In the fifth inning of the Angels’ eventual 8-1 loss to the Mariners on Friday night, Los Angeles starter Michael Lorenzen uncorked a 91-mph full-count sinker that unfortunately hit Seattle’s Justin Upton in the head. Here’s a look:
Luckily, Upton, the former Angel who was recalled from Triple-A by the Mariners just before Friday’s game, didn’t appear to be seriously injured. “He was conscious and talking the whole time,” Seattle coach Scott Servais said after the game. “I greeted him after we walked in after the game and I’ll text him and get back to him in the morning. Let’s see if maybe he can be our DH tomorrow. Wait and see how it works.”
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As for Lorenzen, of course he was very upset about what happened and he blamed what he sees as baseball’s lack of grip this season. Here are Lorenzen’s full postgame comments on the matter: about Jeff Fletcher:
“I don’t know what Major League Baseball is playing with these baseballs, but this has completely slipped my mind. These baseballs are smooth. you hurt someone So it’s definitely due to Major League Baseball. I don’t know what’s up These baseballs are right out of the box.
“As a kid, you felt like Major League Baseball was the greatest thing, and you get there and you realize what they’re doing? Suddenly they’re going to change baseballs. I know (Kevin) Gausman had an issue in Toronto. So it’s a league-wide thing.
“Throw them all out to get new ones, but they’re all like that. It looks league wide. It looks like a planned surgery, which is ridiculous.”
In response to increasing spin rates and vaulting strikeout rates, MLB has cracked down on pitchers’ use of high-tacky substances like spider tack, meaning pitchers have been forced to resort to traditional means even in an era of increasing speed and movement Improving grip leave . This hasn’t really manifested itself in, say, degraded pitcher performance, but at least anecdotally, the frequency of pitches that hurlers “escape” could be increasing. All of this ties, at least in part, to the league’s questionable oversight of baseball manufacturing practices and possibly deliberate manipulation of the ball to affect run scores and the like.
In May, Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that the league isthat could be legalized for in-game use from the 2023 season, but for the current season it remains a problem – a potentially dangerous problem, as Lorenzen has hinted.