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Umpires and the Halo Bullpen Conspire to Make Judge the MVP

Bud Norris may be our closer, but I count 5 relievers with better WHIPs than him.

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Because I am a lazy and poor college student, during the summer weekends I generally sit at home and do nothing. Last Sunday afternoon, however, my brother had a piano recital, and I took the opportunity to get off my computer and go see my old piano teacher. While I sat, enjoying the music, I looked at the program and saw that the next performer was a kid named, well, let me give him an alias for privacy. I’ll call him Alias. I had remembered Alias from a couple of years past, and he never sounded musical at all, frequently pounding the keys with fury and without purpose, lashing out at them like they’d done something wrong. However, when I heard him yesterday, I was stunned. He started his Beethoven Sonata with a light touch I had never expected from Alias, and the notes sang from the keys. Halfway through, he seemed to suffer a relapse, and he went back to pounding the keys with fury.

On the car ride home, I had a discussion with my brother about Alias, commenting that he seemed improved for part of the performance. My brother replied, “Yes, he was playing really well, but halfway through, he thought, ‘Wait, I’m Alias; I’m not supposed to be musical,’ and relapsed.” I laughed.

But sadly, that is what happened tonight. Mike Scioscia has been great all year managing the bullpen, save for Jose Alvarez and Bud Norris, the gritty veterans. Now yesterday’s game required us to use many guys out of the pen, including the aforementioned Alvarez and Norris, but today, Scioscia looked down at his sheet in the 8th inning and thought, “Wait, I’m Mike Scioscia, I’m not supposed to manage a bullpen well,” and summoned Alvarez from the pen when we needed a shutdown inning. Of all the relievers.

The rest is history. Sidenote: Why does it matter which handed-pitcher pitches to a switch hitter? They still have the advantage. Aaron Hicks doubled, prompting Bud Norris to come in and serve a two-run HR to the not-MVP Aaron Judge. Scioscia, who prides himself on outthinking opposing managers by using all available strategy (LOOGYs, bunts, hit-and-runs, and IBBs), inexplicably decided not to IBB Judge, thinking that since he was 1-3 with a weak single and a walk before the HR, he must obviously not be dangerous. So that happened.

The day was slightly better before that. The draft went well (see HERE and HERE), and Kole Calhoun even decided to hit a towering shot to center off Masahiro Tanaka, second-highest ERA in the majors coming into today, in the first inning. Alex Meyer, who was not getting any calls at all from Tony Randazzo behind the plate, worked out of the first two innings, but finally cracked in the 3rd when two two-out walks were followed by a Didi Gregorius RBI single.

Didi struck again in the 5th, singling in Judge, and in the 7th, when he was IBB’d so Chase Headley could single in Judge. (Is that why Soth didn’t use the IBB? If so, smh.) Luis Valbuena had a chance to cut the lead in the 6th, but he grounded out with runners on second and third to end the inning.

Things didn’t look good, but the #tod struck back, with Eric Young Jr. hitting a little nubber that Headley couldn’t field and stealing second on a Martin Maldonado strikeout. Danny Espinosa singled EYJ in, and Cameron Maybin doubled Espinosa in, before everything exploded again the next inning.

Incidentally, the Angels hit a lot of baseballs hard tonight that found their way into gloves, and the way the offense has been going of late, every other game, I think they should break out tomorrow in a big way.



This poll is closed

  • 23%
    The umps
    (51 votes)
  • 47%
    Mike Scioscia
    (104 votes)
  • 22%
    The bullpen
    (50 votes)
  • 7%
    Luis Valbuena
    (16 votes)
221 votes total Vote Now