Can Lackey Be Put Out To Pasture Yet?
I missed most of the middle of this game, so let’s start at the end, with an…interesting bottom of the 9th (that probably shouldn’t have been necessary). Which shouldn’t have happened, but…2017 Cubs.
Good start, Javy Baez starts it off with a double, Jon Jay draws a walk while trying to bunt Baez to 3rd, and then you have the Ben Zobrist at bat. Takes a ball off the shin, but wait! He offered at it? I disagree, Zobrist looked confused, and Joe Maddon came charging out like he wanted to take a bite out of someone’s jugular–and that was his night. On the broadcast, they kept saying he was after Chris Conroy (who was the 1B Umpire) for the call, which…I can’t recall a base umpire making an offer/no offer call on a bunt in the past, I’ll leave it at that. In any case, Joe had a point, and it was nice to see him out there with a bit of vim and vigor for once. I imagine he’s going to end up getting a nice letter from the league office telling him to take a night off soon, though, as he pulled himself back toward Conroy off another umpire’s shoulder.
Going back to the start, our favorite horse-faced starter started the night out looking…awful. First inning run, baserunners all over the place…the Reds only having 1 run through the first two innings really belongs to the defensive efforts of Anthony Rizzo and…Kyle Schwarber (2nd outfield assist in 3 games)?? And Alex Avila, who was on the receiving end of throws to nab runners at home. The offense got things going quick in the first, plating 4 runs on a Rizzo grand slam on the 10th pitch of the game. So, really, somehow, Lackey just wasn’t the worst starting pitcher in this game, and did somehow manage to get through six. The rough starts are going to catch up with the team sooner or later though, when he puts them in a hole too deep to climb out of. He needs to be somewhere other than starting for the Cubs.
Lackey also stole a base, and got erased when Zobrist walked later, which I suppose is the universe correcting itself to the proper result of a pitcher trying to steal a base.
That’s about all I’ve got for the game itself; like I said, I missed most of what happened in between; but some interesting stuff around baseball:
Umpires Taking Heat
Outside the call against the Cubs in this game that we’ve already discussed, this year seems to be just horrible for umpires–even ones not named Joe West. Angel Hernandez, in particular, drew the ire of the Tigers’ Ian Kinsler after giving him a quick toss because of his questionable strike zone. Kinsler didn’t hold back in an interview, which is honestly something we need more of (though the very real risk of being fined tends to make most guys hold their tongues), saying Hernandez needed to ‘re-evaluate his career choices’. Umpires shouldn’t be household names, and the fact that a lot of people know who Angel Hernandez is (and usually roll their eyes) is a sign that he probably should take Kinsler’s advice, rather than suing the league for discrimination because Joe Torre is holding him back because of some grudge. The problem is, you objectively suck, Angel, and you’re not the only one.
Aaron Judge Sets a Record
Remember Aaron Judge, Yankees rookie that looked like he was going to be a one-man wrecking crew in the AL East all year long? The hype on him seems to have cooled down, but I noticed tonight that he seems to have set a record this year: most consecutive games with a strikeout (33). Ouch. Not the sort of thing you want to put on your resume, but he presumably has been fairly productive otherwise despite that, as he’s still getting in the lineup.
Oh the previous holder of that dubious record? He was a Chicago player. Adam Dunn, for the White Sox in 2012.