It’s the scariest play in baseball–the line drive comebacker right at the pitcher. No matter where the pitcher gets hit, it can cause serious damage that could potentially end a career.
Batters face the same risk at the plate–if the pitcher is just a fraction of a degree off on his release point, a 95+ miles per hour fastball could end up hitting the batter.
We have seen countless instances of both batters and pitchers (not to mention baserunners and fielders) getting seriously injured on freak plays. Some miss a few weeks, others a few months, others never come back. Some players just don’t play at the same level that they did prior to the injury. Whatever the case, Major League Baseball (and all sports for that matter), owe it to their athletes to make these freak plays as infrequent as possible.
It’s still hard to wrap my head around last night’s loss to the Ravens, but I’m doing my best. Justin Tucker’s 61-yard field goal may have won the game, but it really shouldn’t have. Matthew Stafford has been mired in a serious fourth quarter slump the past few weeks, which continued last night. Although he threw for what was then the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes left, Stafford also threw two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter.
With the Lions now in third place in the NFC North, and needing A LOT of help to make the playoffs, we can’t look at Stafford with the rose-colored glasses that we have been since he came to Detroit. Yes, Stafford guided the team to the playoffs in 2011, and has been a stabilizing force in a massive rebuilding project for the Lions, but it all means nothing if he can’t close out a game.
Along with the major trades and free agent signings that took place at the Winter Meetings this week, Major League Baseball has also decided on a rule change that could possibly be in place by next season.
In an effort to limit concussions and gruesome injuries like Buster Posey’s broken leg, the MLB rules committee has decided to rid the game of collisions at home plate. The rule will go into effect by 2015 at the latest, but could be implemented in 2014 if the player’s union approves the decision.
There’s always a method to Dave Dombrowski’s madness, right? Let’s try to explain this one.
The Tigers last night completed a trade that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals for pitchers Robbie Ray and Ian Krol, and utilityman Steve Lombardozzi. Krol is a lefthanded reliever that will add another arm to an atrocious bullpen from last year, and Lombardozzi is a Don Kelly-esque player (whom the team also re-signed yesterday) who can play multiple positions while providing a switch-hitting bat off the bench.
The trade did benefit the Tigers–most notably, trading Fister now gives room for Drew Smyly to jump up to the starting rotation for next season. Lombardozzi will replace Ramon Santiago and also serve as a decent pinch-hitting option. Krol joins a bullpen that was just terrible last season in hopes of finding his own way. Ray will start 2014 in the minor leagues, where the Tigers hope he can continue to grow into a legitimate pitching prospect, of which Detroit has none. Ray was named the #5 prospect in the Nationals’ system by Baseball America, and took some significant steps forward in his velocity and overall development.
So, the Tigers clearly got some useful tools, but was that return enough for trading Doug Fister?