This Great Game Comebacker

The Week That Was in Baseball: May 12-18, 2014
Are Pre-teen Pitchers Being Overworked? Hard Controversy Over the Bases
A First Look at the Braves' New Ballpark Now It's a Two-hitter for Yu Darvish


Best and Worst of the Week

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Brandon Moss, Oakland A's

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
22 8 10 5 1 3 11 5 0 0 0

The redheaded Georgia native came into his own with little fanfare last year (that will happen in Oakland) after 30 homers in 446 at-bats, and he’s showing an even more complete side of himself this year—and a very destructive side this past week in particular. Moss crushed two homers with five RBIs in Tuesday’s 11-0 rout of the White Sox, and at Cleveland on Sunday reached base all five times with two doubles, a triple and two walks. With All-Star voting ready to hit high gear, this is good timing to finally get some well-deserved attention.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
23 5 8 3 0 3 10 4 0 1 0

With solid consistency—and no controversy—the dynamic Cuban émigré had a superb week that included a 16-game hit streak and an eight-game streak with at least an extra-base hit and RBI (both of which ended on Sunday); the latter run set a Dodgers franchise record. Puig is approaching Game 162 of his career, and what he’s accrued shy of that (in 142 games) is pretty cool: A .322 average, 28 homers, 77 RBIs and 15 steals. Like him, hate him, believe him or don’t; he is the real deal.


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
24 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

The lack of power from the talented young first baseman has been excused as he entered the week hitting .320 to offset the lone home run smacked so far (it’s the epitome of an overall team enigma the Royals are going through). But this past week, Hosmer’s hitting in general shrank to almost zero, with only a few hits to start the weekend series against the Orioles to vouch for. A .294 mark still looks good, but more weeks like this won’t inspire much confidence going forward.


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Mark Reynolds, Milwaukee Brewers

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

It was the worst of all worlds for the veteran bopper this past week, besides the obvious lone single in six games; he grounded into a double play, was caught stealing, and made two errors at the relatively easy defensive spot known as first base. The strikeouts piled up as well—but then again, they always do for Reynolds, who still holds the all-time season record with 223—with eight more added to up his 2014 total to 49. Reynolds is who he is, and the Brewers are well aware that they’ll get some good days from him—and plenty of bad ones, too.


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Drew Hitchinson, Toronto Blue Jays

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 6

A member of last year’s injury-racked Toronto rotation that basically wasn’t (he was one of many Blue Jays to miss the entire season), Hutchison knocked heads this past Friday with Texas ace Yu Darvish and prevailed with his first career shutout, blanking the Rangers on three hits at Arlington. The Tommy John surgery survivor’s effort was all the more reassuring given that he had just come off one of his worst starts of the year the previous Sunday against the Angels.


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8

The seven-year veteran has eclipsed 200 innings in a season only once, but at the rate he’s going, he’ll be closer to 300 this year. It’s been a remarkable start for Cueto, who tossed his second shutout of 2014 with a three-hitter against the Padres on Thursday; his 1.25 ERA is easily the major’s best, and he continues an impressive streak in which he’s thrown at least seven innings while allowing five or fewer hits, and two or fewer runs, in his first nine starts. No major league pitcher has done that. Ever.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Zach McAllister, Cleveland Indians

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 1.1 5 8 8 3 0 0 0 0 3

The 26-year-old righty was off to a mighty start Friday against the A’s, striking out the first three batters he faced. The next nine proved to be more of a problem; he got one out, but walked three and gave up hits to the other five; all eight baserunners eventually scored, and McAllister was bye-bye before the second inning was done. After a 3-0 start to the year, McAllister is 0-4 in his last five starts with an 8.72 ERA.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 1.2 6 7 7 2 0 0 0 1 3

To quote Monty Python: “What’s all this then?” That’s certainly what a lot of puzzled Dodgers fans were wondering after the near-impenetrable ace took a very rare pounding on Saturday at Arizona, giving up a career-high seven runs in less than two innings of work in L.A.’s 18-7 loss. Kershaw hadn’t thrown less than five innings in a regular season game since his first start of 2012, and his four extra-base hits and two walks given up to the D-Backs were more than what he conceded in his previous three starts (20.2 innings) combined.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Detroit Tigers (6-0)

