The Weekly Comebacker: The baseball week in review
The Week That Was in Baseball: July 18-24, 2011
Is the L.A.P.D. Sure This Time? Can Stephen Strasburg Make a Difference in 2011?
Not an Empty Seat to be Found in Dayton No-Hittin' on the Royal Farms

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Fun facts About Your All-Time Hit Leaders
Updated!
Take the TGG quiz to determine your good baseball knowledge when it comes to the game's all-time hit leaders and the 3,000-hit club. Check it out now!

The 2011 Mid-Season Report Card
Our picks for the best, worst and most unexpected during the first half of the 2011 regular season. Check it out now!

This Time, Definitely?
When the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors raised the reward this past week for finding those responsible in the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, a lot of people were left scratching their heads because, hey, didn’t they already have the guy in custody? Well, apparently not—and within 24 hours, L.A. police arrested two suspects and exonerated the man they originally brought in, Giovanni Ramirez. His connection to the case became more in doubt when evidence showed that he wasn’t even at the ballpark that night. The two new suspects’ rap sheets aren’t as extensive as Ramirez’s, though many of their past brushes with the law were tied to spousal abuse.

According to sources close to the investigation, there may have been other Giant fans who were victims of the two newly charged, Louis Sanchez and Marvin Norwood.

Safety First, Sightlines Second
In light of the tragic death of Shannon Stone at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington earlier this month, the Texas Rangers announced that they’ll be raising the height of the front-row railings throughout the ballpark. Stone fell 20 feet to his death on July 8 when he lunged too far over the front-row bleacher railing for a foul ball lobbed at him from Ranger center fielder Josh Hamilton.

No-No, No—No!
The last-place Kansas City Royals may be struggling to improve with all the bright young prospects who’ve joined the team, but the future still looks bright in the farm system. Luis Mednoza threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Omaha on Monday—followed by a combined no-hitter the next day from the Royals’ Double-A affiliate in Northwest Arkansas by Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera.

Alas, Mendoza’s no-hitter lasted for two days. Pacific Coast League officials, after extensive video review of a fly ball botched in the outfield, determined that the sequence—a deep fly hit by Louisville’s Tyler Greene that glanced off the top of Memphis outfielder David Lough’s glove—would be changed from an error to a hit, overruling Mendoza’s no-no. The officials ruled that Lough misplayed the ball in terms of his positioning, but not in his ability (or lack thereof) to catch the fly. Hence, no error.

Stras-tember in D.C.?
With the Washington Nationals hanging close to the .500 mark, any run for the postseason could be sweetened by a September secret weapon: Stephen Strasburg. The wunderkind pitcher, whose rookie year last season ended abruptly short when he bowed to reconstructive surgery on his right elbow, has recovered to the point that he’s been throwing at 95 MPH in recent simulation games. Barring any setbacks, Strasburg could be back on the Washington roster in mid-September.

It'll Play in Dayton
The Boston Red Sox have nothing on the Dayton Dragons. The Class-A farm club for the Cincinnati Reds recently sold out their 815th straight game, a North American pro sports record. Granted, the Dragons’ home park of Fifth Third Field has a capacity about one-fifth of Fenway Park at 7,200, but also know that the population of Dayton is 141,000. The team is co-owned by basketball Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.

This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio keeps it going and remains the man with the majors’ longest active hitting streak at the end of this past week. Bonifacio’s 23-game run is the third longest in Marlin history; for those keeping score, Kevin Millar is second at 25 games, followed at the top by Luis Castillo’s 35-game streak—both accomplished in 2002. Bonifacio is hitting .386 during his streak.

Wounded of the Week
As a reminder that baseball can sometimes be a brutal game, we give you this past Wednesday at Phoenix. In the fourth inning, Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew broke his right ankle in an attempted slide at home plate; just one play later, the Diamondbacks’ Ryan Roberts lifted a short fly into the outfield that was caught on a terrific all-out dive by Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez—who fractured his left collarbone on the play. The Brewers are optimistic that Gomez will return before the end of the season. Drew, however, is out for the year.

Elsewhere in baseball’s world of pain, we witnessed a pulled hamstring by Texas’ Adrian Beltre, a strained shoulder to Cincinnati’s Scott Rolen, and yet again saw Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore make the disabled list—this time with a sports hernia.

Finally, former Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Brandon Webb, who has not thrown a regular season pitch in two and a half years, will have to wait at least until 2012 to try again; he’s going under the knife once more for rotator cuff surgery.

TGG Goes to CafePress
We’ve always gotten raves for how we look at This Great Game, and now you can own a piece of the brand. We’ve opened a page at the popular CafePress site, with apparel, mugs, clocks and other items dressed in the TGG brand now available. We don’t just throw the logo and be done with it, adding in some fun baseball trivia. We even have a boy brief for the ladies that says on the backside: “If baseball is on your mind at this point, we’re just what you need.” Now you can show the world that you’re a baseball expert...and you’ll look good, too. Check it out now!

