Despite rocky outings yesterday, Glenn Sparkman and Jorge López might be part of the rotation when the season starts, writes Jeffrey Flanagan:
Sparkman and López were both starters last season, but they were converted to bullpen roles in Spring Training. Yet as the Royals’ rotation — missing Brad Keller and Jakob Junis — keeps getting thinner, Sparkman and López may be called upon to log starts early this season.
Neither launched themselves into first conversations about the rotation on Tuesday. Sparkman went 1 2/3 innings and struggled with command. He walked three and gave up two hits and three runs (two earned).
López replaced Sparkman with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning. López promptly hit the next two batters he faced, forcing in two runs. He also walked a hitter in the third.
At KC Kingdom, Leigh Oleszczak concludes Mike Matheny is the right manager for the Royals right now.
Sheryl Ring at Beyond the Box Score says the Royals’ catcher COVID situation shows the fragility of the whole MLB thing:
This isn’t really Kansas City’s fault, to be sure. They had four perfectly serviceable catchers when camp started, and three of them caught the pandemic. But what this does show is how fragile this season is turning out to be. Kansas City was not a team which lacked depth at catcher, really, or at least in the context of 2020 baseball where decent catchers are rarer than gold-pressed latinum. The real question is what happens when this sort of positional domino effect starts across the game on other teams.
This is a significant issue, actually. Freddie Freeman should be ready to go for the season’s start, but behind him are Austin Riley and then Adeiny Hechevarria. The Yankees’ backup at both second base and shortstop is Tyler Wade, but D.J. LeMahieu is still recovering from COVID. The Marlins’ second base backup, Jonathan Villar, is also listed their starter at third base and backup in center field. In short, if teams start having COVID flare-ups during the season, positions could get very thin, very quickly.
The Royals will send cash or a PTBNL to Tampa Bay in order to keep Rule 5 pick Stephen Woods, Jr. Also in Rays news, which might be related, their reliever Colin Poche was diagnosed with a UCL tear and will need Tommy John surgery.
Bleacher Report did a Top 100 MLB prospects, and five Royals made the list: Bobby Witt, Jr., Asa Lacy, Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer, and Jackson Kowar.
Please witness this magnificent trash talk from the Rockies:
Honored to be the first team to visit the Rangers’ new ballpark! pic.twitter.com/xyqa9eBueF— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 21, 2020
Where will the Blue Jays call home this season? Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs breaks down some options.
Also at FanGraphs, Dan Szymborski went deep on whether the shortened 60-game season makes a .400 hitter a likely scenario.
While MLB grapples with travel and players going who-knows-where (aka anywhere outside of a controlled environment, ever, even one time), the best NBA teams are in a bubble. OKC Thunder center Steven Adams, who is the best, described the bubble conditions like so: “Let’s be clear, mate. This is not Syria, mate. It’s not that hard…We’re living in a bloody resort.”
The TNT announcer rotation for NBA bubble games has been announced.
HBO is about to release a documentary about depression that follows Olympic athletes after their moments in the spotlight. Watch the trailer here.
The fine journalists of The Onion call for some common-sense reform on TV theme songs.
Rocket League will become free-to-play later this summer, after a 5-year run of being the very best “cars playing soccer and sometimes exploding” game of all time.
Devon Vonder Schmalz is a 21-year-old on TikTok who explains music in quick, accessible videos. I am not a user of TikTok but it is fascinating how every new platform opens new avenues for storytelling, knowledge building, and entertainment.
Courtesy of the “shower thoughts” subReddit: Mullet hair cuts actually prevent red necks.
MIT made a “deep fake” video of Richard Nixon delivering the speech that was written for him in case the moon landing failed.
SPEAKING OF SPACE! The third book of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut trilogy came out last week! I reread the first two over the last couple days in preparation, and they are just as good as the first time. Here’s Kowal chatting with John Scalzi about their writing processes and such (link contains a video and a transcript).
MUSIC: a cover!