After a somewhat disappointing previous week in which they finished a so-so 4-3 at home against two easy opponents (the Astros and Twins), the Tigers took to the road versus potentially more difficult foes in the Orioles and Red Sox—and they ran the table, winning all six games as stifling pitching allowed just ten runs. The three wins at Fenway did include a touch of bittersweetness as the Tigers must have been thinking: Why the heck couldn’t we have done that last October? For now, Detroit owns the majors’ best record at 27-12.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Washington Nationals (4-2)

On a week where parity seemed to be in vogue throughout the NL, the Nationals didn’t dominate but did what they were happy to do: Take series victories, with two of three each at Arizona and at home against the Mets—because when you take on weak opponents as those two, anything less is a disappointment. Washington finishes the week a mere half-game behind the Braves in the NL East, and gets tougher competition this week in the Reds and Bucs.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Boston Red Sox (1-5)

Just when it looked as if the Red Sox were ready to make a charge back to familiar territory and the top of the AL East, they tripped up and staggered back below the .500 mark. Losing two of three at Minnesota to begin the week hurt, but getting swept back home against the rampaging Tigers (see above) to end it really stung. David Ortiz did all he could, hitting .435 for the week, but his teammates batted .204. It may be Boston Strong outside of Fenway, but inside it’s just Boston Wrong at the moment.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Atlanta Braves (2-4)

We weren’t too high on the Braves’ hitting in our preseason guestimates, and it hasn’t been all too great even as they’ve managed to hold onto first in the NL East. (Excellent pitching had something to do with it.) But weak output hurt the Braves in series losses on the road at San Francisco and St. Louis; only crazy ninth-inning Cardinals pitching got them a second win for the week on Sunday. Batting just .231 for the season, the Braves come home this week, but they better be on their best offensive footing: The opponents are NL upstarts in Milwaukee and Colorado.


Best and Worst of the Week

Monday, May 12
The Chicago Cubs pile up a 17-5 rout upon the Cardinals at St. Louis, with much of the damage being done by the top two guys in the order. Emilio Bonifacio reaches bases five times and scores each time while Junior Lake homers, doubles twice and knocks in six runs.

Rougned Odor, at 20 years of age the youngest active major leaguer, belts his first career home run—a 431-foot blast in the sixth inning—to lift the Texas Rangers to a 4-0 win over the Astros at Houston. The Astros do not score despite 15 baserunners.

For a night, it’s vintage Tim Lincecum at San Francisco. The former two-time Cy Young Award winner who’s fallen on difficult times of late flashes his old form, striking out 11 Atlanta Braves while allowing just a run on two hits through 7.2 innings to give the Giants a 4-2 win. Tyler Colvin, in his first home game for the Giants after starting the year in the minors, homers into McCovey Cove and later triples in two runs.


Tuesday, May 13
After 14 winless starts, Josh Beckett picks up his first victory since September 30, 2012 as the Los Angeles Dodgers roll up an easy 7-1 triumph over the visiting Miami Marlins. Beckett was 0-6 with a 4.12 ERA during his drought.

In his second appearance since returning to action from a brutal spring training head injury, Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman is tagged with the loss when he can’t contain a 1-1 ninth-inning tie. San Diego’s Chase Headley undoes Chapman with a solo home run, and the Padres go on to a 2-1 win.

Mike Trout returns close to his hometown of Vineland, New Jersey, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim begin a two-game series at Philadelphia; the All-Star outfielder nets a single in five at-bats, but he and the Angels are lifted to a 4-3 victory as Phillies third baseman Cory Asche commits three errors—two of them in the sixth inning that leads to all four (unearned) Angels runs.

Given a 1-0 lead entering the ninth inning, Seattle closer Fernando Rodney—facing his former team in the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since signing with the Mariners—gives up two runs for his second blown save of the season. Tampa Bay ace David Price retakes the mound in the bottom of the frame and finishes off a dominant effort, striking out 12 and walking none in a complete-game, 2-1 win.

Powered by Brandon Moss’ two home runs and five RBIs, the Oakland A’s win their sixth straight game with an 11-0 thrashing of the visiting Chicago White Sox. The A’s have outscored opponents 39-8 during the streak.


