Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 4/24/14
Everyone who enjoys a good laugh got one last night if they happened to be watching the Michael Pineda Show at Fenway Park.
Pineda will be facing a lengthy suspension following his expulsion from last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game. The impressive to date comeback for Pineda is going on hold thanks to the “discovery” of a foreign substance on the right side of his neck. Pineda, supposedly because of the cold weather, thought he needed a better grip on the baseball because he didn’t want “to hit anybody” and and decided pine tar on his neck was a good idea.
This was so obvious Inspector Clouseau could have solved the case without a misstep along the way. The same cannot be said for umpire Gerry Davis. The pine tar was visible to everyone watching the game, yet this umpire, in order, checked Pineda’s glove, his arms and his back and kept coming up empty. At one point I was half expecting Davis to conduct a prostate examination to see if Pineda was hiding the pine tar there. After all, Davis did have a glove on his hand, and well…anyway, that thankfully didn’t happen. Davis did however, remove said glove off his hand with his teeth, and then began dabbing his finger on Pineda’s neck. Then he rubbed the substance on his thumb, and subsequently gave Pineda the thumb, ending the evening for the Yankees starter.
This was unintentionally one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen in a long time at a sporting event. But I can’t imagine anyone in the Yankees organization is finding this hilarious right now. The team is strapped for starting pitching as it is, and now Pineda will be absent for at least one, perhaps two starts. Plus, Pineda had been warned by manager Joe Girardi and his pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, to avoid using the substance after it was determined he’d used pine tar on his hand the last time he faced Boston. Pineda got away with it in that game, but wasn’t about to get lucky again this time.
Let’s understand that pine tar gets used constantly by big league pitchers. But they don’t make it as conspicuous as Pineda did here, or in many cases it’s actually the catcher who ends up applying the substance. But what Pineda did was way over the line, particularly since there had already been a warning issued to Yankees management by Joe Torre to make sure there was no repeat of the April 10 incident. I’m not buying the Girardi explanation that he didn’t know anything about it, nor apparently did anyone else in a Yankee uniform. If that’s actually the case, those people need to wake up.
Anyway, the Pineda Show was a hit in my household and was good for an extended laugh. Just imagine how uproariously funny this might be if the Yankees end up missing the playoffs by one or two games this season, and those turn out to be losses in games a suspended Pineda was supposed to have pitched.
Another solid result for me on Wednesday, although the loss by the underdog Marlins was frustrating, though nonetheless probably deserved. Once again, the genius of Mike Redmond at work here, as he continues to insist on implementing that inane sacrifice bunt. 0/3 with this ploy on Wednesday against the Braves. You’d think he might catch on at some point, but I wouldn’t bank on it. My other two plays got there, as both the Reds and Indians earned victories.
MLB is sitting at +22.6 net for the season (that includes +1.9 on a few exhibition games), so everyone on my subscriber list seems to be reasonably happy right now. If you’re up for joining me, my packages are available using the “Buy Now” feature on this page. The best option on that menu is the April Baseball Special, which is a full 30-day run of all my plays , with a nice guarantee built in. Get all the info by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just sign up today to get started.
The Wednesday free play on the Reds paid off, and I’ll stay in the National League for today’s comp. By the way, daily free plays are now sitting at 61-49 for 2014 and 450-339 since I started them a couple of years ago. That’s a little better than 57% on almost 800 plays, making the daily comp one of the better return on risk investments you’re likely to find, especially since there’s no actual investment.
04/24 11:20 AM MLB (905) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (906) CHICAGO CUBS
Take: (905) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS +107
Happy Anniversary to Wrigley Field, which had quite the celebration of 100 years of memories yesterday. Of course, the current Cubs just had to pick this day to screw things up as they’ve done so many times in those 100 years. The Cubbies blew a 5-2 ninth inning lead in falling 7-5 to the struggling Diamondbacks. No one seemed too disappointed, with the exception of some little guy in the stands who was crying over the defeat. Better get used to it, kid.
This was a desperately needed pick me up for Arizona, as the Snakes are having a miserable time of it and things just got worse as they’re now going to be minus slugging Mark Trumbo for quite some time thanks to a stress fracture. Murphy’s Law is not just following the Diamondbacks around this season, it’s downright stalking them.
Rookie Mike Bolsinger gets the start for ‘Zona in today’s series windup. He’s not a high level prospect, but sometimes rookies don’t need to be to do reasonably well. Once whatever the book on Bolsinger is becomes familiar to big league hitters, he’s probably going to be headed out of the rotation and either off to the bullpen or back to the minors. But Bolsinger might have a chance to steal a couple of wins, and I think there’s a good chance he can notch one today.
Edwin Jackson is making the start for the Cubs. Jackson actually seems too be getting worse overall, which really isn’t shocking as there are lots of miles on that arm. The veteran righty has yet to go past the sixth inning and while he’s had some rotten luck with a bloated BABIP of .403, I’m really not seeing a silver lining in the Jackson cloud.
Actually, I don’t see the starting pitchers being the ones involved in this eventual decision. The forecast I’m seeing says it’s big wind blowing out on Thursday at Wrigley, and if that’s the case, this will get decided by the bullpens. The Diamondbacks don’t have what anyone is going to tag as an elite reliever corps, but it’s better than what the Cubs can counter with.
Even minus Trumbo, in what is yet another tough break for the Snakes, they at least have a little positive momentum going their way off the nice comeback yesterday afternoon. The idea of Jackson being even a small favorite considering what I’ve seen from him is thoroughly unappealing. To be honest, so is the prospect of backing Bolsinger and a team that has won just six games. But this is a game I think the Diamondbacks have a decent chance to win, so I’ll shade that side today.