Dusty Baker explains his ballsy decision with Zack Greinke in Game 4
The Astros beat the Rays 4-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday to extend the series. A big turning point came when Astros manager Dusty Baker made a bold call to let Zack Greinke pitch his way out of a sixth inning jam. © Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports Houston was leading 4-2 in the top of the sixth. Greinke got the first batter to ground out, and then Manuel Margot reached on a weak infield single. Austin Meadows followed with a line drive single, putting runners on first and second with one out. Randy Arozarena, who had a 2-run home run in the fourth, was coming up next.
Mariners right -hander Mike Morin has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma, the club’s PR department has announced. Morin had been designated for assignment by Seattle on Thursday. Morin ’s been an above-average reliever throughout the course of his career in terms of
Morin ’s acquisition was the second move this week by the front office to add pitching at no cost. The Phillies signed veteran lefthander Drew Smyly on Friday and will start him Sunday. He is an abnormal reliever for the Phillies. And that could be OK because of an abnormal pitch .
The Marlins have reinstated pitchers Pat Venditte, Mike Morin and Josh A. Smith from the 60-day injured list and outrighted the trio to Triple-A, leaving the club with a 40-man roster, per Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. All three are expected to elect free agency, according to McPherson. © Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Mike Morin, as well as the other pitchers, is expected to elect free agency.
Because of a team-wide coronavirus outbreak early in the season, the Marlins had to scramble to assemble a bullpen, which helps explain why their relievers posted the majors’ fifth-worst ERA (5.50). Venditte and Morin were not part of the problem, however, albeit over a small number of innings.
Trevor Bauer changes stance on signing only one-year deals
Trevor Bauer has taken an unorthodox approach to his impending free agency, but it appears his latest move is a bit more traditional. © David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports Trevor Bauer apparently is willing to sign a multiyear deal. Bauer has said in the past that he only wants to sign one-year deals for the rest of his career. He believed this approach would ensure him flexibility and leverage as well as the opportunity to pitch for a contender.With Bauer about to hit free agency, however, he seems to be changing his stance.
The club claimed right -hander Mike Morin off waivers from the Brewers on Tuesday. Right -hander Justin Shafer and lefty Josh D. Smith were claimed off waivers from the Reds on Monday. The extra relievers join the organization as all of the Marlins ' games through Sunday have been postponed.
Morin pitched four seasons with the Angels until finishing last year with Kansas City.The Royals signed Morin to a one-year deal earlier this week. SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto reached into his past with the Angels on Friday, claiming right -handed reliever Mike Morin off
The ambidextrous Venditte gave the Marlins 4 1/3 frames of one-run ball (unearned), allowed one hit, didn’t walk a batter and struck out 10. Morin was similarly effective, as he threw four scoreless innings with one hit and one walk, though he only posted two strikeouts.
On the other hand, Smith (not to be confused with Josh D. Smith, who was also a Marlins reliever in 2020) had immense difficulty keeping runs off the board. The right-hander recorded an ugly 6.84 ERA (with a more encouraging 4.67 FIP) and 6.15 K/9 against 3.76 BB/9 across 26 1/3 innings.
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Two -Start Pitchers . Morin was claimed off waivers by the Marlins on Tuesday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Morin is expected to join Miami's big-league roster ahead of their next game, the date of which remains uncertain given the team's coronavirus outbreak.
The Marlins have placed Rule 5 pick Riley Ferrell on outright waivers, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (via Twitter). Other organizations will have a chance to claim him; otherwise, he’ll be offered back to the Astros. Ferrell seemed on track to crack the Marlins ’ roster out of camp, but the former third-round
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Related slideshow: The best-hitting pitchers of all time (Provided by Yardbarker)
The best-hitting pitchers of all time
The designated hitter is now being used by both leagues. Most insiders think that the DH is now here to stay in the National League, so with hitting pitchers about to go the way of the dinosaur, it's worth taking a look at those hurlers who raked (relatively speaking).