Wednesday, May 14
The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka is rapidly proving he belongs in the majors. The Japanese import silences the New York Mets with his first career shutout, a four-hit, 4-0 win at City Field, to extend his professional baseball record of consecutive wins to a remarkable 34. Adding insult to injury, Tanaka singles in his final at-bat against the Mets—whose pitchers have yet to record a single hit (0-for-64) for the entire season. The Yankee win ends a six-game losing skid against the crosstown Mets.

The Marlins, who haven’t scored more than five runs in an inning since August 20, 2012, twice tally six as they throttle the Dodgers at Los Angeles, 13-3. The abundance of offense is more than enough for Miami starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who throws six sharp innings in his major league debut. It’s the first time the Dodgers have allowed multiple innings of six-plus runs since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962.

The White Sox end the A’s win streak with a 4-2 victory thanks primarily to a three-run, eighth-inning blast off the bat of first-year Cuban emigre Jose Abreu, who now leads the majors with 15 homers and 41 RBIs through his first 42 games; only Wally Berger (in 1930) had reached 15 and 40+ in fewer games to start a career. Losing for the A’s is reliever Francisco Abad, who has now lost 14 straight decisions since his first and only career win in 2011.

The Cleveland Indians pounce on the Blue Jays at Toronto, 15-4, with 22 hits—five each from David Murphy and Lonnie Chisenhall. They’re the first pair of Indians to collect at least five in a game since the memorable 18-inning, 18-17 win over the Philadelphia A’s in 1932 when three members of the Tribe had at least five—including Johnny Burnett, who collected an all-time record nine hits in 11 at-bats.


Thursday, May 15
Johnny Cueto continues his electrifying start to the year as he throws his second shutout, a three-hit, 5-0 masterpiece against the San Diego Padres in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Cincinnati. The Reds’ ace, whose season ERA dips to 1.25, has allowed two or fewer runs while throwing seven or more innings in each of his nine starts, something no pitcher in the modern era has ever accomplished.

The Rays take a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but closer Grant Balfour can’t retire any of three Angel batter he faces; the mess is left to replacement Brad Boxberger, who’s first task is to retire Mike Trout. It also ends up being his last task; Trout belts his first career walk-off home run, and the Angels stun Tampa Bay at Anaheim, 6-5. It’s a nice tonic for Trout, who had just six hits in his previous 45 at-bats before going deep.

The Giants’ Matt Cain allows four runs to the Marlins through his first three innings but settles in to throw seven frames and pick up his first victory of the year—and his first in 11 starts dating back to last August 12, when he beat…the Marlins. San Francisco wins, 6-4, over a Miami team that had won ten of 11 previous games at AT&T Park.


Friday, May 16
Jeff Samardzija must be thinking: Oh, to be Masahiro Tanaka. The luckless (and winless) Chicago Cubs ace makes his ninth start but drops to 0-4 despite a 1.62 ERA, allowing four runs (two unearned) in five innings in a 4-3 home loss to Milwaukee. Tanaka, by the way, is 6-0 despite a higher (2.17) ERA.

Toronto’s Drew Hutchison throws his first career shutout—one of six shutout road wins on the day within the majors—with an impressive three-hit, 2-0 win against the Rangers at Arlington. The Blue Jays’ two runs come off the bat of Melky Cabrera on an eighth-inning double that brings home Erik Kratz and Anthony Gose—both of whom had reached on bunt hits.

Jorge De La Rosa has no fear of Coors Field. In seven innings against the Padres, the 33-year-old Rockies pitcher allows just a hit and a walk while striking out five to improve his career record at the mile-high ballpark to 38-12 with a 4.14 ERA. The Rockies top the Padres, 3-1.


Saturday, May 17
The Dodgers have had Arizona’s number of late, but tonight is a definite exception. Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw takes a rare beating, drilled for seven runs in one-plus innings, and Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt goes 4-for-5 with two doubles, two homers, a career-high six RBIs and a franchise-record five runs in an 18-7 rout. The silver lining for the Dodgers is Yasiel Puig, who sets a Dodger franchise mark with both an extra-base hit and RBI in his eighth straight game.

Danny Duffy retires the first 20 Baltimore hitters he faces, and he settles for seven shutout innings (on two hits) as the Royals edge the Orioles, 1-0, on a first-inning RBI single from Billy Butler.

