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May 2, 2017

What You Need to Know

Bad Night in Boston

by Demetrius Bell

The Monday Takeaway

It sure would have been nice if the problems that Adam Jones had with getting the weight off his bat were his only issues Monday night in Boston.

Unfortunately, there are reports that one of the stars of the Team USA squad that won this year’s World Baseball Classic had to deal with something that absolutely nobody in this country should deal with. According to Jones, there were numerous fans thrown out of the game for racist behavior, and the Red Sox confirmed that a fan was ejected for throwing peanuts at Jones.

This is simply disgraceful on the part of those individuals, and while the Red Sox did ban the culprit from the ballpark, I’d say that Jones is correct in that more needs to be done to make sure it’s known that this type of ugliness is 100 percent unacceptable—both at a ballpark and in society overall.

While the disgusting actions of a few ignorant fans may get most of the attention, it’s really a shame because it takes away from the fact that Baltimore played a great game and absolutely earned the win against a solid Rick Porcello and the rest of the Red Sox. It shouldn’t be surprising that the standout performer on the night was Manny Machado, who was up to his usual antics—like this slick, sliding defensive stop to snuff out a Boston rally in the fifth inning.

Then in the very next frame, he hit a majestic bomb over the Green Monster and also made sure to admire it as it flew into the Massachusetts night sky.

Finally, Machado turned out the lights on Fenway Park for the evening by making a diving catch on a liner to give Baltimore the victory.

Plus, Adam Jones especially had to be feeling good about things after he made this spectacular catch to nip a potential eighth-inning Boston rally right in the bud.

While a win may not erase the nastiness of what happened in the stands, Jones and the rest of the squad could at least leave the ballpark knowing that they’d gotten one up in the win column on the evening. Sometimes, simply excelling on the field is the best way to retaliate.

Quick Hits

You’d think the Mets would be heading into their game on Monday against the Braves with a bit of a wobble in their step after getting clobbered by the Nationals on Sunday. It seemed like things would continue to be tough for them considering that Julio Teheran has given them fits recently. That wasn’t the case on Monday as the Mets scored five runs on Teheran in the fourth inning and also saw a bit of good luck finally go their way against Atlanta’s top starter when a wild pitch somehow resulted in Teheran getting picked off between second and third base.

Speaking of teams pulling out wins from seemingly bad situations, the currently slumping Giants went into last night’s game against the Dodgers with the odds stacked high against them. They’d lost eight of their last 11 games, and had to deal with Clayton Kershaw for the second time in as many weeks. However, change was definitely afoot when Hunter Pence (of all people) took Kershaw deep in the first inning.

San Francisco never trailed in this game, as the bullpen came in and made sure that one of their starters’ performances actually didn’t go to waste. I’m sure that Johnny Cueto is very thankful that his seven innings of solid effort were rewarded with the Giants’ bullpen actually keeping things under control after he left the game.

Even though the Yankees recently made an astonishing comeback in their home ballpark with an even bigger deficit, you had to figure that it wasn’t going to be the home team’s night when this happened after Jacoby Ellsbury made an incredible catch at the center field wall.

That’s right. Despite the amazing catch, the Blue Jays ended up scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly. Talk about a productive out.

Meanwhile in Texas, the Astros went into the sixth inning of their in-state rivalry matchup with the Rangers down 2-1. That’s when the two teams engaged in some not-so-jocular pushing and shoving following a bad pitch from Lance McCullers to Mike Napoli. Apparently, this boosted Houston so much that they proceeded to score five runs in the bottom of the next inning after Tony Barnette failed to clean up the jam that Andrew Cashner left.

Houston’s game-changing rally was capped off with a double from Yulieski Gurriel, who was clearly beaten to second base by the throw but used a swim move to deftly beat the tag. As The Man Who Can’t Be Seen would say, “Never give up.”

Defensive Play of the Day

Normally Freddie Freeman leaves pitchers with a long face after doing some damage with his bat. Instead, he left a batter wondering what happened after Freeman robbed Jose Reyes of a liner down the first base line. Reyes eventually hit a dinger in the eighth inning, but in this moment the Braves got the better of him.

What to Watch on Tuesday

Let’s just say that you might want to keep an eye on what’s going on in Houston tonight. Here’s the aforementioned kerfuffle that went down last night.

While the Astros will be looking to keep the good times rolling after a five-run seventh inning propelled them to victory on Monday, the Rangers will be sending Cole Hamels to the mound in an effort to get things turned around. Hamels hasn’t gotten off to the best start (as evidenced by his 4.61 DRA and 109 cFIP through five outings this season), but he’s going into this game in better shape than his Houston counterpart. Mike Fiers is currently sporting a 6.29 DRA and 118 cFIP through four starts, so we may see some more fireworks in the Lone Star State this evening.

On the other hand, there’s a good chance that we’ll see a pitcher’s duel in Detroit tonight. Cleveland’s Corey Kluber has pitched pretty well in his past couple of starts (including a shutout against the White Sox on April 21 and a 10-strikeout effort against the Astros his last time out), and Justin Verlander is going into this game with a DRA (2.36) that’s two points lower than his ERA (4.60), and he’s also riding the high of a “mechanical adjustment” to boot. If these two continue their run of form, then you should expect a low-scoring affair between the two AL Central rivals.

Demetrius Bell is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Demetrius's other articles. You can contact Demetrius by clicking here

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