This Great Game Comebacker

The Week That Was in Baseball: July 21-27, 2014
Baseball's Fast-paced Experiment The No. 1 Choice to Replace Bud Selig Says No
How to Beat the Shift: Ban It? HOF Candidates: You've Now Got Ten Years


Best and Worst of the Week

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
27 8 15 3 0 6 10 5 0 0 1

Oye coma, va, Carlos? Very well, of late. There was a time early in the year when it looked as if the 28-year-old Dominican could do only two things: Walk and fail to reach base. Those days are over. Santana was on fire this week, especially for a four-game weekend series at Kansas City in which he homered five times in the last three games. Since his batting average bottomed out at .146 on May 21, he’s hitting .313 with 15 homers and 37 RBIs in 51 games.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Lucas Duda, New York Mets

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
31 8 14 6 0 3 9 5 0 1 2

Yes, when we think of the name Lucas Duda and our first thought is Cleavon Little singing the white man’s ditty in Blazing Saddles. (“Oh, the camptown ladies sing this song, doo-da, doo-da…”) But with more weeks like this, we might first think, impressive hitter. Duda went deep in four different games, and two of them directly won weekend games at Milwaukee. His 17 homers on the year established a career high; he’s on pace for roughly 25.


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Logan Morrison, Seattle Mariners

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
20 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0

One of baseball’s most Twitter-happy players probably couldn’t wait to air his glee over a game-winning hit on Saturday against the Orioles—but we’re betting the account was otherwise quiet as it was the lone hit on the week for the 26-year-old first baseman. With Kendrys Morales back in the Mariners’ fold, Morrison may see his playing time neutered—because even though a big hit every week or so is nice, you’ve got to do something else in between.


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Juan Lagares, New York Mets

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
21 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0

The young center-fielder’s solid season to date hit a speed bump this past week with a near-shutout at the plate; a double-play grounder and seven strikeouts made things worse. He certainly is trying—in fact, Mets manager Terry Collins thinks he’s trying too hard right now—so maybe a little calm-down in his approach is in order for a guy who has the skills to be, say, another Carlos Gomez.


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
2-0 15 12 1 1 3 0 1 1 0 20

Two more fantastic starts have brought the 25-year-old lefty into the Cy Young Award chat room. He had little problem in Monday’s 3-1 win over the White Sox, and was dominant on Saturday with eight shutout innings and 12 strikeouts at Minnesota. The latter effort gave him enough innings to qualify for the ERA race—and as such, he now leads all American Leaguers with a 1.88 ERA to go with a sterling 10-1 record. Oh, he’s also at the top of the AL boards in WHIP (0.86) and opposing batting average (.194).


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 7

It was just another day at the office this past Saturday at San Francisco, the home away from home for the Dodgers ace who always seems to feel at home when he takes on the Giants in front of their own fans. His two-hit shutout was his third career blanking at AT&T Park, but it’s also the continuation of an overall run in which he’s gone 9-0 with a 0.94 in his last ten starts. The last pitcher to do dominate like that was Johan Santana during the height of his powers in 2006.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Brad Peacock, Houston Astros

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 3.2 7 7 7 5 0 0 0 0 2

It looked for awhile that the 26-year-old Florida native was starting to ease into something of a comfort zone, evidenced by a recent six-game run without a loss (but only two wins). But he’s been walking a thin line, and that vanished under his feet this past Wednesday when he was both wild (five walks) and hit hard (three home runs) in a short outing at Oakland. Peacock’s next start will be at Triple-A Oklahoma City after being handed a demotion.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Edinson Volquez, Pittsburgh Pirates

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 10 16 9 7 5 2 1 3 0 5

The veteran right-hander, afflicted with chronic wildness in recent years, appeared to be getting things straightened out by allowing just three runs over four straight starts (all wins) entering the week. Then came two outings and a relapse. Volquez was hit hard on Monday against the Dodgers, and on Sunday at Colorado started catching a severe case of walkitis (a really bad thing to do at Coors Field), and didn’t make it past the fifth in a 7-5 loss.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Tampa Bay Rays (4-1)

