Blevins Could have Said “I Feel so Out of Place, ’cause I’m a reliever!

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, June 25.

While two of baseball’s better games yesterday involved the New York teams, neither the Mets nor the Yankees came up big.  Both ended up getting swept in 3-game weekend series.    It seems like not so long ago the Dodgers were 10 games under .500 and going nowhere.  Now, they find themselves at 41-35, two and a half games behind the D-Backs in the NL West. They have gotten there following a 3-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field in New York.  They’ve taken 7 out of 10, not to mention the successful return of Clayton Kershaw on Saturday night.

Yesterday’s 8-7 Dodgers’ win in 11 innings was crazy and said a lot about the problems the Mets have.  Going into the game, The Dodgers hit 2 of their 7 solo home runs in the initial inning off Jerry Blevins who hadn’t made a start in the majors. His plight prompted me to parody an old Monkees’ song in the headline.   starting pitcher Jason Vargas had been put on the DL.  He had hurt his leg earlier in the week and the Mets had hoped he would somehow be available to start the game. This is the last year their AAA team is in Vegas, so in 2019 a AAA hurler can be summoned from Buffalo.  While their AA team are in Binghamton, they didn’t take that route and bring a pitcher in from there.  They used the Rays’ model of starting a relief pitcher. Blevins at first thought his manager was pulling his leg, but he soon found out the manager was for real.  Blevins responded by giving up home runs to the first two Dodgers he saw-Enrique Hernandez and Max Muncy. Jerry is just the second man in MLB to give up home runs to the first two men he saw as a starter.  The other incident was in 1945 when the country’s brightest and best were still in the Service.

Blevins lasted 2 innings with no further damage, but his fellow relievers gave up 5 more bombs, all solo home runs.  It’s just the third time in the Mets’ history that they have given up 7 home runs in a game. Two each were struck by Hernandez and Cody Bellinger. Muncy, Joc Peterson and Justin Turner had one each.  Turner’s blast in the 11th was the death blow.  The Mets’ offense had kept up, highlighted by a game-tying 3-run dinger by Kevin Plawecki to tie it at 7–7 in the last of the 8th. Earlier Asdrubal Cabrera had hit a 2-run home run to give the Mets a brief 4-3 lead which their bull  pen was unable to protect.

While the Mets’ bull pen game was a fiasco, the Rays made it work, completing a 3-game sweep of the Yankees at easily the worst ball park in the game. Rookie Jake Bauers hit a home run on the first pitch of the last of the 12th inning, powering the Rays to a 7-6 win over the Yankees in St. Pete. Bauers has been a major leaguer for less than 3 weeks, but his second MLB home run was major league in every respect.  No Yankee reliever had given up a hit since the third inning, but Chasten Shreve only needed to throw one pitch for Bauers to unload.

It seems clear enough now that Domingo German isn’t the answer for the Bombers.  For now at least, he’s a one-hit wonder, that being his first game out.  Since then he’s been hammered with frightening regularity, especially yesterday by the Rays’ AA offense. German was belted for a triple and two doubles in the first inning alone and was gone having given up 6 runs before the third inning was over.  The team with baseball’s elite bull pen has to address the fact that their rotation is in shambles.  Jordan Montgomery is gone until either 2019 or 2020.  Masahiro Tanaka isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break and CC Sabathia hasn’t been successful in his last two outings, both against the Rays. Luis Severino is their anchor and he’s a  young pitcher.  They got one excellent start from Jonathan Loaisiga but he has the daunting task of going right from AA to the top.

Whoever the Rays threw, at least one Yankee had their number yesterday.   That was Giancarlo Stanton who had 5 hits and was walked in the 12th.  Miguel Andujar crashed a 3-run home run before the Rays’ starter Matt Andriese left in the 4th inning. One of Stanton’s 5 hits was a home run off Vidal Nuno to tie the game at 6 in the 8th. Clint Frazier nearly broke the tie in the 9th until his ball clanged off the speaker at antiquated Tropicana Field.  it was in play and caught by the Rays’ shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Andujar now has 11 home runs before the All-Star break.  He is now tied with Joe DiMaggio (1936) and Nick Johnson (2002) for third place among Yankee rookies with home runs before the break.  The top 2? Aaron Judge hit 30 a year ago and Gleyber Torres has 14 this year.

It’s bad enough to lose 3 in a row to the Rays.  To add injury to insult, Gary Sanchez hurt himself running out a ground ball and is on the DL. It’s one of those groin injuries that can linger for months.  Other than Austin Romine the Yankees needed another warm body to wear the catching togs when they play the Phillies tonight.  The man elected is Kyle Higashioka who is up from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Elsewhere, the Tigers have signed Casey Mize, the first overall pick in the most recent draft.  Mize had pitched for Auburn who reached the Super Regionals but was stopped by Florida. Earlier in the season he fired his first ever no-hitter, the 9th in Auburn’s history. With only two teams remaining in the College World Series, draftees can get down to the business of signing on the dotted line.  This isn’t permitted while their teams are still in competition.  But now the clock is ticking for  Oregon State and Arkansas.  The first game will be played at 7 PM Eastern tonight, with game 2 and if needed game 3 Wednesday night at the same hour.

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