Backe played eight seasons, from 2002-2009, and most of them were undistinguished, posting a 31-29 career record, with a mediocre 5.23 ERA. However, as a hitter with the Astros — they were still in the National League during his stint — he showed some serious potential. He had four home runs in 133 career at-bats, but power wasn’t the most impressive part of his game; Backe was an overall solid hitter. He finished his career with a .256 average and a .731 OPS.
George Brett’s older brother was a pretty fair player in his own right, posting a career 3.93 ERA in 14 seasons. Given his family history, it’s unsurprising that there was some thunder in his bat. Brett’s two best years as a hitter came in 1973 and 1974, when he combined to hit .281 with six home runs in 167 at-bats, and post a .766 OPS. When accounting for the offensive environment of that era, Brett was, amazingly enough, an above-average hitter relative to his non-pitching peers.
Bullet Joe Bush
Bush possessed both an all-time great nickname and some serious chops as a hitter. His career straddled the end of the Dead-ball era, and the beginning of the Live-ball era. When Bush got significant plate appearances in 1921 and 1922, he proved that not only was he not a pushover, but he also was a tough out. Bush hit .325 in 1921 and .326 the following season and then topped both of those years by hitting .339 in 1924. For his career, he finished with a .253 average and seven home runs.
As far as hitting pitchers go, Drysdale is a legend. He hit 29 home runs in 1,169 career at-bats, but what is particularly amazing about his work as a hitter is that the majority of his production came in two flukish, outlier seasons. As a 21-year-old in 1958, Drysdale hit an astounding seven home runs in just 66 at-bats, good for a .591 slugging percentage and an .852 OPS. Seven years later, at age 28, he hit .300 in 130 at-bats, cracked seven more home runs and had an .839 OPS. Oh, and he won a Cy Young and is in the Hall of Fame. Not bad, not bad at all.
Here’s a pretty good synopsis of Ferrell’s talents as a hitter: His 38 career home runs are the all-time record for a pitcher, he was so good as a hitter that he was often used in a pinch-hitting capacity, and he had two seasons with an OPS better than .950, not to mention two more above .800. Ferrell might have been playing in the 1930s, but those numbers are impressive in any era. He wasn’t too shabby as a pitcher, either, winning 193 games in a 15-year career.
Gallardo had an impressive early start to his career, finishing seventh in the National League Cy Young race in 2010, but his talents weren’t limited to the mound. That same season, he slugged four home runs and finished with an .837 OPS while also managing to hit .254. That was by far his best offensive season. A move to the American League in 2015 finished him as a hitter, but he made the bottom of the Brewers lineup formidable every time he pitched.
A Hall of Famer, and one of the best, most intimidating pitchers in baseball history, Gibson was also no slouch when it came to hitting. He managed to stay above the Mendoza Line for his career, finishing with a .206 average, and he also hit 24 home runs. What was most impressive about his hitting prowess was that he did it while having to deal with headhunting opposing pitchers unhappy about his aggressive inside pitching.
A Hall of Famer and member of the 300-win club, Glavine was always a great natural athlete; good enough to get drafted in the NHL and MLB. He made the right choice when he went with baseball, and his natural athletic talents allowed him to shine at the plate. Glavine had virtually no power, but he was an outstanding bunter, leading the league in sacrifices in 2001 and finishing with 216 for his career. He also managed to hit above .200 in nine of 22 seasons.
A two-time All-Star and 22-game winner in 1999, Hampton’s career was derailed late by injuries, but for a time he was one of baseball’s better starters and possibly its best hitting pitcher. Hampton swatted seven home runs in 2001 and finished the season with a .291 average and an .891 OPS. He hit .300 or better in four separate seasons, though some were small sample sizes, even for a pitcher. Still, Hampton more than earned his reputation as one of the most dangerous hitting pitchers in the league.
