Hi all. After a day of computer failure yesterday, here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, April 28.
It’s bad enough the Mets got swept by the Braves. It’s bad enough they went 1–7 on their most recent home stand and are 1-10 since a 16-inning win on April 13 in Miami. It looked like the season was shot even before Yoenis Cespeded had to be assisted off the field yesterday. If it wasn’t time to write off the season before yesterday’s game started, it sure is time to do it now. While the Mets haven’t officially put Cespedes on the DL it’s unlikely he’ll be in the lineup for months,even if he avoids golfing which he got caught doing the last time he was on the DL. It’s players like him who drove me to call DL the “Dog list” when I was a broadcaster.
Cespedes has a history of hamstring injuries like the one he suffered running out a double early in yesterday’s 7-5 loss to the Braves. It’s part of why he has been traded as often as he has since joining the A’s in 2012. His first season was the only one in which he didn’t lose time injured. His most notorious injury was suffered playing golf right before the 2015 World Series in which he hit all of .150. Hammy injuries are usually suffered by older players on their way out the door. Cespedes claims he’s 31 but with Cuban ball players, who knows? Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez was closer to 35 than 30 when he pitched for the Yankees in 1998. His cover was blown wide open in 1999 when a divorce decree from Cuba surfaced showing he was born in 1965, not 1969 as he told the unsuspecting Yankees. He flame out after two brilliant seasons. He suffered injury after injury which limited him even when he was pitching well.
As for yesterday’s Mets’ game it was over before Cespedes got hurt thanks to an awful performance by Matt Harvey. His day ended early when he gave up a 3-run home run to Kurt Suzuki to make it 6-2 Braves in the 4th.
The Mets aren’t the only playoff team from 2016 going down the drain in 2017. If possible the Blue Jays are
doing worse having lost a day-night doubleheader to the Cardinals and now standing at 6–16. Their salvation is, Canadian fans care more about hockey and are fairly oblivious unless the Jays make the playoffs. The Jays’ and their management won’t be skewered on talk radio which is the fate of any manager or general manager in New York when things go from bad to worse. In St. Louis, the home team came from behind to tie the early game in the 9th, then won on a grand slam by Matt Carpenter two innings later. Randall Grichuk, the one man whose name stumped Vin Scully, hit the game-tying shot in the last of the 9th off Jays’ closer Roberto Ozuna. Yadier Molina had doubled to lead off the inning, but two outs later it was Grichuk or bust for the home team. 2 innings later came the most exciting possible ending-a walk-off grand slam.
For the Yankees’ opening-day starter Masahiro Tanaka, his first two starts were just plain awful and had Yankee fans wondering if the time bomb in his elbow had finally gone off. A partially torn UCL ligament has limited him since July, 2014 his first Yankee season and made him a hard man to count on among a starting staff that didn’t look good as 2017 began. Last night though, facing Chris Sale of the Red Sox Tanaka looked like the man who left Japan with a 99–35 record, the man the Yankees paid $175 million to get. In a game where nobody got an extra base hit on either side, Tanaka used only 97 pitches to earn a 3-hit shutout over a potent Red sox lineup as the Yankees won 3-0. Sale is 1-2 with an insane 1.19 ERA. He allowed an unearned 4th-inning run driven home on a scoring fly ball by Matt Holliday. Sale gave up 3 straight singles in the 9th during an inning where the Yankees put up two runs. Holliday also singled home a run in the 9th. I’m one pundit who wondered what the Yankees needed with the aging Holliday. It turns out he’s provided veteran leadership. With his help the Yankees and Orioles are at the top of the charts in the East-and that’s with the Yankees’ megastud Gary Sanchez and shortstop Didi Gregorius on the dL. Didi could_ be back this weekend while Sanchez goes on rehab starting Tuesday. Team ownership in Tampa, Trenton and Scranton where the 3 top Yankees’ farm teams play-are just praying he’ll be sent to their teams if only for a few days.
If there’s a Friday afternoon game in MLB it means the Cubs are in town. They’re not, so all the games are under the lights, and there are some good ones. As mentioned above, the top two teams in the AL East, the Yankees and Orioles square off in the Bronx. The O’s Kevin Gausman has just one quality start all year. He’s facing CC Sabathia who started well but got hammered by the Pirates his last time out. The Cubs are at Fenway where they trot out Jake Arrieta to face the Red Sox. Last time he saw them he almost threw a no-hitter. He’s no soft touch following on the heels of Masahiro Tanaka’s gem last night. Tickets at Fenway are always hard to get, but bring the Cubs to town and you can count on sellouts all weekend long. When the schedule was made, the Mets and Nationals looked like a marquee matchup especially with Jacob DeGrom facing Max Scherzer. But DeGrom walked 6 men when he faced the Nationals last weekend and took the loss. Meantime the Mets’ offense is beyond stagnant, closer to nonexistent with the injury to Cespedes. Scherzer has already no-hit the Mets once in his career.0