This Great Game Comebacker

The Week That Was in Baseball: August 25-31, 2014
Five Intriguing Landing Spots for Giancarlo Stanton August's Best and Worst
Paging Adam Jones The Ice Cream Sandwich That Ended Jesus Montero's Year


Best and Worst of the Week

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
23 6 12 1 1 4 9 0 0 0 2

The speedy outfielder’s first season to date at New York hasn’t been all that mind-blowing, given all the money the Yankees have thrown at him. But Ellsbury certainly earned his keep this past week, even as a bothersome ankle led to a Sunday night MRI. What especially brought smiles to the Yankee brass was four home runs that gave him 14 on the year, the second most in his eight-year career after his out-of-nowhere 32 he struck in 2011.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
27 5 10 2 0 4 13 1 0 2 0

The veteran slugger wasn’t even in the conversation for this honor until the weekend when he produced major damage on Cubs pitching with a combined total of three homers and nine RBIs over Saturday and Sunday. Holliday hasn’t hit less than 20 homers in a season since 2005, and with this sudden power surge pushing him to 16, he’s now got a decent shot to keep that streak alive. It’s a welcome sight for Cardinals fans and teammates who know that a prime-conditioned Holliday is essential to snare yet another postseason ticket for the team.


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Alberto Callaspo, Oakland A's

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
27 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0

It’s bad enough that the suddenly collapsing A’s were having to use the 31-year-old Venezuelan as their DH given that he’s only hit one homer since April—but hits of any kinds were hard to come by this past week as Callaspo mirrored the A’s big picture at the plate and came up empty time and time again. This funk has led the A’s to acquire Adam Dunn in an attempt to jumpstart the DH power generator, which will likely lead to Callaspo seeing more of the near future from the bench.


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Lucas Duda, New York Mets

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
23 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

The Mets’ offensive savior for 2014, after a great previous week (five homers, 11 RBIs), went dry on the vine as he struggled in a lineup that’s offering zilch protection, with David Wright and Curtis Granderson laying eggs and Daniel Murphy looking done for the year. Still, much of the blame has to be placed on Duda’s shoulders as could only muster a pair of singles while hitting into two double plays. Duda still has a shot to become only the second Met to hit 30-plus homers in the Citi Field era, but it looks like he’ll be all on his own.


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
2-0 14 7 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 13

Remember a few weeks back when some experts were declaring the Angels’ campaign over when breakout pitcher Garrett Richards suffered a season-ending knee injury? Well, another young rising hurler has come along to put all that bunk to bed. The 27-year-old rookie Shoemaker marveled in two starts, each consisting of seven shutout innings. Here’s the odd part: 14 of his 23 outs in Monday’s win over Miami were hit on the ground; but none of the 21 outs he got on Sunday against the A’s were. Shoemaker has not allowed a run in his last 23.2 innings of work.


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
2-0 15 6 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 20

It was terrific week for the Giants’ current closest thing to an ace, starting in near-historic fashion as he thoroughly dominated the Rockies on Tuesday and came within a lucky Justin Morneau double of netting a perfect game. Sunday against another sharp offensive outfit in the Brewers, Mad Bum eased through six innings and picked up his 16th win to co-lead the majors and tie a career high. Should the timing work out, we’re looking forward to a few Bumgarner-Clayton Kershaw duels in September.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
David Price, Detroit Tigers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 2 12 8 8 1 0 0 0 0 3

Yes, you’re probably seeing this one coming down the street: The Price was not right this past Wednesday against the Yankees. What nobody saw, however, was a complete breakdown in what the 29-year-old workhorse described as the worst game of his career. After two shutout innings, Price gave up hits to the first nine Yankee batters he faced in the third; eight of them scored. This, after he one-hit his old team, the Rays, in his last start. Go figure.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 3 9 6 6 2 0 1 1 0 1

Just a few weeks ago, Yahoo! Sports was singing the praises of the gifted young Dominican and writing how he’d grown up throwing lemons when there were no baseballs available. This past Friday at San Francisco, Peralta’s performance reminded witnesses of the kind of lemon that unsatisfied customers return to the car dealer. Peralta was just plain out of whack, struggling badly to find his control until the Brewers finally gave up and removed him from the game.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (6-1)

