Zack Greinke has pitched very well at home this year, two years actually, but not today. The bullpen was perfect and kept the Pirates to 5 the rest of the way. Some controversial decisions by Lovullo in this one. In the bottom of the 7th, Mathis gets on base (perhaps a small miracle) to lead off. With McFarland’s spot coming up, he goes to Alex Avila. Double play ends the threat. True true, Alex hit a hard liner, poor luck there. But I would argue, the luck was the fact that he hit a hard liner in the first place. There is a certain burden carrying three catchers on the roster, especially in the NL. It didn’t work out. Like in poker, if you have a strong hand and bet strong only to lose out on an unlucky river card, that’s a problem with results, not your decisions. Another controversy was keeping Lamb in the final at-bat against a hard throwing left-hander, rather than going to Descalso. Another poor result, but I can live with that one.
Congratulations to Jeff Mathis as his wife gave birth to his second child, a baby girl named Sloane. Being his second, he knew what to expect. That’s huge. He was back in time to catch for Greinke, but that part didn’t quite work out. But that doesn’t matter this time. I have a feeling Mathis is a great father.
He has been fantastic with a 1.55 ERA in 29 innings (all of them late game meaningful ones). I’m not too surprised, I loved this deal. He was great in Japan, he will be great in MLB. Especially at age 34, the dude knows how to pitch wherever he happens to be.
What should be done with elite sprinters who play at an elite level in the OF, but struggle at the plate. Managers rarely do it these days, but perhaps bringing this type of player in a game early as a pinch runner for a run around the bases and enjoying their defense the rest of the game. We might need a supercomputer to figure out if this is the right call, but it certainly isn’t too crazy. Jarrod Dyson might be the D-backs version of this scenario.
This rookie, Jordan Hicks, has touched 105 on the radar gun. But not always in the strike zone. But wow, he was chosen in the 3rd round with a blazing fastball but “below-average” command. It must of been quite poor command, who wouldn’t want to take a chance on a guy like this in the third round. Aroldis Chapman has been the fastball king since 2009, but he might have met his match.