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Rays were considered dead and buried after dragging about with the majors’ worst record. But the experts didn’t pick Tampa Bay as World Series favorites for nothing. The Rays are back on the warpath, taking two at St. Louis to start the week before running a win streak to nine back home against Boston. The Rays still have some work to do before being taken seriously in the postseason conversation—and it will be interesting to see how Tampa Bay management feels about their chances as the trade deadline looms and David Price still on the roster.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami Marlins (6-1)

Don’t reel in the Fish yet. A terrific week began with the Marlins taking three of four games at Atlanta in close fashion (winning one in ten innings and another with a tie-breaking ninth-inning rally), and then they proceeded on to Houston where they swept the Astros in a three-game weekend series. Miami may be longshots to win the wild card sweepstakes, but at least they put themselves back into the conversation after this run of victories.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Houston Astros (1-5)

The week started well for the Astros as they edged an Oakland team they rarely seem to beat—but then reality set in as poor pitching and a sudden lack of firepower minus the presence of rookie slugger George Springer (placed on the disabled list) kept the Astros winless for the remainder of the week, including a very disappointing three-and-out at home against a so-so Miami ballclub. Houston had escaped the AL West cellar after spending an eternity there, but now the Rangers are right back on their heels, a half-game back.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Cincinnati Reds (1-5)

While the Marlins strengthened their postseason chances, the Reds saw theirs weakened. They could have made a statement against the front-running Brewers at Milwaukee, but a non-existent offense burdened them instead with three straight losses; things got no better back home against the Nationals, where the Reds did manage to eke out one 1-0 victory, but otherwise were at the mercy of solid Washington pitching. The Reds are now 52-52 and, worse, are firmly settled in as the fourth-place team in the NL Central.


Best and Worst of the Week

Monday, July 21
The Boston Red Sox pile it on early and often at Toronto, building up a 14-1 lead after five innings and coasting from there to win by the same count. David Ortiz belts two home runs and passes Carl Yastzremski for 43rd on the all-time home run list (he remains behind Yaz on the Red Sox list) and it’s his 44th multi-homer performance, moving him into a three-way tie for 20th among all major leaguers.

Seems like old times: Justin Verlander, struggling for much of the year, spots a difference in his arm movement via video just before taking the mound at Phoenix and readjusts, earning a 4-3 win for the Detroit Tigers against the Diamondbacks. Verlander also surpasses Hal Newhouser to rank third on the all-time Tigers list for strikeouts.

The Texas Rangers defeat the Yankees at New York, 4-2, thanks to five Yankee errors—including three from starting pitcher Shane Greene.


Tuesday, July 22
Chase Headley, traded to the Yankees earlier in the day from the San Diego Padres, shows up midway through his first game for his new team—and after being inserted as a late-inning replacement, strokes a walk-off, run-scoring single to give New York a 2-1, 13-inning victory over Texas. Earlier in the game, Derek Jeter’s double puts him past Lou Gehrig and atop the all-time Yankees list in career two-baggers.

Without Headley, the Padres are blanked on the road for the third straight time—tying a franchise nadir. It happens in Chicago, where the Cubs blank San Diego 6-0 behind two Anthony Rizzo homers and seven shutout innings from Kyle Hendricks, making only his second career appearance in the majors.

In an exhaustive game at Philadelphia that lasts nearly six hours, the San Francisco Giants outlast the Phillies in 14 innings, 9-6, on a bases-clearing double by Brandon Crawford. Tim Lincecum bails out a depleted bullpen for the final inning and earns his first career save.


Wednesday, July 23
The New York Mets’ Bartolo Colon, rumored to be on the trading block, makes for a pretty good audition at Seattle as the 41-year-old hurler takes a perfect game into the seventh before settling for a 3-2 win. Colon now owns a 13-1 career record at Safeco Field.

With, once again, most of their marquee stars resting or on the shelf, the Colorado Rockies end a seven-game losing skid with a “B” lineup dressing down Washington ace Stephen Strasburg for a 6-4 victory. Earning the win for the Rockies is Jorge De La Rosa, who becomes the first Colorado pitcher to strike out 11 batters without a walk at Coors Field—and now owns a 42-14 lifetime record at the mile-high ballpark.

With the Yankees ahead of Texas 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, a sudden downpour apparently catches the Yankees ground crew off guard, and between its slow reaction and some bungling to get the tarp on, the game is called and made final as the field is declared unplayable to continue—infuriating Rangers manager Ron Washington, who smells a rat but does not officially file a protest. It’s the

Home Run Derby anew for back-to-back champ Yoenis Cespedes—but with real pitchers. The Oakland slugger delivers two bombs and knocks in five runs to lift the A’s over visiting Houston, 9-7—but he also sprains his thumb late in the game and is listed as day-to-day.


