It’s only a little later than usual... Sorry about that. I’m on a staycation between jobs this week and the lack of my regimented schedule has me forgetting things.
As he stood in the on-deck circle with no one out, runners on second and third and Corbin Carroll at the plate facing a 3-0 count, Pavin Smith had two thoughts going through his mind.
The first was he hoped that Carroll walked.
“I wanted it,” Smith said. “I wanted that runner on third with less than two outs.”
“I’m on deck and I’m like, ‘I’ve never hit a grand slam yet. That would be pretty cool,’” Smith said.
Last year, and even during part of 2021, Smith found himself cheating. He would anticipate fastballs in a certain part of the zone as a sort of coping mechanism. Nothing else was working so he’d zero in on one pitch, hoping that he could bust out of a slump with one big swing.
“I just felt like that was the way that I was gonna hit,” Smith said. “Sometimes, you just get into those ruts and you start guessing. And a lot of times, you guess wrong.”
The D-backs jumped out to a quick lead off Flaherty thanks to a lead-off double against the base of the left field wall from Josh Rojas, and an RBI single by Ketel Marte, staking Kelly to a 1-0 lead. It looks like that was all the run support Kelly was going to get for a while, as they did not get any more hits until the sixth inning. Kelly was up to the task however.
Remember when Pavin Smith was almost persona non grata on the Diamondbacks’ team? At one point, he looked to be the future of the team at first-base. But then Christian Walker happen, and Smith didn’t with an OPS of just 95 across 220 games in 2021-22. He couldn’t even make the roster on Opening Day this year, being consigned to Reno in favor of Kyle Lewis. But Smith got his chance as Lewis proved to be a better source of wind-power than a hitter, and has seized the chance with both hands. Tonight’s grand-slam - the first in Pavin’s career - adds another notch to his redemption bed-post, and gives him a line for the season, across six games, of .333/.400/.667 for an OPS of 1.067. So far, so good...
Happy Annual DeGrom Day to those who celebrate!
In a precautionary move, deGrom didn’t come out for the fifth because of right wrist soreness. The right-hander couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the soreness, but said he began to feel it as he was warming up in the bullpen. The pitches were coming out fine, but the soreness lingered. So, with the Rangers leading 4-0 and Dane Dunning ready to go, a decision was made to call it a night.
“I thought it was going to loosen up and it actually tightened up as the game went on,” deGrom said. “So, playing it smart. Could I have kept going? Probably. But it was lingering and got a little worse.”
1. The designated pinch-runner - Ugh. I’ve been joking about this coming for years...
2. Single disengagement limit - Just taking one of the two disengagements for pitchers away.
3. The “Double-Hook” designated hitter - I don’t hate this idea at all.
It was a timely return. The Padres took Fried with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and then traded him to the Braves in the December 2014 deal that brought Justin Upton to San Diego.
With his outing Monday night and a complete-game shutout on Sept. 24, 2021, Fried has totaled 14 scoreless innings at Petco Park. But instead of saying he carried a little extra motivation in these outings, the Southern California native said it has more to do with pitching in front of family and friends.
Arraez is so hot it’s entered the realm of the absurd. Through 15 games, he’s 24-for-51, mostly on singles that army crawl past bewildered infielders or fall softly in front of outfielders. As of Monday afternoon, he has yet to hit a ball with an exit velocity of 100 mph or greater. Ryan Mountcastle, who’s hitting .217 to Arraez’s .471, has 25 such batted balls.
MLB has no imminent plans to expand, but that didn’t prevent a consortium called Big League Utah from announcing its intent to compete for a franchise once the league does decide it’s ready for a 31st and 32nd team. Last week, Big League Utah launched an eye-catching campaign in connection with the groundbreaking of a redevelopment that could include a new ballpark. In touting the state’s growth, economy, location, local enthusiasm for sports, and quality of life, the group calls Utah “a five-tool player” — and I have to admit, that’s a pretty catchy way of putting it.
The refrain since Rob Manfred became commissioner in 2015 is that expansion won’t be an option until the futures of the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays are ironed out. Given the ongoing difficulties getting new ballparks built locally, both teams have explored relocation, with the A’s in the midst of an extended flirtation with Las Vegas and the Rays having floated a two-city plan with Montreal that was utterly cockamamie. Suffice it to say that eight years after Manfred took office, neither franchise appears to be on the verge of a solution.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (10-7)
Previous Rank: 5
The D-backs finished 3-3 last week behind a pair of overpowering starts from Zac Gallen, who outpitched reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara on Sunday. Rookies Corbin Carroll (123 OPS+, 7 XBH, 6 SB), Ryne Nelson (3 GS, 3.71 ERA, 17.0 IP) and Drey Jameson (4 G, 1.46 ERA, 12.1 IP) have all made an impact to help lead the team’s strong start.
Approximately 1 in 4 MLB players on Opening Day rosters this season were internationally born, representing 19 countries. The sport’s worldwide influence also was especially prevalent during last month’s exciting World Baseball Classic.
That global reach is impacting the University of Southern Indiana as three baseball players hail from outside of the United States. The trio embraces its cultural upbringings that have led them to play collegiately on the West Side.
...Ok so I use the term “International” very loosely for this one
The two students, who separately transferred to Westhill from the Dominican Republic this school year, are unable to play due to CIAC rules pertaining to international transfers.
“They’re both here for the right reasons,” Westhill coach Mike Riveles said. “They both moved in with family who were already living here. They’re just told they’re not allowed to play sports, which is heartbreaking for these kids. They love baseball. They are great kids. They’ve never had school sports where they were from. And now they’re being told they can’t play here for various reasons that are beyond their control.”