Note to Artie’s Angels: The world is yours. The Angels proved that they are now the team to beat after deconstructing the once-unsolvable A’s in an eye-opening four-game home sweep that included two shutouts—one performed exclusively by a potpourri of eight relievers—to open up a five-game advantage over Oakland in the AL West. The Angels now hit the road for the next ten games—with nine of them against the AL’s three worst teams (Houston, Minnesota and Texas). Yes, Angels, the world is yours. Be careful not to drop it.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
San Francisco Giants (6-1)

Fog City’s fickle fandom had all but given up on catching the Dodgers a few weeks ago, but that sentiment is now beginning to change after the Giants produced a prodigious week that ended with a season high-tying six straight wins and their first series win over a winning team (Milwaukee) since May. Great pitching abounded with Madison Bumgarner and Jake Peavy taking perfect/no-hit affairs into the eighth inning, and the hitters muscled up and pummeled the Brewers into submission over the weekend. The Giants begin September just 2.5 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Minnesota Twins (1-5)

The Twins’ 12-8 loss at Baltimore on Sunday was symbolic of their August as a whole: Lot of runs scored, but even more given up. To be fair to Minnesota’s fast-eroding pitching staff, the hitters managed to score two or fewer runs in four of their six games this past week, but the pitchers haven’t made it very easy for them. As we note in our Best and Worst of August to the left, the Twins were both; nobody scored more runs, nobody gave up more. It’s too bad Phil Hughes (14-9) can’t throw every day, like those high school pitchers in Japan.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Milwaukee Brewers (1-5)

The Brew Crew’s week got off to a great start in San Diego with a 10-1 Monday rout, but it all went straight in the latrine from there. Maybe the team was bummed that former Brewers owner Bud Selig got his name on the Padres’ Hall of Fame instead of theirs. Nothing clicked in the five losses that followed; the bats were mostly silent and the pitching collapsed, especially over the weekend in San Francisco. The Cardinals come to town later this week, and the Brewers better be ready, because that’s who they’re tied with at the top of the NL Central to start September.


Best and Worst of the Week

Monday, August 25
The Baltimore Orioles bomb away on the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, 9-1, with five home runs—back-to-back shots by Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce in the third, followed by back-to-back-to-back blasts by Delmon Young, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis in the fifth. The Orioles maintain their six-game lead over New York (8-1 winners at Kansas City) in the AL East.

Losers of eight straight, Boston blows a 3-0 lead in the ninth at Toronto when the Blue Jays rally to tie—but the Red Sox rebound in the tenth as Yoenis Cespedes singles in the eventual winning run to prevail, 4-3.

The Milwaukee Brewers find the Padres to be no problem at San Diego, thrashing them to the tune of 10-1. The losing pitcher for the Padres is Eric Stults, who now shares the major league lead in losses with 14—though anemic run support (a major league-worst 2.69 per game) has as much to do with it as does his 4.63 season ERA.


Tuesday, August 26
San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner is brilliant, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning before Colorado’s Justin Morneau, with a defensive two-strike swing, manages to poke a double down the right-field line for what will be the only hit (and baserunner) for the Rockies. Buster Posey backs Bumgarner with two home runs to give the Giants a 3-0 victory.

Trailing 1-0 in the ninth, Kansas City snatches victory away from Minnesota as Alex Gordon smacks a two-run walk-off homer to defeat the Twins, 2-1, and preserve the Royals’ 1.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers (5-2 winners over the New York Yankees). Bud Royals manager Ned Yost is frustrated after the game, publicly lamenting the small turnout of 13,847 at Kauffman Stadium.

Philadelphia slips past Washington, 4-3, on an eighth-inning run courtesy of a throwing error from the Nationals’ Ian Desmond. Jonathan Papelbon picks up his 100th save since joining the Phillies; he’s the first player to amass 100 for one team and 200 for another (Red Sox).