Thursday, July 24
Toronto rookie pitcher Marcus Stroman contains the Red Sox to a single hit over seven scoreless innings and Melky Cabrera doubles three times to give the Blue Jays an easy 8-0 victory. Stroman has now thrown seven shutout innings in three of his last four starts.

Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber is brilliant over nine innings—retiring the first 19 batters and allowing an unearned run on two hits and no walks with ten strikeouts—but the best he can salvage is a no-decision as the Indians battle for 14 innings at Kansas City, losing 2-1 when the Royals’ Norichika Aoki singles in the winning run.

After lasting less than an inning in his last start, Milwaukee’s Matt Garza goes eight frames and allows just a run on two hits; he’s backed up by three Brewers homers to help stifle the visiting Mets, 9-1.

The Padres wake out of their recent offensive slumber by exploding for nine runs in the sixth inning on eight hits—all singles—and easily take care of the Cubs at Wrigley Field, 13-3.


Friday, July 25
In the start of a pivotal three-game NL West series between the Giants and Dodgers at San Francisco, Yasiel Puig becomes the first Dodger since 1901 to leg out three triples in a game—and Los Angeles collects five overall for an 8-1 win, reducing the Giants’ lead to a half game. Zack Greinke throws seven shutout innings and strikes out ten—including four in one inning after Hunter Pence reaches on a third-strike wild pitch.

Rookie Jose Abreu becomes the majors’ first 30-home run man on the year with a first-inning, three-run blast, helping to propel the Chicago White Sox to a quick start in advance of a 9-5 decision at Minnesota. Only Rudy York and Mark McGwire have reached 30 homers in fewer games to start a career. The loss goes to Kevin Correia, who now leads the majors with 13 defeats.

Texas gets six solid innings from Jerome Williams—the 31st pitcher used by the Rangers this season to set a franchise mark—and Neftali Felix earns his first save since the 2011 World Series as the Rangers defeat Oakland at Arlington, 4-1. It’s only the sixth win for Texas in their last 33 games.

Seattle ace Felix Hernandez drops his season ERA to a major league-leading 1.99 and ties Tom Seaver’s all-time mark with 13 straight starts allowing two or fewer runs in seven or more innings—but fails to get the win as the visiting Baltimore Orioles net a tenth-inning solo shot from Chris Davis to upend the Mariners, 2-1.


Saturday, July 26
Clayton Kershaw remains scorching hot, and at a most opportune moment—silencing the Giants on two hits for his fourth complete game and second shutout of the year; the 5-0 win puts the Dodgers back in first place in the NL West by a half-game. Kershaw is now 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA over his last ten starts; in 11 career appearances at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, he’s 7-2 with a 0.69 ERA and three shutouts.

In only his second appearance of the year, Jeremy Hellickson comes within an out of qualifying for the victory but is removed after throwing 96 pitches; the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays, meanwhile, continue their impressive comeback into postseason contention with a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox at St. Petersburg. The Rays have won nine straight and are a major league-best 27-11 since June 10—a point in which they were 24-42 that, at the time, was the worst record in baseball.

The Blue Jays end a 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium by defeating the Yankees, 6-4. It’s their first win at the new Stadium since August 29, 2012; the big blow for the Jays comes from Dan Johnson, a three-run homer that’s his first since…2012.

Cincinnati stops a seven-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over Washington behind Johnny Cueto’s seven shutout innings. It’s the ninth 1-0 decision at Great American Ballpark since the start of 2013; there were only seven such games through the first ten years of the venue’s history.


Sunday, July 27
The Rays are finally stopped as David Ortiz’s three-run blast in the third is all the Red Sox need to edge Tampa Bay, 3-2. Chris Archer, who surrenders Ortiz’s homer, doesn’t take kindly to Ortiz’s prolonged admiring and complains about it to reporters after the game: Ortiz responds by saying, “He’s not the right guy to be saying that, I think, He’s got two days in the league.”