The Phillies’ Cole Hamels records his first win of 2014—and the 100th of his career—allowing a run on three hits while striking out ten Reds in seven innings in a 12-1 Philadelphia romp at Citizens Bank Park. Dominic Brown homers and knocks in five for the Phillies.

The struggling Rangers lose at home to the Blue Jays, 4-2, and there is a noticeable absence in the Texas lineup: Prince Fielder is out with a neck issue. It snaps a streak of 547 consecutive games in which he had played, the majors' longest active run. That distinction now belongs to San Francisco's Hunter Pence, who's played in 215 straight games.

Houston tops the Chicago White Sox by a 6-5 margin at Minute Maid Park thanks in large part to a four-run first inning highlighted by Jason Castro’s three-run blast—the first homer by an Astros clean-up hitter all season. In their previous 42 games, the Astros’ four spot in the lineup had accumulated a .188 average, no homers and just ten RBIs. (A day later, Matt Dominguez will go deep twice hitting in the clean-up spot.)

C.J. Wilson throws the second shutout of his career, tossing 127 pitches and allowing five hits in the Angels’ 6-0 victory at Anaheim. Wilson’s first shutout, back in 2011, was also against the Rays.


Sunday, May 18
Albert Pujols goes deep twice off the Rays’ David Price and ties Eddie Murray for 25th on the all-time list with 504 career blasts, and the Angels easily take care of Tampa Bay, 6-2.

A wild day at Coors Field includes a triple play (the first pulled off by the Rockies since 2007), a blown save (the first of the year for 41-year-old Colorado closer LaTroy Hawkins) and six home runs—including a walk-off blast from Justin Morneau in the tenth to give the Rockies an 8-6 win over the Padres.

Kansas City prevails at home over the Orioles with powerful help from Alex Gordon, who slams two homers among four hits with six RBIs in an 8-6 victory. The last Royal to put together those kinds of numbers in a game was Jermaine Dye in 1999.


The Catch-22 of Becoming a Scarred Big-league Pitcher
The Tommy John epidemic continued this past week with a loss that stung the Miami Marlins and, by promotional extension, Major League Baseball: 21-year-old wunderkind Jose Fernandez, who’s baffled opponents in his roughly one year at the big league level, went under the knife for elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Fernandez joins 17 other pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery this year. Also out until sometime in 2015 are Texas’ Martin Perez, Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore, Atlanta’s Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, Oakland’s A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, Arizona’s Patrick Corbin and the New York Yankees’ Ivan Nova.

The loss of Fernandez is an added blow to MLB marketing efforts to attract younger audiences, given that two of its brightest young pitching stars—Fernandez and the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey—are on the shelf recovering from TJ. So you think MLB has got to be joining the chorus of those asking: What’s with all the torn ligaments?

While everyone has their own theories, one seems to be gaining more and more traction in the mainstream: Early overuse of one’s arm. Tommy John himself told us in his interview with TGG that the main problem is kids asked to pitch year-round with high-profile club teams with no extensive time off. Then they go to high school, where you get a guy like Dylan Fosnacht, who this past week threw 194 pitches in nearly 15 innings during a prep game in Washington state. By the time they get to college, the mileage has added up—and the specter of TJ surgery looms a bit more than perhaps it used when all-year baseball wasn’t so prevalent.

So should kids with dreams of being the next big league ace take time off during the year? Maybe they should, but doing so risks a lack of advancement relative to the other kid who pitches all year—the kid who’s pressing his muscles with premature taxation and taking his chances with an early career burnout down the road.

Okay, so leave it to the competitive leagues to tell the kids to take a break, right? Wrong. There’s money to be made in these leagues, luring the best of the best to show up, travel the road and make an impression for prep, college and maybe even major league scouts. Kids and their parents, visualizing a profitable, starry-eyed future if they play their cards right, are willing to invest thousands of dollars into these clubs to see their aces in the making progress. Such obsession is starting to reach the level of parents of budding Olympic skaters.

Should it be determined that the early stress on young arms is the culprit of the Tommy John epidemic, then perhaps its time for the culture to undergo some reconstructive surgery of its own.

Make That Two
Maybe it’s a good thing Yu Darvish’s no-hitter on May 9 against Boston was broken up with two outs in the ninth. Otherwise, we’d have controversy. There certainly seemed to be some of that two innings earlier that evening when David Ortiz—who struck the no-no-killer in the ninth—popped one up that landed safely between Texas outfielder Alex Rios and second baseman Rougned Odor because of miscommunications between the two. At the time, Ortiz was denied a hit and an error was charged on the Rangers—which seemed strange, because technically no error is ever charged when a fielder doesn’t touch the ball.