Wednesday, August 27
Detroit’s David Price shuts out New York over the first two innings—then gives up hits to the first nine Yankees he faces in the third. Eight of those runners score and Price’s night is over, as the Tigers go on to lose 8-4 at Comerica Park. No previous Cy Young winner had ever allowed more than eight straight hits in a game.

It’s yet another highly anticipated—and impressive—debut for a Chicago Cubs prospect. Tonight it’s Cuban-born Jorge Soler, who homers in his first at-bat and later strikes a run-scoring single, but it’s not enough as the Cubs bow at Cincinnati, 7-5. Soler is the first Cub to go deep in his first at-bat since Starlin Castro in 2010.

It’s the good ol’ times for the Phillies; they beat the Nationals, 8-4, get a combined seven hits from their three veteran stars (Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard) and nobody is openly criticizing manager Ryne Sandberg. The Phillies get six of their runs in their final three ups.

For the seventh time this season, the Oakland A’s enter the ninth inning trailing—and win. After Eric Sogard’s single ties the Astros at Houston, Sam Fuld puts them ahead with a two-run homer as Oakland eventually takes home a 5-4 victory—but the A’s remain a game back of the Angels (6-1 winners over Miami) on the eve of a four-game series with the AL West leaders at Anaheim.


Thursday, August 28
In the first matchup of that four-game series at Angels Stadium, the A’s survive a ninth-inning Angels rally (bases loaded, one out) but not a tenth-inning uprising in which Los Angeles of Anaheim nets the winning run on a Howie Kendrick sacrifice fly to win, 4-3.

The Giants win their straight game over the Rockies, 4-1, on the strength of starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, who retires the first eight batters to extend an overall streak to 46—breaking Mark Buerhle’s major league record—before Colorado pitcher Jordan Lyles ends it with a double.

Atlanta pulls away late from the Mets at Citi Field, 6-1, as Braves pitcher Mike Minor not only delivers seven strong innings but also singles and doubles over three at-bats, knocking in one.


Friday, August 29
Only three players since 1900 have hit three homers through their first three games—and two of them have done it for the Cubs this year. Jorge Soler goes deep twice in Chicago’s 7-2 win over the Cardinals at St. Louis, and now has three blasts among seven hits in his first three games. (FYI: The Cubs' Javier Baez and Joe Cunningham, for the 1954 Cardinals, are the other two guys.)

It’s a miserable night for the Minnesota Twins at Baltimore; they get pounded upon, 9-1, by the Orioles to retain possession of last place in the AL Central, and starting pitcher Trevor May drops to 0-4 with a 10.42 ERA. But the Twins deliver one silver lining of historical note: Trevor Plouffe’s seventh-inning homer is the 10,000th in franchise history. They are the last of the original eight American League teams to reach the milestone.

The King’s Court is let down in Seattle. Felix Hernandez takes the mound against Washington and surrenders a career-high four homers and strikes out only one over seven innings, as the Nationals blast six over the fence overall to defeat the Mariners, 8-3.

The Angels ensure that they’ll retain the AL West lead after their weekend series with the A’s in Anaheim as Jered Weaver throws seven shutout innings for his 15th win of the year in a 4-0 victory. Oakland is now three games behind the Angels; since acquiring Jon Lester (who loses tonight’s game) on July 31, the A’s are 12-15.

Justin Upton stays hot with a home run and three RBIs, and Craig Kimbrel racks up his NL-leading 40th save of the season in Atlanta’s 5-2 win over the visiting Marlins. Kimbrel becomes the third pitcher to collect 40-plus saves in four consecutive years.


Saturday, August 30
Five days after Madison Bumgarner took a perfect game into the eighth inning, Giants teammate Jake Peavy all but matches him, pitching a no-hitter into the same frame before Milwaukee’s Mark Reynolds breaks it up with a one-out bloop single. Peavy is removed before the end of the eighth but gets credit for the Giants’ 3-1 win, their fifth straight.

It’s a bullpen day for the Angels, and they make the most of it—using eight relievers from start to finish to shut down the A’s, 2-0, and extend their lead in the AL West to four games. Only three other times in major league history has a team used so many pitchers and not allowed a single run.

