 5th, the Cardinals scored on an error by Yadier Molina. In the 7th, Jason Heyward reached on an infield single when Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was unable to field a ball cleanly.

“Don’t you just love when the Cardinals make errors?” Murray said after the play, taking a jab at the Cardinals.

The mistake by the Cardinals helped open things up for the Cubs, who added two runs in the inning to take a 7-5 lead. And Murray loved the rivals self-sabotaging.

If you think that was bad, just wait until you see what the famous actor once had to say about Cardinals fans.

Video: Dusty Baker livid, gets ejected for arguing double play call

Dusty Baker ejected

Dusty Baker was ejected from Thursday night’s Boston Red Sox-Houston Astros game over a call in the top of the seventh inning.

Yuli Gurriel was batting with his Astros down 12-8 and a runner on first with one out. Gurriel hit a swinging bunt and didn’t run to first. Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez played it like it was a live ball. He threw to first to get Gurriel out. Then the Red Sox tagged out Yordan Alvarez for the third out.

Baker disputed the call and seemed to think either Gurriel fouled the ball off his foot or that the ball bounced foul. Either way, he was not happy.

Baker was uncommonly angry there! That was the Astros manager’s first ejection of the season, and he really was hot.

Umpire Sean Barber took forever to declare the ball fair, which didn’t help Houston. But that is a good reminder why players should always play every ball as if it is live.

Video: This Brewers fan was furious about not getting a foul ball

Brewers fan foul ball

A Milwaukee Brewers fan got furious on Thursday night over a foul ball battle with a Cincinnati Reds fan.

The Brewers beat the Reds 7-2 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Tucker Barnhardt was batting and hit a foul ball to the third base side of home.

The popup was between a Brewers fan and Reds fan. The Reds fan ended up with the ball, leaving the Brewers fan furious.

Thank goodness someone gave the man a ball after the fit he threw. That Reds fan should have brought a pacifier with the ball to soothe the man over. Goodness, that was embarrassing.

Also, that must be a record for the first time ever a fan brought a first baseman’s glove to the game.

Look: Mets’ Kevin Pillar switches from clear mask to black

Kevin Pillar black mask

Kevin Pillar has been back in the lineup for nearly two weeks since returning from suffering broken bones in his face after being hit by a pitch. He is now sporting some different protective equipment while he plays.

The New York Mets outfielder was wearing a clear mask upon returning from facial fractures on May 31. However, he recently switched to a black mask and looks like Batman.

Pillar says the clear mask was a temporary solution. The black mask was custom-made to fit his face.

Pillar says he actually has been taunted by fans over the mask, which has allowed him to play while recovering.

It’s OK, Kevin. No matter what, you won’t match David Wright.

Pete Alonso accuses MLB of manipulating baseballs for this reason

Pete Alonso

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso has a conspiracy theory about Major League Baseball manipulating the baseballs used in games for a very interesting reason.

On Wednesday, Alonso was asked about the ongoing debate over the enforcement of rules against pitchers using illegal substances on the mound. Alonso downplayed the issue and said what he really cared about was MLB’s alleged manipulation of baseballs. Alonso said he believes the league does it based on upcoming free agent classes. Alonso also suggested he’s not the only player who feels this way.

Alonso’s theory is that the league either juices or deadens the ball in order to diminish the value of the upcoming free agent class. His argument is that in 2019, the ball was juiced to make sure upcoming free agent pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, and Hyun-Jin Ryu weren’t too dominant. He also seems to think this year’s dominant pitching is down to the fact that standout hitters Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Freddie Freeman, and Kris Bryant are among those set to headline the 2021-22 free agent class.

To be clear, there’s absolutely no evidence behind any of this. If nothing else, if there is a group of players that does believe this to be true, it underlines just how much distrust there is from players towards owners and the league as a hole when it comes to financial matters, though. The distrust seems mutual and has been simmering for a while.

Bobby Witt Jr. says umpire missed call on home run robbery

Bobby Witt Jr home plate

Kansas City Royals top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. says that the umpire missed the call when he cost the infielder a home run on Tuesday.

Witt went 3-for-4 in his Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ 7-6 win over the Frisco RoughRiders on Tuesday. He homered in the first and should have had a second home run in the fifth. But there was one problem: the umpire said he didn’t step on home plate.

That’s weird, because it sure looked like he stepped on the plate, at least from our angle.

Witt Jr. even said on Twitter after the game that he stepped on the plate:

Despite the appearances and Witt’s insistence, Frisco appealed the call. Witt was called out at home for not touching the plate and credited with a triple. Witt now has 10 home runs on the season instead of 11.

The 20-year-old was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He looked great in spring training but is batting .257 with an .877 OPS this season.