Ryan Howard, benched earlier in the week amid speculation that he might be released by Philadelphia, belts a two-run homer in the first inning to help lift the Phillies to a 4-2 win over Arizona.

Adam Wainwright becomes the majors’ first 13-game winner with seven shutout innings; Matt Holliday’s first-inning homer is the only support he and two relievers will need as the St. Louis Cardinals take a 1-0 decision over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Dodgers sweep the Giants with a 4-3 victory at San Francisco; losing the game for the Giants is Jake Peavy, making his San Francisco debut after being traded from the Red Sox. Peavy has now gone winless in 16 straight starts; it’s the longest such stretch by a former Cy Young Award winner since Fernando Valenzuela went 19 straight games without a W from 1988-89. Another new Giant doesn’t help: Second baseman Dan Uggla is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and commits two errors.


A Primer for Speeding Up Time: Will it Work?
Like most any rule change that baseball considers, the minors become the guinea pigs to see if it works. And so it is with the Atlantic League, which agreed to try six things in hopes of speeding up games in advance of Major League Baseball perhaps doing the same at the big league level.

So what are the six adjustments the Atlantic League is trying out, and will they work? Or, more pointedly, should they even be considered? Our thoughts as follows:

Reducing the number of warm-up pitches from eight to six when it’s warm. Not a bad idea and, in theory, it speeds things up between innings—but this will raise an issue at the major league level. Reducing time between innings also means the likely loss of commercial time and revenue the local TV networks desperately need to pay off the massive contracts they’ve signed with MLB teams. Perhaps this will lead to, gulp—here it comes—in-inning ads.

An intentional walk will not require the pitcher to throw four pitches. Yes, this will save time, but the idea of just telling a batter to take first without being thrown a pitch—even if there’s no chance he’ll hit it—just kind of rubs us wrong.

Any catcher who reaches base will be replaced by a “courtesy runner.” Don’t like it. This smacks of artificial ingredients. Here’s another thought: Have the back-up or bullpen catcher be ready to take any or all of the six warm-up tosses from the pitcher until the regular backstop is ready. It’s been done before…

A maximum of three mound visits per inning, including those from infielders—with each lasting no more than a minute. We’re okay with the one-minute maximum, but not the quota. Otherwise, leave it as is; the ad-lib strategy session is part of baseball. There’s no reason to discourage it.

The umpires must enforce Rules 6.04 and 8.02, which respectively keep batters and pitchers from taking too much time between pitches. This has been one of our bigger beefs for a long time; if enforced, it should lop a minimum of ten minutes from the average game time. It’s long past time for hitters to stop readjusting their batting gloves between every @#$%& pitch.

Memo to umpires: Enforce the strike zone as it is intended. Amen. But…getting major league umpires to conform to what’s written in the book might be a difficult task given some of the arbiters’ pride in embracing their own idea of the zone. Of course, if they refuse to comply, fire them; there’s a lot of good minor league umpires awaiting that precious opportunity to get promoted.

Putting the Shift on a Bad Idea
Beyond the six suggestions listed above, another potential rule change that could speed up the game is to make it illegal to pile up three defenders on one side of second base—in effect, banning the “shift.” There have been rumblings about such a ban, and Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci took it to the forefront this past week when he wrote in-depth about it, backing up his suggestion that baseball should “at least think about” such a rule change with rapidly declining production numbers for pull hitters—including a staggering statistic he threw out in which the batting average of left-handed hitters is down 85 points over the last decade when they pull the ball.

The shift has been part of baseball for nearly 100 years—it was first tried briefly against Cy Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1920s, but it’s better known as the “Williams Shift” because teams used it more continuously against one Ted Williams a few decades later. The shift came back into vogue as a way to stop Barry Bonds when he was playing out of his mind in the early 2000s, and it’s since been used on a widespread basis against any pull hitter—especially those who bat left-handed.

We don’t like the idea of a ban. Why penalize the defense for something that works? There’s no cheating going on here. Nobody’s putting a tenth defender out on the field. Where there’s a strength, there’s a weakness. If you’re that pull hitter, exploit the weakness. There’s open space on one side of the pitcher; take advantage of it. It’s a process that’s as old as the game itself, and it’s called adjustment. So don’t create a bogus new rule that will cater to players who are unwilling to adjust. Let the evolution take shape.