MLB thought it was strange, too. This past week, they changed the scoring on the play, removing the error and giving Ortiz what will be forever notated as his first of two hits on the night. Our question: Had Ortiz not gotten that hit in the ninth and Darvish secured his no-hitter, would MLB had been as anxious to change the seventh-inning error?

Thumbs Up for Softer Bases?
The three infield bases used at major league games are often called “bags,” though that seems strange to visualize given how hard the bases have become over the years. Way back in the day, the bases were something more like beanbags that took the abuse like a good soldier; now, they’re hardened squares of rubber that give the abuse back. Ask star players like Josh Hamilton, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and, this past week, Ben Zobrist—all of whom are on the disabled list after breaking, dislocating or tearing a muscle in their thumbs after jamming it into bases they were trying to beat throws to. (The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, arguably the majors’ most magnetic presence today, also jammed his thumb sliding into a base but avoided the DL.)

MLB—and umpires, especially—prefers the hard bases because it makes it easier to make a close call; a soft, spongy bag that morphs and changes shape at the top would make an umpire’s decision more difficult. But can baseball continue to lose marquee players when there are solutions to prevent more losses, as ESPN’s Steve Wulf recently outlined?

Some within baseball have already called for one solution: Demand that players stop sliding head first—or really, fingers first—a trend Pete Rose popularized 50 years ago. Sure, but then you’d have players jamming ankles or breaking legs when they go in feet first.

A breakaway base could be an option, too—but again, how would an umpire parse the moment when a baserunner is ruled safe but is vulnerable to a second tag if the bag were to break loose and be knocked away from him?

As long as the disabled list keeps growing with base-related injuries, the issue won’t go away. Since umpires would be the ones most likely against any change, it will be interesting to see what clout they would be able to wield should the chatter lead to intended actions.

Quotas and Challenges and Errors, Oh My…
This Week in MLB Video Replay Gone Wrong
wounded of the weekRegardless of what replay system Major League Baseball is or should be using, it will only be as good as the scope of reviewable plays dictates. Which brings us to this past Thursday’s game between the Marlins and the San Francisco Giants.

With the Giants batting in the bottom of the fifth inning with Angel Pagan on first and no one out, Hunter Pence chopped a ball down the first line and dashed off in an attempt to beat out a throw at first. But when the ball came down right next to Pence halfway to first, it bounced fair, clipped Pence’s foot and was redirected into foul territory. Everyone at AT&T Park saw the ball hit Pence. The Marlins certainly saw it hit Pence. The umpires did not. They called it a foul ball. Marlins manager Mike Redmond went out to immediate challenge the call in hopes of it getting it overturned—but the umpires told him, “Sorry, pal. You’re out of luck.”

Apparently, fair/foul calls are reviewable, but only past first and third base. So why not before the bases? Because we’re told that ballparks don’t have “dedicated” cameras covering the first- and third-base lines. Is this to mean that the myriad of “non-dedicated” cameras won’t be able to get a good shot of a disputed call? The AT&T Park crew had at least two good, convincing views of the ball hitting Pence.

So instead of being called out as he should have, Pence reached on a single one pitch later, and the Giants began a three-run rally that put them ahead for good against the Marlins, winning the game by a 6-4 score.

Southbound With Sunglasses?
We got our first look at the new Cobb County ballpark and extended mixed-use development complex that will become home for the Atlanta Braves in 2017 this past week. The six renderings released to the public essentially show four levels of seating from foul pole to foul pole, with extended seating wrapping around to the left-center bleachers, where they’ll be covered by a giant canopy that’s reminiscent of the giant, flat grandstand roof at Braves Field, the team’s Boston home from 1915 through its 1953 departure to Milwaukee. There will be an open view past the right-field bleachers, exposing some of the taller structures within the development and, for those sitting in the upper decks, a small lake immediately behind the ballpark.

