Dave’s Free Plays, Thursday 5/21/15
The hottest player in baseball had a very short evening on Wednesday. Bryce Harper was sent to the showers by umpire Marvin Hudson after protesting a called strike in the matchup between the Yankees and Nationals. Needless to say, the fans in attendance weren’t at all happy with this expulsion, and neither was Washington skipper Matt Williams, who also got sent packing by Hudson.
Harper is unpopular with some fans because of his wear it on the sleeve emotions on the field, so there was not even mild surprise here when Bryce started getting ripped on Twitter for his latest outburst. To be fair, he broke the rules and technically, getting the thumb from Hudson was not an incorrect decision. But I will offer that it was over the top and that umpires are also responsible for keeping their cool, in fact even more than the players.
If you watched how the scenario unfolded, in fact, I think more of the blame here falls on Hudson. Harper was seen saying something following a called strike on a pitch that was actually a ball. But he was already back in the batter’s box and the incident had apparently concluded when Hudson turned his attention to the Nationals dugout. At that point, Harper stepped back out of the box and began pointing and he was then thrown out by Hudson. It was pretty apparent that Harper was pointing to the box to indicate he had already dug back in for the next pitch, but that was apparently also missed by Hudson.
“I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump”, said Harper. He’s right. I understand there will be some who will defend Hudson here, but if you watched how the entire scene unfolded it’s tough to do so, at least from this observer’s vantage point. Players should not be thrown out unless they clearly step over the line. It’s really that simple. In this case, I feel the umpire made himself the star of the show, and that shouldn’t ever be the case.
Another 1-1 split on Wednesday for me, with a comfortable winner on the Diamondbacks and yet another come from ahead one run loss, this time on the Blue Jays. I thought Jays skipper John Gibbons helped give this one away, but I’ll pass on ranting and will just accept the loss on that game.
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Tyson Ross walking the opposing pitcher turned out to be huge as the Padres ended up losing to the Cubs as the Wednesday free play. By the way, Matt Kemp really looks like he needs a day off. Tonight, a rare O/U call on the game at Fenway park.
(971) RANGERS @ RED SOX (Rodriguez/Buchholz)
Take: UNDER 8.5 +100 (Don Best consensus at publication time)
The Red Sox were supposed to be a team with questionable pitching but a productive offense. The first part of that equation has certainly held up. But it’s now the anemic Boston attack that has the Fenway faithful frustrated.
The Red Sox have put up some abysmal offensive stats this month, and the stickout is a mind numbing inability to get anything done with runners in scoring position. Boston is now back to two games below .500, and while they’re still very much in the thick of things in the shaky AL East, this is not a good baseball team right now.
The Rangers have done a little better lately, but they’re still not much of a team, and I still find it hard to believe this team will win more than maybe 70 games.
Tonight’s game could be another pitching duel. Wandy Rodriguez has been a bit of a pleasant surprise for Texas, and the Red Sox are having an bad time of it against opposing southpaws. Clay Buchholz will go for Boston. Buchholz has been better on the road than at Fenway, but I like the way he’s throwing the ball and the Rangers don’t fare well offensively against righties.
The first two games in this series have each stayed Under the number, with only 10 runs total crossing the plate in two games. I see more of the same in store tonight. Buchholz is pitching healthy and his ERA is totally misleading when looking at the metrics. Rodriguez is no great shakes, but he’s done well in a small sample on the road and southpaws are chewing up the Red Sox hitters this season. The total looks a shade high to me, and with the Over currently favored as I’m writing this, I can make a decent case for playing the Rangers and Red Sox to stay Under once again tonight.
FanDuel Thursday 5/21/15 Value Play
Ryan Raburn, OF $2200
Trying to find a hitter at a bargain price that’s facing John Danks seems like a decent strategy. I’ll use that ad the jumping off point here. The flip side is that the Indians are not a team that exactly mashes lefties. But platoon OF Ryan Raburn does and he has manhandled Danks over the years. Raburn is 17/47 with four taters against Danks, and my guess is he’ll be hitting cleanup tonight. Make sure and check the Cleveland lineup before locking in Raburn, but at the ultra-cheap $2200 the Indians OF is worth grabbing tonight.