Yu Got to Be Kidding
So star Japanese imports Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka had a chat under the seats at Yankee Stadium and came to the conclusion that the six-man rotation—which is used back home in Japan—should be tried in the majors. And right about now, there’s a lot of ex-pitchers who thrived in four-man rotations who must be chuckling in disgust.

A Message For All You Mazeroskis on the Ballot
As a terrific Hall of Fame class was formally introduced this past weekend in Cooperstown, a new rule was established for future votes limiting the eligibility of candidates from 15 years down to ten. This will certainly make it tougher for borderline candidates who initially check in far below the 75% threshold for admittance but, through rethinking and reinvention from voters and lobbying efforts from some of the candidates, gradually grow their rate up through the years and make it into Cooperstown close to or on the 15th try. In essence, it’s good news for those who think the Hall of Fame has been watered down with the inclusion of very good (but not great) players over the years.

Ex-players on the ballot currently past ten years of eligibility—including Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell and Lee Smith—will be allowed to stay on the ballot through 15 appearances.

The Man Who Doesn’t Want to be Commissioner
With all the talk of who will succeed commissioner Bud Selig centered around his current Number Two in Rob Manfred, it’s quietly surfaced that the man that everyone in baseball really wants doesn’t want the job.

Steve Greenberg is that man, and he has the ideal resume to take over for Selig. He’s got baseball blood: He’s the son of Hall-of-Fame legend Hank Greenberg and played the game himself (though not at the major league level). He’s got the right job skills: He has experience as a lawyer and a player agent. He’s been just about everywhere over the last 30 years, starting TV networks (including the MLB network), negotiating naming rights deal for teams and facilitating ownership change in no less than six MLB cities. And he has inside experience: He was deputy commissioner under Fay Vincent in the early 1990s.

It’s that last fact that keeps Greenberg stiff-arming all pleas to succeed Selig. “I know what’s involved,” he told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “It’s a 24/7, 365-day schedule that the commissioner has to keep to do it right. The three years I spent in the commissioner’s office were exhausting.” Greenberg, who is 65, added: “I’m not at a place in my life where (being commissioner) makes sense to me.”

McCarthyism: Alive and Well in the Bronx
We’ve seen time and time again what a change of scenery will do to a veteran pitcher, and we’re seeing it again with the success of Brandon McCarthy with the Yankees after fizzling in the desert heat of Arizona.

With the Diamondbacks, McCarthy was horrible, registering a 3-10 record and 5.01 ERA. He pitched well in his final two starts, and perhaps that’s what prompted the Yankees to go in and make the trade for him. They haven’t been disappointed since his arrival; in his first three starts in pinstripes, McCarthy is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA.

What’s intriguing about McCarthy’s 180 is something he said shortly after arriving in New York: That the Arizona pitching staff ordered him not to throw a cutter. When asked about it, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had this strange bit to say: “People handle things different ways. The way I’ll handle it, let’s just say it was all my fault, Okay?”

Schwing Swag
Everywhere Derek Jeter has traveled this season, he’s been bestowed with gift after gift as he wraps up his Hall-of-Fame career. Not to be outdone, a strip club in New York has its own retirement gift in mind: A lifetime pass for Jeter, from which he’ll receive all the food and lap dances he wants for free, forever. But this can only happen if he shows up on September 7, a day in which the club will be honoring the Yankees with all-nude girls clad only in pinstriped body paint.

After getting a good look at almost every Hollywood starlet under the age of 30 over the last ten years or so, we think Jeter will pass.

The Curse of Baseball Wives
There’s something to be said about reality TV shows: Controversy is sure to follow. Baseball Wives, which ran from 2011-12 on VH1 (like MTV, once a music channel), is no different. Nine women married to or dating current or former major leaguers were showcased being obligatorily catty and entertaining (one and the same, we guess) for ratings. How Tawny Kitaen missed the boat on this one, we’ll never know.

If it was all an act, then some of the ladies haven’t broken character since the last yell of “cut!” from the director. Among the cast was Anna Benson, who recently went Rambo on ex-pitcher/ex-husband Kris Benson and recently was released from jail for her actions; this past week, it was Cheri Knoblauch—the wife of former second baseman Chuck Knoblauch—who played more the victim after being assaulted in the midst of a domestic squabble.

