Today’s MLB news roundup looks at John Means almost being perfect, the secret to the Yankees’ recent surge, Tony La Russa not knowing the rules and Angel Hernandez being bad.
John Means was almost perfect
John Means threw the first complete game no-hitter for the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday since Jim Palmer in 1969. That ends the longest no-hitter drought in MLB but the no-hitter was painfully close to being a perfect game.
The only baserunner to reach against Means came on a wild pitch on a strikeout. Yes, the only runner to reach came via strikeout. How painful is that for Means? I mean, he still had a no-hitter, so he’s probably not too upset. He’s believed to be the only pitcher to lose a perfect game on a wild pitch on a strikeout. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s hard to suggest Means was anything but on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.
“To be honest, I can’t even put it into words right now. I felt OK all game, didn’t really have a changeup until the end, but glad I got it going,” Means said in the postgame interview with MASN.
The Chicago Cubs are rounding into form
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Cubs, but perhaps it’s about to feature more of the up and less of the down? The Cubs are coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, including the last two via walk-off. This team is feeling themselves and needs to capitalize on this momentum and can make up some ground in the NL Central race.
The Cubs are 15-16 and three games back of the St. Louis Cardinals but with the way Kris Bryant is hitting, fans are hoping that’s contagious and rubs off on Javy Baez, Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo and the rest of the Cubs core starts terrifying opposing pitchers.
Meanwhile, the team they just swept, the Dodgers, are tied with the Detroit Tigers for being the literal worst team in baseball over the last 10 games with a 2-8 record.
The New York Yankees just needed Jay Bruce to retire, apparently
The first month-plus of the MLB season was a disaster for the New York Yankees. Aaron Boone was getting the hot seat treatment and callers into New York sports talk radio were calling him the next Stump Merrill. They couldn’t hit, they couldn’t field, they couldn’t do much of anything right. But then Jay Bruce retired and they became a different team.
Since Bruce retired, the Yankees are 10-4, the best record in baseball over that span. Further, Giancarlo Stanton is sending baseballs to the moon and looks like the former MVP the team traded for. As long as Stanton stays healthy, this team is going to be in the playoffs.
Tony La Russa has been a disaster for the Chicago White Sox
Who could have envisioned Tony La Russa would not have been an instant hit as the new manager of the Chicago White Sox? Oh, I don’t know. Everybody!
The White Sox fell to 16-13 on the year after falling to the Cincinnati Reds in extra innings on Wednesday. They are tied for first place with the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians all while weathering injuries to Eloy Jimenez and most recently, Luis Robert. Still, La Russa has made some baffling moves, decisions and a lack of awareness in his return to the bench.
The latest gaffe came on Wednesday when La Russa used closer Liam Hendriks as a runner to begin start on second base in the 10th inning. Hendriks came into the game in the bottom of the ninth in a double-switch where he occupied the No. 5 spot in the order, which made the final out in the preceding inning. According to MLB rules, the spot in the order that makes the last out is the runner at second base to begin extra innings. But, if that runner is a pitcher, the team can use the batter in front of that spot in the order. Meaning, La Russa didn’t have to waste Hendriks as a runner in extra innings if La Russa knew the rules of baseball.
“I didn’t know that,” La Russa said after the 1-0 loss. “We all thought Liam was going to be the runner. I wasn’t aware Abreu could have run. I thought it was the guy that made the last out or the spot in that order.”
Is the runner on second base a dumb rule? Yes. Is the quirk involving a pitcher not needing to be a runner a little obscure? Sure. Is a Hall of Fame manager who believes he’s the smartest person in every room he walks in expected to know those rules? Damn right. La Russa needs to wear this.
Angel Hernandez needs to get his eyes checked
It wouldn’t be an MLB news roundup without featuring the latest mind-boggling call from Angel Hernandes. The embattled umpire is no stranger to bad calls and definitely no stranger to criticism from fans and players, but he got a tongue-lashing from Royals pitcher, Brady Singer, for his latest blown call.
In the video below, Hernandez calls this a hit by pitch, but the replay clearly shows the ball didn’t make contact with the hitter.
That wasn’t the only call that put Hernandez in the crosshairs of Royals fans on Wednesday night. He also called a balk, which, even if you’ve watched baseball all your life, you still may not know how to identify a balk, but there is some controversy whether Hernandez got this one right or not.
You decide for yourself.