This Week in Baseball: Dugout phone problems, Greinke's run
The phones managers use to communicate with the bullpen and the replay room - an endearingly quaint setup in these mobile-centric times - apparently become troublesome now and then.
File this under ''lighthearted dugout moments'' from a long season:
Detroit manager Brad Ausmus acknowledged the Tigers have accidentally called the bullpen before when they meant to contact the replay room, leaving bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer a bit puzzled.
''We call down and say, `Is that fair or foul?' And Mick will go, `Looked foul from here,''' Ausmus said.
At Detroit's Comerica Park, the dugout phones are clearly labeled.
''It hasn't happened here so much. It's on the road,'' Ausmus said. ''In Minnesota, you have to actually dial to get the bullpen, and you have to dial to get to replay. I think we dialed the bullpen by accident.''
When that story was relayed to Baltimore manager Buck Showalter, he understood.
''Some places, you've got to dial in,'' he said. ''I've called the instant replay to tell them to get somebody up (in the bullpen). `Uh, Buck, uh, you've got the replay room.'''
Here are a few other developments from around baseball:
ZACK VS OREL
What's interesting is that Greinke hasn't thrown a single shutout this season, repeatedly turning things over to his bullpen during this streak. Hershiser, on the other hand, had to throw just about every possible inning down the stretch to break the record in `88.
That's because Hershiser's streak didn't begin until Aug. 30, when he blanked Montreal for the final four innings of a complete game win. Then he threw five straight shutouts before going 10 scoreless innings in his final start to surpass Don Drysdale's mark of 58 in a row.
Don't assume Hershiser was overworked, though. He threw 119 pitches in that Aug. 30 game, and that was actually his highest pitch count during the streak.
Greinke struck out 11 on Sunday night against Washington. Hershiser never struck out more than nine during the whole 1988 season.
With the trade deadline approaching, the time to anticipate the fantasy effects is now. This is particularly important with relievers, whose roles can change depending on what team they're pitching for.
Ken Giles could take over as closer in Philadelphia if Jonathan Papelbon is dealt, and J.J. Hoover is the only Cincinnati player besides Aroldis Chapman with a save this year. Hoover is 5-0 with a 1.34 ERA and could be next in line to close if Chapman is traded.
BUY OR SELL?
With the trade deadline approaching, that decision is particularly interesting in the American League, where a number of teams around .500 are still very much in contention for a playoff spot. If the season ended now, the five AL playoff teams would be the Yankees, Royals, Angels, Twins and Astros, but according to the numbers at Fangraphs.com, every team in the league except Texas, Oakland, Seattle and the Chicago White Sox has at least a 15 percent chance to make the postseason.
Over in the National League, there's a bigger gap between the contenders and everybody else. In the NL, every team is at least four games above or below .500, essentially eliminating the murky middle.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, allowed three hits in eight scoreless innings and struck out 14 in Saturday's 4-2 win over Washington - just in case anyone forgot about him amid all the hoopla about Greinke's streak.