San Diego ties a franchise record by winning three straight games in extra innings. Tonight’s walk-off finish comes from Alexi Amarista, who singles in Will Venable in the tenth inning to give the Padres a 2-1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the first game of a doubleheader against Detroit, Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale strikes out the side four times—something that hasn’t been accomplished since Kerry Wood’s memorable 20-K performance in 1998—and ties Ed Walsh’s White Sox’ record of 17 games with ten or more strikeouts in a 6-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field. The Tigers rebound to take the second game, 8-4, and tie Kansas City for first in the AL Central because…

The Cleveland Indians score two in the top of the 11th and survive a Royals counter-rally to prevail at Kauffman Stadium, 3-2. Winners of 13 of their last 18 games, the Indians are now just 3.5 games back of the Tigers and Royals.

Former Texas pitcher Scott Feldman faces his old mates and tosses his second career shutout, a three-hitter that lifts Houston to a 2-0 home victory. Rangers starting pitcher Robbie Ross Jr., rushed in from the minors as scheduled starter Mike Mikolas is hurt, has a no-hitter through five innings—and is removed, because he’s on a pitch count limit following a start in the minors just two days earlier.


Sunday, August 31
Toronto belts three home runs—including a solo shot from Jose Bautista that marks the fifth straight game he’s gone deep, one shy of the Blue Jays record—to lift the Jays to a 4-3 decision over the visiting Yankees.

The Orioles outlast the Twins at Baltimore, 12-8, in a game in which all 18 players in the lineup collect at least one hit. Three Orioles homers include the major league-leading 35th from Nelson Cruz.

After spotting the Cubs a 5-0 lead, the Cardinals roar back behind Matt Holliday’s three hits and four RBIs to take a 9-6 victory—and tie the Brewers (on their way to losing their fifth straight in San Francisco, 15-5) for first place in the NL Central.

The Mariners salvage a win in their three-game series with Washington with their first-ever victory over the Nationals since their move to the Nation’s Capitol from Montreal nine years earlier. Dustin Ackley’s three-run homer in the fifth inning is the killer blow for Seattle.

Not Giancarlo’s Idea of a Five-Year Plan
Giancarlo Stanton has never been one to speak proudly of Miami Marlins ownership. When the team underwent a wintertime fire sale following the 2012 season—depriving the tremendously talented and young slugger of the bulk of his lineup support—he angrily tweeted that he was “pissed off.” And when Stanton, currently the odds-on favorite to win the National League’s MVP award, was asked to assess his current state of mind toward the Marlins—who are hanging on as a dark horse candidate for a NL Wild Card spot—the company smile was nowhere to be found. “Five months,” he told Yahoo SportsTim Brown, “doesn’t change five years.”

A week doesn’t seem to go by without hearing some sort of semi-legit trade rumor involving Stanton. But those rumors are getting sprinkled with more reality as the Marlins’ free time with Stanton winds down. Currently the highest paid Marlin at $6.5 million, Stanton is due a hefty raise when he goes to arbitration next season, and again in 2016; a year later, he becomes a free agent at age 27.

Should the Marlins resist paying Stanton the eight-figure salary that an arbitrator will likely reward him with in 2015, they may do what they’ve always done with genuine talent on the threshold of getting filthy rich: Trade him for half of some other team’s farm system. If that occurs this coming winter, here are the five most compelling major league environments under which Stanton could call his new home.

The Boston Red Sox. No team right now is linked to a possible Stanton trade more than the Red Sox. It would be a timely move as the Sox need someone to eventually take over for David Ortiz, who turns 39 in November; plus, the Red Sox have enough medium-level talent, young and veteran, to ship off to Miami in return. But can Stanton avoid what previous sluggers like Jack Clark, Jose Canseco and Adrian Gonzalez did and come to Fenway Park not expecting to phone in impressive slugging numbers?

The Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are über-loaded with budding star talent (Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant), some of which could be trade bait for a possible Stanton deal. But what will likely remain with Stanton in the lineup could get awfully scary not just for opponents but for residents near Wrigley who will have to triple-pane their windows to keep Stanton’s tape-measure blasts from smashing into their homes.