Harshman dabbled as a first baseman before switching over to pitcher full time in his mid-20s, and he finished his career with a 69-65 mark and a 3.50 ERA. His work as a hitter was impressive, as he hit 18 home runs in a five-season stretch from 1954-1958. Harshman never hit for great average, as he finished with a .179 career mark, but he took a surprising number of walks, was tough to strike out and had legitimate pop in his bat.
One of the game’s all-time best pitchers, The Big Train was also a fearsome hitter in his day. Johnson won 417 games for Washington, six times leading the league in wins. Johnson hit 24 home runs in a 21-year career and was a .235 career hitter. He was a model of consistency, rarely seeing his average dip below .200 for an entire season, putting up solid numbers. His best season as a hitter came at age 36 when he managed a .433 average and a 1.033 OPS in 97 at-bats.
Larsen is most famous for throwing what remains the only perfect game in postseason history in the 1956 World Series, when he blanked the Brooklyn Dodgers while a member of the Yankees. Larsen could also hit, finishing his career with 14 home runs, a .242 average and a tremendous 1958 campaign, when he hit four home runs and finished with a .935 OPS in just 49 at-bats.
Look at that picture and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Michael Lorenzen got lost on his way to the gym and ended up a member of a Major League Baseball team. The Reds reliever is coming off his best season as a pro, with a 2.92 ERA in 73 appearances, but he’s truly noteworthy because he cuts a physically imposing profile and can also hit the daylights out of the ball. Never was this more evident than in 2018 when Lorenzen hit .290 with four home runs in just 31 at-bats, good for a 1.043 OPS.
Newcombe pulled off a rare MVP-Cy Young sweep with his 27-7 campaign in 1956. In his 10-year career, he won 149 games, the 1949 Rookie of the Year Award and a World Series. Newcombe was also a dangerous hitter. His 1955 season is one of the best you’ll ever see from a pitcher at the plate (non-Babe Ruth category). That year, Newcombe hit .359 in 117 at-bats, with seven home runs, 23 RBI and a 1.028 OPS. He never came all that close to any of those numbers again, but that level of sustained brilliance deserves recognition, as does his excellent career .271 average.
Nuxhall is notable for the fact that he made his MLB debut at age 15, but he carved out a solid career, winning 135 games with a career 3.90 ERA. While he only hit .198 in his 16 seasons, he did have some consistent pop in his bat, with 15 career home runs. Early on he was particularly fearsome, piling up 11 home runs from 1953-1956. He was particularly great in 1953, finishing the year with a .327 average and a .928 OPS.
Owings the pitcher? Nothing to see here. He had a 32-33 record and a 4.86 ERA in a career that spanned six seasons. Ho-hum. Owings the hitter? That was an altogether different story. He burst onto the scenes as a rookie, hitting four home runs in just 60 at-bats and posting a .333 average for the year, not to mention a 1.033 OPS. He followed that up by hitting .304 the following year and then added three more home runs to his total the year after that. Owings hit nine home runs in the majors, and ended his career with a .283 average and an .813 OPS, the latter figure the best all time for a pitcher.
Pappas won 209 games during a 17-year career, and by some measures he doesn’t deserve to be called a great hitting pitcher. He finished his career with a paltry .354 OPS and hit just .123 as a pro. Still, he did manage to clobber 20 home runs, and while I never saw him hit, one gets the sense that he stepped into the batter’s box with one plan: Swing as hard as possible and hope for the best. Nothing but respect for that approach.
Peters won 124 games in a 14-year career and finished with a solid 3.25 ERA. He also made his mark as a hitter. His best season was his rookie campaign in 1963 with the White Sox, one that saw him win Rookie of the Year. That season, Peters hit .259 with three home runs. He would remain a consistent power threat throughout the rest of his career, finishing up with 19 home runs and a .222 average.