Chuck was arrested and later released after posting a $10,000 bond. An official report wrote that Chuck, among other rather nasty things, threw a humidifier at Cheri. Given how difficult it was for him to make an accurate throw to first in his playing days, here’s hoping he missed.

This isn’t the first time Chuck has raged against his spouse. He was arrested and given one year’s probation in 2010 after beating up his first wife. As for Cheri, this isn’t her first brush with angry people, either; during the show, Anna Benson once pointed a stun gun—and a sex toy—at her during an argument. We’re hoping neither weapon was loaded.

In the aftermath of this latest incident, the Minnesota Twins—with whom Knoblauch enjoyed his most productive years—are holding off on admitting him into the team’s Hall of Fame, a ceremony that was scheduled for August 23.

Ready For the UFC if Not MLB
Perhaps major leaguers can learn a thing or two from the minors when it comes to brawling. A brutal melee broke out between the Reno Aces and Albuquerque Isotopes this past Saturday in which nine players along with Reno manager (and former major leaguer)
Phil Nevin were ejected. Curiously, these two teams are affiliated with, respectively, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers—two major league teams who have done their fair share of sparring against one another over the past year-plus.

It’s All Greek to Us
On Greek Heritage Night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field,
Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals hit two home runs to defeat the White Sox, 7-1.

Kan’t Yu Guyz Sphell?
The Colorado Rockies gave away 15,000 Troy Tulowitzki shirt jerseys to fans at Saturday’s game against Washington. One problem (actually, 15,000 of them): Tulowitzki was misspelled as “Tulowizki.”

This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
The remarkable rookie campaign of
Jose Abreu continues, as the Cuban-born slugger ends this past week with the majors’ longest active hitting streak at 17 games. What’s amazing is that the streak began a day after going hitless to end his longest run of the year at 18; so he’s now hit safely in 35 of his 36 games.

League vs. League
If the National League hopes to make a second-half comeback and overcome the American League’s growing advantage in interleague play, this past week was a good one. The senior circuit took six of nine games and reduced the AL’s season-to-date margin in league vs. league action to 108-94.

Wounded of the Week
wounded of the weekIt was a rough week for two NL West teams going in different directions. At the top were the San Francisco Giants, who finally came to grips that Matt Cain may not be all he seems these days. That the team picked up Jake Peavy late this past week signals that Cain, saddled with a bum elbow, may not return this season. Meanwhile, the battered and bruised and yet still contending Giants also lost back-up catcher Hector Sanchez to a concussion and all three of their top second basemen on the depth chart—two of them, Ehire Adrianza and veteran Marco Scutaro, are on the disabled list—left the team to force its hand and bring up veteran train wreck Dan Uggla, who had just signed a minor league deal. And if that wasn’t enough, revered Giants broadcaster (and former major league pitcher) Mike Krukow revealed this week that he’s been afflicted with a rare (yet thankfully not life-threatening) degenerative muscle disease that has confined him to using a cane—and perhaps, soon, a walker. Krukow says the condition will not stop him from lending his charismatic sage alongside play-by-play man Duane Kuiper: “Once I get behind that chair, I am bulletproof, man,” he told Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle.

At the bottom of the NL West standings are the Colorado Rockies, who continued their post-All Star Break tradition of recent years by being totally depleted of all of their star talent. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a solid NL MVP candidate, landed on the disabled list with a hip injury and visited a sports hernia surgeon, suggesting this may be a longer shelf stay than 15 days. Meanwhile, Justin Morneau—having a nice mile high-influenced career rebound with the Rockies—is also on the DL with a neck problem. With reigning NL batting champion Michael Cuddyer also out and Carlos Gonzalez his usual fragile self, the Rockies are back to what they seem to do so well late in the season: Fielding a second-tier lineup.

Elsewhere, injuries took Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring) and young Houston slugger George Springer (quad) out of action, while Texas catcher Geovany Soto—just three days after coming off the DL—went back on it with a strained right groin. It’s just been that kind of season for the beat-up Rangers.

Finally, we wish Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf well after he fainted during a team dinner honoring incoming Hall-of-Fame inductee Frank Thomas. The 78-year-old Reinsdorf was taken to a hospital overnight and released the next day.


The Comebacker's Greatest Hits: Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2008 season.


share this page with a friendShare this page with a friend.

Have a comment, question or request? Contact us at This Great Game.

© 2014 This Great Game.