The Colorado Rockies. Should Stanton arrive here, you might as well put Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs from 2001 in pencil with an eraser at the ready—unless Stanton falls to the Rockies’ recent curse of star players missing half the season. In 14 career games at mile-high Coors Field, Stanton has connected seven times with a .358 average. It’s a small sample to be sure, but we know it’s a solid representation of what he could do playing half his games there. A trade here, however, is less likely given that Rockies management doesn’t seem up for it, but there has been chatter of the team trying to shed the contracts of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez; then the question becomes whether the Marlins would be willing to inherit the salaries of either one of those fragile stars going forward.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Stanton and Mike Trout, protected by Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton? Think of how weak-kneed opposing pitchers are going to get facing that lineup. But does Angels owner Arte Moreno, after the massive deals doled out to Trout, Pujols and Hamilton, have money left to save up on Stanton—and more to the point, does he have any prospects in a weak farm system to satisfy the Marlins?

The San Francisco Giants. Like the Angels, the Giants have few hotshots in the minors to give away. And although Stanton might frown at playing in one of the majors’ most pitch-friendly facilities, it hasn’t seemed to curtail his numbers when he’s visited, hitting .314 with five homers in 18 games. But he’d have some tempting targets in the giant glove behind the left-field bleachers, which no player has ever reached during a game, and McCovey Cove—which no right-handed batter has ever hit a home run into.

The Best and Worst of August
Who conquered—and who was conquered—by the dog days of summer? We looked it up and present to you who was hot and not during the month of August.

St. Louis’ Jon Jay found any way to get on base and often succeeded; he hit .382, drew nine walks and was hit seven times.

The San Francisco Giants may have found an answer to their second base woes, and it’s rookie Joe Panik—whose .379 average and 36 hits were among baseball’s best.

Victor Martinez strengthened his AL MVP chances with a superb month that included 40 hits, a .350 average, six homers, 30 RBIs, 19 walks and just seven strikeouts.

Right behind Martinez with 29 RBIs—but easily outpacing everyone with 12 homers—was Houston slugger Chris Carter.

Despite a .254 average for a Boston team that was a mediocre 12-16, Brock Holt managed to lead the majors in runs scored with 25.

Here’s one thing opposing pitchers have learned about Chicago Cubs rookie Javier Baez: He’s not going to cheat himself at the plate. The kid hit seven homers in August but also batted .188 with just four walks—and a whopping 49 strikeouts.

Paced by Baez, The Cubs struck out 300 times in August. We couldn’t confirm it at upload time, but we believe that’s an all-time record for any team in a single month.

Overall, the 6,466 strikeouts registered in August is the most ever in one month.

A New York paper theorized that Curtis Granderson is only playing for the Mets because the team is too cheap to get someone better. Here’s the evidence: In August, Granderson hit .147 in 109 at-bats with a single homer. (Here’s more evidence: The Mets hit a major league-low .216 in August.)

Miami’s Adeiny Hechavarria had eight extra-base hits on the month—five of them triples.

Baltimore’s Chris Tillman, winner of many games but without an impressive earned run average, may finally be beginning to earn his stripes as ace; in six starts this month, he was 4-0 with a 1.33 earned run average.

San Diego’s Tim Stauffer matched Tillman with four wins—without making a single start. Stauffer relieved in eight games and compiled a 1.74 ERA.

No one was more dominant out of the bullpen, however, than Los Angeles of Anaheim’s Fernando Salas—who in 15 innings allowed just four hits, no walks and struck out 18.

David Price was 1-2 with a 4.41 ERA in his first month with Detroit. Drew Smyly, one of the guys the Rays dealt Price away for, was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA, allowing just 18 hits in 36 innings.

Two other Detroit pitchers, Robbie Ray and Buck Farmer, couldn’t quite hold the fort down for injured Tigers starters; they combined for a 0-4 record and 12.23 ERA in five starts.

August was a good month to be the over whenever the Twins took the field. Minnesota led all teams with 159 runs—but also authored the worst team ERA at 5.51. Helping out at the plate were rookies Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas, whose 79 combined hits were the most by a pair of rookie teammates since the famed Boston duo of Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1975.

Toronto, one of the most prolific teams at the plate all year long, was among the worst teams in both runs scored and home runs during the month.