Three All-Star selections, the 1935 World Series with Detroit and a terrific nickname; Rowe had it all. He was also a good hitter. In 15 seasons, Rowe clobbered 18 home runs, hit .263, and had an OPS of .710. He hit .300 or better on three separate occasions and failed to hit .200 for a season just four times in those 15 years. And it bears repeating: He went by “Schoolboy.”
Pretty sure you know about this guy. As a pitcher, you might be interested to learn that he went 94-46 in his career with a 2.28 ERA and won the ERA title in 1916, at 1.75. Next!
Spahn won 363 games in a 21-year career, took home the National League Cy Young Award in 1957, was a 17-time All-Star and won a World Series in 1957. He also has the second-most home runs of any pitcher in history, with 35. Spahn was a model of consistency, never hitting more than four round-trippers in a single season but typically knocking a few out of the yard. Aside from a 1958 season that saw him hit .333, Spahn was not a particularly great hitter, but his power more than made up for that.
A guy who went by “Sloppy” doesn’t really need much else added to his story, but Thurston was a good hitting pitcher in the 1920s and 1930s. He finished his nine-year career with a .270 average and hit over .300 four separate times in his career. He never showed much power, with only five home runs, but he was a triples machine, with 10 to his credit.
Tobin had a losing record for his career despite a 3.44 career ERA. He led the league in losses in 1942 but did earn some small measure of revenge, hitting six home runs that season on the way to 17 for his career. Tobin’s career numbers would have looked poor for a position player, but his .230 average and .648 OPS were more than respectable for a pitcher, even in an era where solid hitting from that position was slightly more common.
The longtime Tigers hurler won 170 games in a 15-year career, posting impressive numbers in the process, including an ERA title in 1944. That wasn’t his only significant achievement that season; Trout also hit five home runs, a career best, and batted .271. Trout ended up with 20 home runs for his career and managed to hit better than .200, finishing his time in the majors with a .213 average.
Willis took the league by storm with his Rookie of the Year-winning performance in 2003, going 14-6 and helping lead the Marlins to a World Series in his age-21 season. He went on to lead the National League in wins in 2005, going 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA. Willis was known for his infectious energy and funky windup, but only the first quality applied to his hitting, which was quite traditional and quite dangerous. Willis had just nine home runs for his career, but he hit .244 overall and managed a .286 mark in 2007, with an .856 OPS to boot. Willis’ career might have been short, but he made his mark on the mound and in the batter’s box.
Wilson led the league with 22 wins for the Tigers in 1967, and while he was an above-average pitcher for the duration of his 11-year career, he was nearly as well-known for his prodigious power. Wilson hit 35 home runs in all, including 18 in a three-season stretch from 1964-1966 and was a classic feast-or-famine hitter. He managed just a .195 average overall, but the threat of his power forced opposing pitchers to deal carefully with them, and he still made them pay.
Zambrano was one of the league’s fieriest players over the course of his 12-year career, the kind of player worth the price of admission whether you were cheering for him or not. He led the league with 16 wins for the Cubs in 2006, but his prowess wasn’t limited to the mound. Zambrano was a menace at the plate, with 24 career home runs and a .238 average. Not only that: He was a switch-hitter, and his approach at the plate might have been more intense than it was on the mound. One of the most fun players to watch in recent baseball history, no matter what he was doing.
Astros place closer Roberto Osuna on waivers .
It’s a dramatic fall for the 2017 All-Star selection and 2019 AL saves leader. The Astros acquired him at the MLB trade deadline in 2018, landing him at a discount after he served a 75-game suspension for allegedly assaulting a woman in Canada.During his first full season with the Astros, Osuna recorded 38 saves with a 0.87 WHIP, 2.63 ERA and 73 strikeouts across 65 innings. When the postseason rolled around, he was a disaster.It’s still likely that Osuna will eventually undergo Tommy John surgery given the low success rate of pitchers taking the rehab route for UCL injuries.