MLB Week 4: The Stars Come Out to Play

It’s been an interesting week in baseball. Whether you like pitching, hitting, or defense, there was something for everyone this week.

There were aces that looked like aces, top prospects that need to figure it out, and even the infamous player who decided to tell the fans off!

Sunday. Stephen Strasburg had a non-Strasburg outing as he went 7.1 innings but allowed 4 ER on 7 hits. He still mowed batters down to the tune of 10 K’s. Strasburg didn’t have a terrible outing.

Stephen Strasburg

What’s incredible about the game is that the Nats played 8.2 innings after he finished. It was a marathon that ended with walk-off homerun from Chris Heisey.

Despite a final of 6-5, it was a bit of a pitcher’s duel- in the 11th inning, the two teams combined to go 0-6 with 6 k’s.

If you’re looking for pure offense, Pittsburgh beat Arizona 12-10 in 13 innings while the Dodgers beat the Rockies 12-10 in a regular 9 inning game.

Some of the highlights here are that the Rockies scored 5 in the 8th, only to see the Dodgers score 5 in the 9th. That game saw a total of 22 runs scored with only 1 HR.

Meanwhile, the Pirates scored 8 of their 12 runs in the third and fourth innings. The Pirates 12 came without any HR while the Diamondbacks needed 4 HR to score their 10 runs.

The most interesting “stat” of the night in Arizona started in RF defensively. He then moved to 3B, back to RF, and then to 2B.

The record for most different positions played in 1 NL game, by the way, is 5.

Monday saw some bad news for a number of players and teams. Byron Buxton is one of the top prospects in baseball, and the Twins had a lot of hope that he could perform well this season.

In 17 games this season, Buxton has a .156 average with a .208 OBP. Buxton has only scored 5 runs in those 17 games. It’s been a disappointing start to what should be a great career.

The Indians got a mix of good news and bad news. About 10 days ago, Carrasco took a line drive off the face, but avoided the DL only to strain his hamstring.

It’s only a strain, so Carrasco may be able to return before the end of the month. The good news is that the Indians were able to put Michael Brantley back on the roster.

Over the last two seasons, Brantley has a .319 batting average and averages 45 doubles, 18 HR, 90 RBI, and 19 SB.

That’s pretty hefty production for a team that is currently 21st in runs and 15th in batting average.

In the more awkward news for the day, Troy Tulowitzki became the second player in Blue Jays’ history to be hit by a batted ball to end the game.

Tulo may have made one of the worst base running decisions of his career. On a high chopper, Tulo misread the ball and hesitated, then ran and was struck by the ball. When a runner is struck by a batted ball, they’re automatically called out.

Finally, the Detroit Tigers were faced with a nightmare of a PR stunt on Monday. In one of the most unusual plays you’ll find, Tyler Collins lost the ball in the sky and let the ball drop.

LF Justin Upton attempted to pick the ball up off the ground, booted it, and was charged with an error on the play. Fans started booing as the play result in the batter getting to 3rd base.

In response, Tyler Collins gave the middle finger to the hometown crowd.  Let’s not forget the fact that the game was in Detroit.

Tuesday was a day of elite performances. Andrew McCutchen highlights the night as he got off to a quick start. In the first, Cutch went yard for the 5th time this season.

It must have felt good because he did the same thing in the 2nd, then again in the 6th. He more than doubled his 2 HR’s for the season.

Pitchers weren’t too bad on Tuesday either. David Price tied a career high with 14 K’s while allowing only 2 ER in 8 innings.

It was, arguably, his best game of the season. In the NL, it was your typical story of dominance from the NL West.

Johnny Cueto pitched a complete game shutout with 11 K’s. He wasn’t able to contribute anything at the plate, and got the victory 1-0.

There wasn’t much of note that happened on Wednesday. San Francisco managed to out power the Padres in a 13-9 finish where the Giants didn’t hit a homerun.

Jeff Samardzija managed to get the win despite giving up more runs than any of the other 10 pitchers used in the game.

The interesting fact that came from the game in Boston was Freddie Freeman’s homerun. A homerun from Freeman doesn’t usually have any significance.

