In his first day after being promoted to the high-A St. Lucie Mets, Tim Tebow once again proved his flair for the dramatic -- or at least remaining in the news -- as he homered in the bottom of the second inning of the nightcap of a doubleheader.
Batting eighth as the DH in the first game, Tebow went 1-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. In the second game, playing left field, he went 2-for-3. Remember, he also homered in his first game for low-A Columbia to start the season and in his third game, though he then hit just one more in his next 61 games. That's apparently enough to get him promoted.
Look, Tebow isn't a good minor league baseball player. At the same time, he hasn't been a complete embarrassment, hitting .220/.311/.336 for Columbia, a .648 OPS that is 22 points below the team mark of .670.
There's no doubt that the Mets signed Tebow as much for the publicity as for belief in Tebow as a future major leaguer, although I'll buy into Sandy Alderson's suggestion that younger teammates -- some of whom are real prospects -- can learn from Tebow's work ethic and leadership. The criticism that Tebow is costing somebody a job is a little silly. There are hundreds of minor league players who have no shot of getting out of Class A, let alone ever making the majors.
What is becoming more likely, however, is the possibility of Tebow making a September cameo for the Mets. That would be an embarrassment for an organization that has been a joke this season, from Matt Harvey's "migraine" headache to the possible mishandling of injuries to Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes to the criticism of strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Barwis, a friend of Jeff Wilpon who had no baseball background when hired.
Wilpon is the son of Fred Wilpon, the team chairman, and though Anderson is a long-tenured baseball man, he ultimately answers to the Wilpons, and the Tebow decision ultimately will be theirs. The fact that Tebow is hitting .220-something -- at least at the moment -- and not .089 could be viewed as justification that having him play a few games in September isn't a terrible idea. Hey, more jerseys to hawk and a few extra tickets sold!
But the major leagues aren't the minors. You need to earn a call-up to The Show. Think of the guy who spends seven or eight years in the minors and never makes it. Tebow wouldn't deserve a cameo over somebody such as that. It would reek of when the Reds gave a few at-bats to Pete Rose Jr. in 1997, though even he hit 25 home runs in the minors that year and had spent years riding the buses in the low minors.
Maybe I'm making too big of a leap here, but the Mets so often appear dysfunctional that you have to assume the Wilpons have only their own self-interest at heart. I predict that Tebow will get an at-bat or two in the major leagues.
And he'll probably hit a home run.
Play of the day, maybe the month and candidate for best of the year. Rockies fans would rather I not write about the 5-3 loss to the Giants, their eighth in a row, so let's instead look to this play by Nolan Arenado:
Even Arenado smiled after that one. True, the batter was pitcher Ty Blach, but he actually has been used as a pinch runner twice this season, and it looked like he got down the line pretty quickly. So great stop, great creativity, great throw.
Of course, Arenado making a web gem is nothing new, as he's going for his fifth Gold Glove in five seasons. Remarkably, in that short time in the majors, he already ranks 12th all time in fielding runs saved above average, according to Baseball-Reference.com:
Granted, fielding measurements aren't precise, especially for earlier generations, but there's no arguing about the players above Arenado. All had excellent defensive reputations, with the possible exception of Boggs, though even he won two Gold Gloves late in his career.
As for the Rockies, it has been an ugly stretch of baseball. This was the first sweep of the season for the Giants, which followed a sweep at Dodger Stadium, which followed two losses at home to Arizona. The Rockies have been outscored 66-23 in this stretch. The starting pitching has been wretched, the bullpen terrible and the offense putrid. Bud Black's lineup on Wednesday was pretty awful, with three backups plus Ian Desmond and Trevor Story, neither of whom has been that good. The Rockies have hit .206/.270/.270 in the eight losses, so don't point fingers only at the starting pitchers.
So long, Miguel Montero. After he complained that the Nationals swiped seven bases on him because of Jake Arrieta's slow times to home plate, the Cubs decided to avoid any further clubhouse conflict by designating Montero for assignment. Montero was mostly correct, but runners are also 31-for-31 stealing bases against him (the one caught stealing he is credited with on Baseball-Reference was actually a pitcher pickoff).
Although Montero has hit well in limited playing time, he is clearly a defensive liability at this point, and his reputation as a me-first player didn't help. Remember, this is the guy who whined about not playing enough in the postseason last year. "It was a different emotion because I didn't get a chance to play. I was a little disappointed, to be honest, because I felt like I did a good job in the regular season but was left out a little bit," he said a couple of days after the Cubs won a World Series. I guess he doesn't hide things, but even with David Ross' retirement, it was a little surprising that the Cubs brought him back. As a backup catcher, you can't be a pain in the butt, especially when you can't throw anybody out on the bases.
Of course, the fact that Montero called out Arrieta is hardly the reason that the Cubs are .500 after a loss to the Nationals. This is:
#Cubs starting pitching thru first 78 games of season— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 29, 2017
2016: 2.54 ERA, 492.2 IP, 42 HR, 54 QS
2017: 4.52 ERA, 426.0 IP, 64 HR, 31 QS
John Lackey, who gave up three home runs Wednesday, is up to 24 home runs allowed and is on pace for 50, which would tie Bert Blyleven's single-season record. The difference is that Blyleven still had a pretty decent season, worth 4.3 WAR, as he pitched 271 innings.
Tough day for the Mariners. First, the Mariners announced that Drew Smyly, who hadn't pitched since spring training, will undergo Tommy John surgery. Smyly threw 25 pitches in a simulated game on Sunday and came out of it feeling pain in his elbow. That's a tough blow for the Mariners, who have burned through 13 starting pitchers. Smyly was acquired to replace Taijuan Walker in the Seattle rotation, and after an electric outing in the World Baseball Classic -- he was throwing harder than normal -- he came up with a sore elbow. The timing is particularly tough, as he'd be eligible for free agency after 2018, but depending on his rehab time of 12 to 15 months, he could end up missing two entire seasons.
Then came a 5-4 loss to the Phillies, as Edwin Diaz allowed two runs in the ninth. Diaz, so impressive as a rookie last season and in the WBC -- think the Mariners will allow their pitchers to pitch in that next time around? -- has been a major disappointment, with eight home runs allowed in just 31 innings, including three appearances in a row now. He has three blown saves plus a walk-off loss in a tie game. Given the state of the rotation, the Mariners need a shutdown late-innings bullpen. Diaz hasn't been that guy.
Umpire saves woman's life. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writers Stephen J. Nesbitt and Steph Chambers shared a riveting account of how umpire John Tumpane was walking across the Roberto Clemente bridge before Wednesday's game and saw a woman climb over the railing, with the Allegheny River looming below. He grabbed her as she said, "No one wants to help me. Just let me go." He didn't let go, and others eventually arrived to help her back over the railing.