Happy Mash Mervis Day to all of those who celebrate. Oh, who am I kidding. All of you celebrate Mash Mervis Day.
- The Tampa Bay Rays just keep on winning. After yesterday’s win over Pittsburgh, the Rays are now 26-6, the earliest a team has gotten to 20 games over .500 since the 1984 Tigers. That Tigers team is legendary, as they didn’t cool off until after they made it to 35-5. And of course, they won the World Series.
- Chris Gilligan explains just how good these Rays are.
- Jayson Stark has a roundup of what we’ve learned after 30 days of the 2023 season. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Mark Feinsand polled anonymous MLB executives about their thoughts about the first month.
- MLB players offer their opinions on the new rules after a month. Ian Happ is one of the players interviewed.
- Ben Lindbergh notes that the pitch clock has not only shortened games, it has made them a much more uniform length.
- David Schoenfield evaluates all the current division leaders by how “real” their starts are. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Dan Szymborski asks if the Pirates have a chance to win the National League Central. Answer: Well, it is the NL Central, so yeah. They’ve got a chance.
- Mark Feinsand goes back to his anonymous executives for their thoughts if the Pirates are for real.
- Jeff Passan breaks down how the Orioles became a contending ballclub.
- If you’re upset over the recent road trip, at least console yourself that the Cubs aren’t the worst team in the NL. That would be the St. Louis Cardinals, who have lost six in a row. Emma Baccellieri has three reasons why the Cardinals stink. So far, at least.
- Ben Clemens notes that the Cardinals poor play comes despite Génesis Cabrera turning into a quality closer this year.
- Of course, the worst team in baseball is still the Athletics, and they’re still moving to Las Vegas. Or are they? The team’s purchase of land is contingent upon the Nevada state legislature passing a funding bill for a new stadium and time is running out in this session for a bill to get passed. The Speaker of the Nevada assembly said that a bill should have been on the floor “last week” if they wanted to get it passed this legislative session. The next session isn’t for two more years.
- You might want to look at this Twitter thread for more on the A’s situation. This writer thinks that there is a good chance that A’s owner John Fisher is in serious financial difficulty. Maybe he’s hoping to con the state of Nevada to pay for the entire stadium because he can’t afford to chip in his part anymore.
- At least one A’s fan is encouraging fans to attend weekday games this year, rather than boycott.
- Michael Bauman writes that A’s outfielder Esteury Ruiz has been a positive player for the team this year—but mostly because he’s getting hit by pitches at a record rate.
- Here’s more on the plans to build a new building for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Justice B. Hill writes that the people behind the Negro Leagues Museum are (justifiably) taking advantage of fact that “Black baseball” is having a “moment” right now. And there’s more on the new museum.
- In college baseball, Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon was fired yesterday after he was linked to “suspicious betting activity” surrounding the team last week. That’s about all the detail we have at the moment. But that’s the deal that society has made when they decided to go whole hog on sportsbooks.
- Kyle Glaser notes that the new “pre-tacked” baseballs being used in the Southern League this year are raising alarm bells. Keep that in mind when you see the stat lines of Smokies players.
- Will Leitch looks at how each team’s “big” acquisition of the offseason is doing.
- Hannah Keyser reports that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman doesn’t have an answer for the team’s poor start. The Yankees are 17-15, but that’s last place in the AL East.
- Cashman insists that the Yankees are still a “championship-caliber” team and that fans shouldn’t give up on them, reports Cydney Henderson.
- Mets pitcher Justin Verlander made his first start of the season and gave up home runs to the first two batters he faced. However, he stayed in the game and those were the only two runs he allowed over five innings. Still, the Mets lost to the Tigers, 2-0.
- Ben Clemens looks at the “impossible” early return of Phillies slugger Bryce Harper from Tommy John surgery.
- MLB has denied the Phillies’ request that Harper be given more time to put an arm brace on when running the bases before the hitter is assessed a pitch-clock violation.
- The Rays Zach Eflin was ordered to remove his wedding ring during a game.
- Diamondbacks infielder Ketel Marte considered giving up switch-hitting this past winter. But Nick Piecoro reports on how Ketel got his groove back—from both sides of the plate.
- This story from Sam Blum is getting a lot of attention. On its face, it’s a fine little story on how Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon is struggling to hit for power, even if he’s getting on base at a healthy clip. (The Athletic sub. req.) But why it’s getting attention is for this paragraph:
The Athletic requested to speak with Angels hitting coach Marcus Thames. However, under a recently revised policy, the Angels allow coaches to speak to the media on a case-by-case basis. They did not permit Thames to speak to The Athletic about Rendon because the potential line of questioning was deemed too negative. The team said it prefers manager Phil Nevin to handle such questions.
So the Angels won’t let their coaches answer questions from the media that they deem to be “negative.” Hoo boy.
- J.J. Cooper has a big story on how artificial intelligence could impact baseball.
- Evan Drellich reports that the $185 million class action settlement with minor league players for back pay is on hold because two lawyers (representing 4 players) object to the terms. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- The MLB Pipeline guys have a future closer for each MLB team. Can we get Daniel Palencia now?
- And finally, Grant Brisbee notes that in a photograph of an iPad screen in 2015, there were 12 suggestions for rules changes in baseball. Nine of those rules have since been adopted. Brisbee offers his thoughts on the three that have yet to come into play. (The Athletic sub. req.)
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Now go enjoy Mash Mervis Day, however you choose to celebrate.