The significance comes from the fact that the Braves seem to have forgotten what a homerun is. Entering Wednesday’s game, the Braves had 3 HR as a team.

Don’t forget that McCutchen hit 3 HR Tuesday night. Freeman’s homerun was the first for the Braves since April 10th and only the second since April 4th.

That’s 15 games in a row without a homerun. Since 1973 (the start of the DH era) only 5 teams have matched that.

For what it’s worth, the record in that span is 20 games. The Braves could push for that record this season.

Thursday was an interesting day in baseball. Dee Gordon is one of the smallest players in the league. He’s 5’11 and weighs 170 pounds.

I imagine that some of you reading this are at least that size, if not larger. Somehow, as small as Gordon is, he tested positive for PED’s and received an 80 game suspension.

The suspension is ironic given the fact that Gordon has 8 career HR and has never topped 4 in a season.

Friday was a day of interesting accomplishments. Adam Conley threw 116 pitches trying to accomplish a no hitter.

He made it 7.2 innings before he was pulled. Then Jose Urena gave up 4 hits and 3 ER in 1 inning. A no-hit bid almost turned into a loss, but AJ Ramos was able to save the day.

On the other side of the ball the Brewers brought out their best defense. With two men on, Marcel Ozuna hit a groundball to the third baseman that promptly stepped on the bag and threw to second.

Yadiel Rivera made a quick throw to first to complete the 5-4-3 triple play. That makes two triple plays in 6 days.

The Mets, on the other hand, had an offense that was red hot. They only scored in the 3rd and 7th innings.

The incredible part is that they scored 12 in the 3rd inning. That’s a franchise record.

In fact, it was close to an MLB record. The most runs one team has ever scored in the 3rd inning of a game 14 which was done by Cleveland all the way back in 1889.

One of the most interesting plays you’ll ever find was a simple single hit that drove David Ortiz in from second. What made the play interesting was that Hanley Ramirez tried to make it to third base.

Hanley Ramirez

In the process, Ramirez was tagged for the third out, but it was a fraction of a second after Ortiz touched home plate. Ortiz was credited with scoring a run after review.

To be completely honest, I think the call had to stand with how it was called, it was too close to make a decision either way.

On Saturday, the White Sox were robbed of a triple play, and it tested baseball’s newest rule. Todd Frazier caught a ground ball and tagged third, then threw the ball to second to get Manny Machado out. While sliding, Machado slid passed the bag and grabbed Brett Lawrie’s foot.

However, in an inexplicable disregard for the rules, the runner going to first wasn’t called out. Had Machado been charged with interference, Adam Jones would have been called out, causing another triple play.

That would have been the second shortest amount of time for one team (the White Sox) to complete 2 triple plays in history.

It would have been 7 days. It appears the record is held by the Minnesota twins and is only 4 innings.

Sunday made for interesting headlines. Joey Votto stated that he’d rather retire than continue playing at his current level.

He called his own play an embarrassment and said that he’d leave “all the money on the table” rather than continuing at the pace he’s going now.

The Braves managed to win their 5th game on Sunday. That’s great, except that they’ve already set their own precedent. With a 5-18 record, the Braves have the worst record in franchise history.

How bad are they this season? The last time they were this bad was 1988 when the Braves went 3-16.

For a little perspective, the Braves are on pace for the worst record in history. 3-18 is a .217 winning percentage which would come out to be 35-127. The current record for most losses in the modern area is 117.

Finally, the stars were out Sunday. Mr. Sunday himself (Nolan Arenado) hit another homerun. Strasburg reminded all of us why he’s been mentioned in the Cy Young race. He pitched 7 innings with 2 ER and 9 K’s.

Not to be outdone, Clayton Kershaw threw a complete game shutout allowing just 3 hits. He became the 3rd player ever to have multiple complete game shutouts with at least 14 k’s.

He also became the first Dodger pitcher ever to throw a complete game shut out while driving in the only run his team scored.

It’s been another great week in baseball. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show as much I have through the first four weeks. What’s been your favorite thing to watch?