At 12:23 p.m. local time Wednesday, Lance McCullers Jr. jogged out of the first-base dugout, jumped across the base line and snatched the ball off the pitcher's mound. He then circled to the back of the hill and bent over briefly to inscribe a marking in the dirt before toeing the rubber and firing his first warmup pitch.
Over and over during Miami’s game against Houston on Wednesday, the Marlins just couldn’t quite make plays when they needed to. There was a drop here. A strikeout there. A miscommunication somewhere else.
Earlier in his career with the Pirates — and with the help of Jim Benedict and Ray Searage — Morton had dropped his arm slot and and adopted the two-seamer as his primary pitch. His new, and present, delivery reminded many of Roy Halladay.
Jose Altuve's two-triple, two-double performance Wednesday wasn't only the first of its kind in Astros history, but the first in the majors since 2005.
Over the winter, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow suggested top pitching prospect Francis Martes could follow a similar trajectory to Lance McCullers in 2015. McCullers debuted on May 18 that year, and save for a brief demotion to preserve his innings he spent the rest of the season in the major league rotation.
The first place Astros are red hot, and they're open to adding pieces in the coming weeks.
Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., is the kind of place parents send their kids to keep them out of trouble. The campus is small, tidy and relatively sleepy on the weekends for a college town. It also feels pretty remote.
There are some very nice surprises in baseball so far, you bet, from Yankee Stadium to Coors Field. The Houston Astros just don't happen to be one of them.
Around the League
The museum is important to Jones, and making sure it’s around for others is important to him, too.
Since the League Championship Series format began in 1969, it’s tough to find a “Final Four” of baseball that’s fallen on harder times two years later than 2015’s quartet of the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays.
Those who watch Clayton Kershaw up close know all about his no-nonsense approach to his profession. Everybody else got to see it Wednesday.