One potential issue that could arise if these renderings are faithful to the finished product is that the hitter would be looking southward from home plate to the mound. Most ballparks look in an easterly direction to eliminate hassles with the sun for a post-noon or evening starts. (Ask the people in Bakersfield, California, where the minor league park faces directly west and can cause headaches for hitters before sunset.) A southerly direction wouldn’t be quite as harsh, but one never knows until it’s tested—and if the test fails, they can’t just lift the ballpark and turn it east.

He’s Worth a Thousand, Twice
Alfonso Soriano became the seventh player in major league history to record at least 1,000 hits in both the American and National Leagues, knocking out a single this past Monday against the New York Mets. Who are the other six players Soriano joins on the list? They are Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Fred McGriff, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Lee and Orlando Cabrera.

Twin Papi?
Should David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox ever agree to separate, we strongly suggest the Minnesota Twins as a final stop for Big Papi. Why? After splurging at the Twins’ expense in Minneapolis this past week, Ortiz now is hitting .509 (29-for-57) with nine homers and 22 RBIs in 14 career games at Target Field. And remember: Target Field is not a fan of hitters, given its spacious dimensions.

The Loser Gets…
After exchanging lineup cards and handshakes before Tuesday’s game between Washington and Arizona, managers Matt Williams and Kirk Gibson suddenly ran away toward each other’s dugouts. Two things we immediately asked ourselves: Did one of the umpires fart? And, since when did Gibson rediscover the ability to run on such bad knees?

Contact Over Grippin’ and Rippin’
In Kansas City’s 5-1 win over Colorado this past Tuesday, Royals’ pitchers struck out 12 Rockies—while Royals hitters didn’t strike out once.

Swing, Dude, Swing!
If you look at the basic stat sheet, you’d think Cleveland slugger Carlos Santana would be having a dreadful year. Granted he probably would love to be hitting higher than .156. But along with a mere 22 hits, Santana has walked 34 times, jacking his on-base percentage to .319. That figure is roughly on par with St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams—who’s hitting over .300.

Pinch-bit
Here’s one reason why the Chicago Cubs have been dreadful: They’re 6-for-60 in pinch-hit situations—with no homers, and no RBIs.

A Round of Broadway on Me!
Someone in the New York Mets’ front office was asked to get tickets for a Broadway show using Sandy Alderson’s credit card—and instead of emailing the request along with the full credit card into to those supplying the tickets, the person accidentally sent the email to a list of New York press members. Needless to say, Alderson begins the new week with a new credit card.

He Said What?
“Hopefully find a team to play against (the Mets).” —Reliever Kyle Farnsworth, asked what his plans are after refusing a minor league assignment from the New York Mets and being released as a result. Farnsworth was signed on at week’s end by the Astros—and assuming he stays in Houston for the balance of the year, he’ll get his chance for revenge against the Mets on the regular season’s final weekend when the two teams meet at New York from September 26-28.

This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Baltimore’s
Adam Jones finished this past week with the majors’ longest active hitting streak at 13 games. The perennial All-Star outfielder is hitting .345 with five homers 11 RBIs during his run.

League vs. League
The American League’s recent surge to reoccupy their familiar spot as interleague conquerors continued this past week, taking eight of 11 games to assume the lead against National League opponents at 43-38. This, after the NL held a 26-17 advantage just a few weeks ago. To note once again: The AL has won the yearly interleague wars for each of the last ten years.

Wounded of the Week
wounded of the weekAfter a relatively quiet few weeks, things got rough at the MLB Medical Ward as a new batch of marquee arrivals drained enthusiasm back at the commissioner’s office. We have already mentioned, above, the loss of Miami ace Jose Fernandez and rising Texas star pitcher Martin Perez (both out for the year with Tommy John surgery), as well as a dislocated thumb for Tampa Bay second baseman Ben Zobrist after sliding into a hard base, but the big names didn’t stop there. It was revealed on Sunday that rookie Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, leading the majors in homers and RBIs, would hit the DL with a tendinitis issue in his ankle, as would Yankees veteran Carlos Beltran (hyperextended knee), Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez (shoulder), San Diego ace Andrew Cashner (elbow), Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks (broken finger), New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee (strained lat) and Toronto outfielder Colby Rasmus (hamstring).

Joining Perez above on the DL in Texas is fellow starting pitcher Matt Harrison, whose bad back flared up once more; he’s now looking at undergoing a procedure that could fix the problem but ruin his ability to throw again in the majors.


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