After giving up seven runs for the Mariners in the first four innings, Michael Lorenzen was looking to soak up at least one or two more innings for the Angels on Friday night and give the bullpen a little break before Saturday’s doubleheader at T-Mobile. could. park.
With two outs in the fifth inning and facing Justin Upton, who had been his teammate in spring training a few months earlier, Lorenzen fired a 2-2 fastball to the bottom inner corner of the strike zone.
Instead, the 91-mph fastball headed toward Upton’s head, hit him on the helmet between the bill and the crown, and knocked him to the ground.
A stunned Upton remained on the field when he spoke to manager Scott Servais, while athletic trainers Kyle Torgerson and Taylor Bennett checked on him. Upton eventually walked off the field and returned to the lineup as the designated hitter on Saturday afternoon.
Clearly upset after hitting Upton, Lorenzen was equally upset after the game, discussing what happened to the pitch.
“I don’t know what Major League Baseball is playing with In Baseball, but that completely got out of my hands,” he told the Orange County Register. “It’s just crazy, man. As a kid you thought Major League Baseball was the greatest thing ever, and you get here and you know what they’re doing? Suddenly they’re going to change baseball.” I know (Kevin) Gossman had an issue in Toronto. So it’s a league-wide thing. These baseballs are slick. They hurt somebody. So it’s on Major League Baseball to be sure. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Later in the game, reliever Ryan Tapera nearly threw three different baseballs into the dugout and kept asking umpire Hunter Wendelstedt for new ones because he felt slick.
“These baseballs are straight out of the package — every single one of them, so you can throw them out however you want,” Lorenzen said. “It started last night. Throw them all out you want to get new ones, but they’re all like that. It looks like league-wide. It looks like a well-planned operation, which is ridiculous. “
According to reports, Lorenzen never used clever baseball as the reason for his poor performance, only hitting Upton.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin offered ideas ahead of Saturday’s doubleheader.
“We’re getting a bunch here in the dugout, they’re basically out of the box,” he said. “It’s scary. The ball that hit Upton, as Lou said, slipped right out of his hand. He feels terrible for hitting it. But as he said, when the ball wasn’t rubbed like that So he found it difficult to catch the ball. When you get the ball on the mound, that’s all you can do.”
In addition to Lorenzen, Kevin Gossman and Yimi Garcia of the Blue Jays, as well as Chris Bassit of the Mets, have made similar complaints.
“I know (the Mariners) are using that,” Nevin said. “Some people threw some balls which they didn’t like which I saw during the game.”
At the Mariners’ Clubhouse, there was a knowing signal from the pitcher when asked about it.
Robbie Ray, who was a no-hitter in the seventh inning on Friday night, said baseballs were better at the start of the game, but got slicker as the game progressed. He pointed to the number of baseballs that were rubbed and sanctioned to start the game, and the number of those fouled, thrown into the crowd, or discarded as a result of a scuffle.
“I don’t know if they run out of rubbed balls and they’re scrambling to rub up more, but it looks like the balls are slower later in the game,” he said.
But it’s not just a change from the start of the game to the end of the game. It varies from stadium to stadium.
“It’s different in every stadium,” Ray said. “The balls here have been some of the slickest. I know they have a guy who is rubbing them off and they have to take for granted so I’m not sure how they are doing it or why they differ so much from stadium to stadium. ,
Reliever Penn Murphy, who replaced Ray in the eighth inning and retired three hitters faced with strikeouts, was not pleased with the spirit of baseball.
“Yeah, they’re very bad here,” he said. “Not going into the early part of the game, I don’t know how the beginners feel. But I mean, there are other people in the bullpen that I’ve talked to at length here. And I think out of all the parks T-Mobile has been the hardest baseball we’ve ever thrown.
Murphy doesn’t think it’s the season.
“There’s still a shine on baseball,” he said. “That’s kind of the shiny kind of thing. For me, personally, the last three outings have been really bad. Two of them I’ve thrown decently, so it’s not even that I’m bothered about the result. Not one of them came my way, but in general, it has been very uncomfortable and very difficult to throw. ”
Discomfort isn’t hitting a player in the head, which is a worst-case scenario, but not being able to feel that it can be controlled, let alone commands.
“It’s just, it’s a matter of mental rest,” Murphy said. “It’s just a little bit of ‘It doesn’t feel great.’ It makes a difference in the world. It’s not like you’re trying to throw something out there that’s covered with snot. It’s not like it’s trying to jump out of your hand. But it’s about you There’s a little bit in the back of the head: ‘I just know I’m not that good at this baseball.’ ,
When Tapera was throwing a baseball because he was not rubbed in the eighth inning, it was something Murphy had seen before the other relievers.
“I felt her pain,” he said. “I went there. It’s tough. I’ve bowled a few balls and I got another ball back and it’s like that. Because it’s our home ground and I’ve pitched here before, I know that The balls are bad. So I give up looking for the perfect golden goose. But it’s been frustrating. It sucks when you get the ball and you say, ‘I have to throw my pitch with it?’ It’s slippery. It hasn’t been rubbed.”
Ray himself didn’t want to talk much about baseball. For them it was about their preparation.
“I’ve been pitching in this league for eight years and baseball has been different every year,” he said. “I expect baseballs to be different. They’re hand-stitched so they’re all going to be a little different. Baseball is baseball, but what they believe to be rubbing is something that is considered universal and that We can control. I think that is the biggest issue.”
Murphy, who was recently scolded for having rosin on the wrist of the glove, has a solution.
“We have to be able to use some kind of sticky stuff,” he said. “There are a lot of substances that we know don’t increase the action, spin rate and don’t offer any added bonus effects like your pitch size. Why can’t we use that? Yeah, you want people to head over to Shoot? Be my guest, MLB. It’s the little things. Good idea Fairy comes along, and they just have to make up arbitrary rules out of nowhere or out of thin air. It doesn’t do anything to affect the game. It’s only Makes it difficult.”