According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, former All-Star pitcher Josh Johnson will undergo his 3rd Tommy John surgery. In today’s display of statistical cherrypicking, few were better than Johnson between 2008 and 2011, between his first Tommy John surgery and his issues with shoulder inflammation. In that time span (minimum 500 IP), Johnson had an ERA of 2.81, 3rd best in baseball behind Adam Wainwright and Roy Halladay. He was traded to the Blue Jays in the blockbuster trade that sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck to Toronto in exchange for Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, and a host of others. He struggled mightily in Toronto in 2013 to a 6.20 ERA over 81 1/3 IP, though ERA estimators xFIP and SIERA had him at 3.58 and 3.66, respectively. He signed with San Diego in 2014 and 2015 on a couple of low-risk deals, but has yet to throw a pitch for them. The 3rd Tommy John surgery means Johnson will likely sit out for the 2016 season, his third straight full season without appearing in the major leagues.
Elsewhere around MLB, the Nationals beat the Phillies by a score of 4-0 last night behind Stephen Strasburg. Combined with the Mets’ loss, that reduces the Mets’ lead to 8.5 games and leaves their magic number at 10. For a brief period yesterday, the Mets had the largest division lead in baseball, 9.5 games to Kansas City’s 9, but with a KC win and a Minnesota loss, (combined with the Nats’ win and Mets loss), KC has regained that title.
There’s a lot of talk around MLB about how much Yoenis Cespedes has fueled the Mets’ turnaround. Jayson Stark wrote an article I linked to yesterday saying how historic and instrumental he has been [link] However, Rob Neyer of Just A Bit Outside says giving Cespedes credit alone is a disservice to the rest of the team that has picked it up around him, mainly Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, Wilmer Flores, and David Wright. It’s an interesting and important read, lest we ignore how absolutely fantastic Travis d’Arnaud has been since his return [Just A Bit Outside]
In other Mets news, the team confirmed that they will pitch Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey against the Yankees this weekend. The series will be very important to the Yankees, who are chasing the Blue Jays for the division title. The Yankees currently sit 3.5 games back of Toronto. For the Mets, the series will be less important, but by pitching Matz, Syndergaard, and Harvey, the Mets are certainly doing the Yankees no favors.
NBC Sports’ recap of yesterday’s scores, including the Texas Rangers taking sole possession of 1st place from the Houston Astros. Who allowed the leadoff single to Prince Fielder in the bottom of the 9th? Our old friend Oliver Perez of course!
- ESPN: Jerry Crasnick rates the non-waiver deadline deals so far, and no surprise, the Mets come in first.
- Grantland: Want a story about Bartolo Colon’s hitting ability and a chance to relive all of his 8 hits this season? This is the story for you!
- SB Nation: The Cleveland Indians’ fireworks operator was a little over-anxious when Kansas City’s Alex Rios hit a solo home run. The Indians lost the game 2-0.
- SB Nation: Giants’ star pinch hitter and all-around superhuman Madison Bumgarner managed to draw a walk against fellow superhuman Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds while the Giants were down 8-5 in the 8th inning. It was the first walk all season Chapman has given up after being up 0-2 on a batter. The Giants managed to tie the game, but lost 9-8 in 10.
- NBC Sports/Hardball Talk: Barry Zito is back in the majors!
- Fangraphs: Other incredible runs this season like that of Yoenis Cespedes
- Fangraphs: Jeff Sullivan on why the American League remains the superior of the two leagues
- Just A Bit Outside: Why haven’t stolen bases returned?
- ESPN: I always thought Miami’s Christian Yelich looked familiar, and after he met with SNL’s Pete Davidson before last night’s game, I certainly see the resemblance.
- Deadspin: Hey look, Jon Lester actually picked someone off!
- JABO: Baseball needs to adjust after 58 players and 24 pitchers (both records) were used in last night’s 16-inning Rockies-Dodgers game