The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, were hands down the majors’ best staff with a 2.38 ERA and .219 average against.

All the Pretty Players in a Row
Yusmeiro Petit took the long and winding row to the record book, but he completed a journey that took 38 days, two starts and six relief appearances when, this past Thursday, he retired the first eight Colorado Rockies he faced and broke a major league record by retiring 46 straight overall. The mark breaks, by one, the old record held by Mark Buerhle from 2009.

For a guy whose career numbers shout “common player,” Petit has had some fairly noteworthy achievements. He came within an out of a perfect game last September when the 27th batter poked a short fly that fell just feet away from the outstretched glove of Giants right fielder Hunter Pence. This new milestone includes a longer streak in which he’s struck out 27 batters without issuing a walk—the longest such active streak, at upload time.

It’s interesting to note that Petit got the start on Thursday because of the ineffectiveness of a much more heralded pitcher, Tim Lincecum, who’s been asked to move to the bullpen until he’s recharged—or until Petit falls apart again, as he’s been known to do amid the noteworthy coups.

Oops, We Need to Update the Petco Park Page
The San Diego Padres plan formally announced plans for a Padres-specific Hall of Fame, to be located adjacent to the iconic Western Metals Supply building at Petco Park and replacing the current excuse for a team museum, the Hall of Fame Bar and Grill (on the fourth floor of the Western Metals building) that includes a smattering of exhibits.

What’s considered odd—and somewhat controversial—about this Hall of Fame is that it will be named after outgoing commissioner Bud Selig. Maybe you expected that in his hometown of Milwaukee, but San Diego? Well, the Padres have an explanation; they believe they owe to it Selig after he helped the Padres during their difficult financial period in the early 1990s and when the team was trying to lobby support to get Petco Park built. Some of the area’s more cynical fans see it differently; there’s even an online petition to have Selig’s name stripped from the Padres’ Hall.

Sorry, Bud, the love just isn’t there for you on this farewell tour of yours.

Absentee Citizen, And Proud of It
What is it about Baltimore and the baseball players who perform there for the Orioles? Some five years ago, Aubrey Huff hastened his exit from the team when he publicly referred to Baltimore as a “horses**t town,” and this past week came an eye-opening comment from All-Star center fielder Adam Jones—at an Orioles social media goodwill function, of all things—when he responded to a question of where in Baltimore his favorite place is. He said it was the airport, because that’s where he could fly home.

The 250 or so fans who paid $50 to congregate at the pregame event were left stoned-faced by the comment, and Jones sensed trouble. Spin ensued, as Jones claimed he was just joking around and/or that he meant the airport because that’s where he picked up family and friends. Orioles supporters weren’t buying either explanation and left some critical responses via Twitter.

Home for Jones, by the way, is San Diego. Maybe he was upset that Bud Selig got his name on the Padres’ Hall of Fame instead.

Have Another Ice Cream Sandwich, Jesus
So let us get this straight: Overweight, underperforming ballplayer, stranded at lower levels of the minors, gets heckled by scout from his own team, then returns to dugout to find he’s been sent an ice cream sandwich from said agent as a symbol of his lack of discipline. Player flips out, throws sandwich at scout, spits at him, and tries to go into the stands after him with a bat before being restrained. Not even the Coen Brothers could have come up with something as quirky as this.

Most or all of this happened this past week, as Jesus Montero—who showed up 40 pounds overweight for Seattle spring training and has only played six games for the parent club this season—was in the midst of a rehab stint with the Short-Season A class Everett AquaSox. Not quite yet ready to play, he did some first base coaching and, after one inning, was grilled from someone in the stands for not hustling off the field. Eyewitnesses say that griller was Butch Baccala, a scout from Montero’s own organization, who then ordered the ice cream sandwich.

There’s no denying that Montero went after Baccala, but Baccala says it was all a misunderstanding. “Why would I (do that)? I work for the Mariners.” Perhaps not; he’s been sent home by the Mariners until “further notice.” As for Montero, he’s been summoned to Seattle, not to play but to deal with his “off-field issues.”