The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.

A Day-by-Day Review of the Week:
Monday, July 18
Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay, the model of workhorse durability, succumbs to the intense heat gripping the eastern two-thirds of the nation and is removed from his start at Chicago against the Cubs for heat exhaustion in the fifth inning. The Phillies lose, 6-1; it’s the first loss for Halladay in two months, and it breaks a streak of 63 road starts in which he had pitched six or more innings, the longest such run since the great Walter Johnson, who went 82 starts with at least six or more away from home between 1911-15.

Less than 24 hours after outlasting Tampa Bay 1-0 in 16 innings, the Boston Red Sox pound the Orioles at Baltimore, 15-10. An eight-run eighth inning breaks an 8-8 tie. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Oriole pitcher Kevin Gregg are absent for the series, serving suspensions for their confrontation with one another the last time the two teams met at Boston.

Hall-of-Fame pitcher and Texas Ranger CEO Nolan Ryan is taken to a hospital after experiencing discomfort from a pre-existing heart condition, but doctors determine that there are no new issues to be concerned over. The 64-year old Ryan, whose family has a history of heart issues, went under the knife for double-bypass surgery in 2000.

The Pittsburgh Pirates take command of first place in the NL Central by defeating Cincinnati at PNC Park before 22,016, roughly double the turnout the Bucs were getting at this time last year. The Pirates reach 50 wins exactly two months earlier than last season.

Tuesday, July 19
The Rangers win their 12th straight game with a 7-0 win over the Angels at Anaheim behind eight shutout innings from Alexi Ogando. The streak is the second longest in franchise history, and they have allowed just two runs in their previous six games.

Wednesday, July 20
Hideki Matsui becomes the first player to hit 500 home runs split between Japan and North America when he bangs a sixth-inning shot at Detroit in Oakland’s 7-5 win at Detroit. Tuffy Rhodes, who hit a combined 487 home runs (all but 13 in Japan), is second on the list.

It’s a hard day to be a manager in Chicago. The White Sox’ Ozzie Guillen lashes out at his offense after losing at Kansas City in 11 innings, 2-1. “Nothing more painful than losing the f***ing game against (Royal starter) Bruce Chen again,” Guillen rants afterward, “F***ing pathetic. No f***ing energy.” Up the road at Wrigley Field, Mike Quade is no less thrilled with the performance of his Cubs, who get steamrolled by the Phillies, 9-1; he specifically calls out emerging young stars Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney for critical early mistakes that “set the tone” for the loss.

The San Diego Padres, the NL’s worst hitting team, jump out to a 13-0 lead after just two innings at Florida, coasting from there to a 14-3 win over the Marlins. The Padres knock out 20 hits, and seven players in the starting lineup collect at least two.

Thursday, July 21
In St. Louis’ 6-2 win at New York against the Mets, the Cardinals steal their first base since June 9—a stretch of 32 games—when catcher Yadier Molina swipes a bag in the ninth inning. It was the longest such drought since the Cleveland Indians went without a steal in 35 games in 1977; the Cardinals were unsuccessful nine times trying to steal during the run.

Friday, July 22
Oakland pitcher Trevor Cahill is blasted by the Yankees for ten runs in two innings, as New York goes on to defeat the A’s, 17-7. Cahill has now started two games in his career at Yankee Stadium, allowing 18 runs in six innings for a 27.00 ERA.

Saturday, July 23
Two teams snap 11-game losing streaks against specific teams. The A’s win at New York over the Yankees, 4-3, to end their 11-game drought against the Bronx Bombers. Meanwhile in Minnesota, the Twins win for the first time in 11 tries against Detroit with a 4-1 in over the Tigers.

The Red Sox’ 3-1 win over Seattle is the 1,000th career win for Boston manager Terry Francona. It’s the Mariners’ 14th straight loss, tying a franchise record.

Sunday, July 24
The Mariners make it 15 defeats in a row when they can’t keep up with the Red Sox’ bats, losing 12-8 at Fenway. “There aren’t too many laughs right now,” said the Mariners’ Brendan Ryan. “There shouldn’t be.” In the game, Tim Wakefield becomes only the second Red Sox pitcher (after Roger Clemens) to record 2,000 strikeouts in a Boston uniform.

The Cubs sweep the Houston Astros with a 5-4 extra-inning victory and, 100 games into the season, have their first three-game win streak of the year.

Highly-touted Los Angeles of Anaheim center fielder Mike Trout, age 19, becomes the youngest major leaguer to homer since Justin Upton in 2007 with a three-run blast during the Angels’ 9-3 win at Baltimore.

Now Playing at TGG
Our annual midseason report card, detailing the best, worst and most unexpected during the first half of the 2011 regular season.

Now Replaying at TGG
In light of Jeter’s historic moment, TGG has revised and updated its Fun Facts About Your All-Time Hit Leaders, featuring a 22-question quiz to test your baseball knowledge on members of the 3,000-hit club as well as posers on all-time team leaders. Good luck!