Race to the Top
The Giants’ Tim Hudson reached 2,000 career strikeouts on Wednesday to take over 70th place on the all-time list. Then came Saturday when teammate Jake Peavy also surpassed the milestone—and put Hudson back into 71st place. Hudson gets his chance to move back ahead in his next start this week at Colorado.

The Centennial Splash
Speaking of milestones at AT&T Park, Wednesday saw the 100th home run hit into McCovey Cove behind the right-field wall since the park opened in 2000. The Giants' PR staff didn't make a big deal of it since it was hit by an opposing player, Colorado's Corey Dickerson. Of the 100 “Splash Hits,” 66 have come from the Giants—with Barry Bonds responsible for the majority of those.

Pitching ‘til You Drop
Even if you’re a mild baseball historian, you certainly know about all those times way back when that pitchers would throw up to 20 innings in an extra-inning game. But those guys have nothing on what took place just this past weekend in Japan.

A Japanese high school game between Chukyo and Sotoku lasted 50 innings over four days, with Chuyko winning by three runs. Both starting pitchers went the distance; Chukyo’s Taiga Matsui threw 709 pitches while Sotoku’s Jukiya Ishioka racked up 689. We’ll let you know when these guys undergo Tommy John surgery.

Where’s Mariano Now?
The New York Yankees have lost 11 games this season in which they’ve been tied with an opponent after eight innings.

Dear John, Behave
Headline: “
John Rocker to Join Cast of Survivor.” Question: Where in New York City will this take place?

It Just Doesn’t Add Up
Since arriving in Detroit, star hitter
Miguel Cabrera has gone 0-for-5 in 14 games. Bad news for the Tigers, right? Wrong. They won 13 of those 14 games.

Try and Hit This
Former Japanese slugger Takeshi Yamasaki was asked on a typically goofy Japanese game show to hit a 186-MPH fastball. Here’s what happened.

Try and Hit Past This
The Dodgers performed their version of the Berlin Wall Friday night at San Diego, bringing in outfielder Andre Ethier as a fifth infielder and lining up four Dodgers between first and second base to keep Padres pull-hitter Seth Smith from poking one through into right field during a 12th inning San Diego rally. The scheme worked, and it didn’t.

Even the Most Hearlded Combine For a Bad Day Off
This past Saturday, for only the second time in 114 years since they began play, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were each held to one hit on the same day.

Real Estate Deal of the Week
Do you have $25 million to buy Randy Johnson’s house? If so, here’s some pictures of what could be your new home. Keep in mind: The Cy Young awards aren’t included in the price.

He Said What?
“Has the sport grown at all?”—NBA owner Mark Cuban, after being asked by Dan Patrick if Bud Selig was a “bad” commissioner. Um, Mark: Baseball has grown financially from $1.5 billion to nearly $10 billion, four teams have been added and attendance has gone up 15% since Selig took office over 20 years ago.

This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Last week we gave the Angels’
Erick Aybar a little bit of fun by sarcastically praising his ownership of the majors’ longest active hitting streak—at nine games. One week later, the run is looking a bit more respectable, as the veteran shortstop hit safely in all seven games to extend the streak to a career-high 16. Aybar is hitting a sensational .458 during the streak.

League vs. League
The National and American Leagues split the difference this past week, each winning three interleague games—but the AL is still within tantalizing reach of clinching its 11th straight year of bragging rights. They only need three more wins to do it, and this week both interleague series will be hosted by AL cities with Baltimore hosting Cincinnati and, on the weekend with Detroit at home against San Francisco.

Wounded of the Week
wounded of the weekThe annual late-season disintegration in Colorado continued this past week with three more Rockies hitting the disabled list: Reigning NL batting champ Michael Cuddyer (strained hamstring), catcher Wilin Rosario (left wrist inflammation) and reliever Boone Logan (left elbow inflammation). The B-team resumes play at Coors Field this week.

The few other injuries taking place this past week included a sore arm for Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle and an elbow bone spur for Texas outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

Finally, news hit that Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters will undergo a third Tommy John surgery. The 29-year-old left-hander hasn’t pitched since 2012; with this latest setback, don’t expect him back until 2016.


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


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