This Great Game Comebacker

The Week That Was in Baseball: September 15-21, 2014
Ten Things We’ll Remember—And Ten We Never Knew—About Derek Jeter
Yet Another Strikeout Record? Mike Hessman, a.k.a. Crash Davis


Best and Worst of the Week

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
20 7 5 0 0 2 4 9 0 1 0

This may be the oddest set of numbers we’ve ever rewarded in this category, but perhaps Bautista’s line on the week is an honest reflection of the respect given him by opposing pitchers when they’re too afraid to challenge him. Perhaps that frustration led him to shout in angry triumph when he went deep off the Yankees’ Shawn Kelley on Thursday—making Kelley a little angry himself. Speaking of the Yankees, Bautista has homered seven times against them just since the All-Star break.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
31 12 13 3 0 2 6 3 0 0 2

The beast has awoken. Puig was in such a prolonged slump that there was talk of him being benched, that opponents had figured him out and he wasn’t quite the demigod we all along thought. But this week came a renewed affirmation that Puig is back to his ol’ productive self, with six multi-hit games and some great defense in the outfield (which counts for nothing here, but it’s worth noting). Since his season average hit bottom at .287 on September 10, Puig is hitting .409 in 44 at-bats with six extra-base hits and 15 runs scored


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

The rookie center fielder was the rumor of demotion in August when he broke out of a painful (0-for-35) slump with a run of solid hitting over five games—and then the Red Sox sent him down. Bradley’s back in Boston with the expanded September rosters—and also back to his bad hitting habits, going hitless for the week; he’s only 1-for-32 since returning from the minors. His job for the regular season’s final week: Keep from finishing below the Mendoza Line (he begins it smack dab at .200).


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Juan Perez, San Francisco Giants

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
13 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

The Giants badly miss center fielder/leadoff spark Angel Pagan when he’s not available to play; they missed him even more when the young Perez took his place this past week. The 27-year-old Dominican plays solid defense, but his bat was absolutely AWOL when he filled in for the ailing Pagan. It got so bad, the Giants had to look to see what other recent call-ups could do the job better on Sunday. (The answer: Chris Dominguez, who belted a home run.)


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 12

Corey Kluber won two games this past week and struck out 14 in each—but as impressive as that was, we were more awed with the stifling effort put forth this past by teammate Carrasco, who threw his first career shutout with a personal-best 12 strikeouts against the Astros; only Jose Altuve’s two hits got in the way of a no-hitter. With both Carrasco and Kluber locked up by Cleveland through 2017, could this be the first sign of a terrific pitching duo at Progressive Field?


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 13

The Farmington, Missouri native nearly threw the first Wrigley Field no-hitter in 42 years, but his bid fell short this past Tuesday when Brandon Phillips launched a one-out, eighth-inning double. It was the only hit allowed all evening by Arrieta, who threw his first complete game in 96 career starts and cemented his status as the definitive late-season Cubs ace following the departure of Jeff Samardzija.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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

After walking five batters in a previous start that lasted just two innings, the 26-year-old Jerseyite decided to focus on throwing strikes this past Friday against Texas. He threw strikes; the Rangers hit them all. Santiago was done four batters into the second inning, but he really wasn’t; he stormed into the dugout, punched away at a Gatorade cooler—soaking hitting coach Don Baylor in the process—and stormed into the shower, where he kept his uniform on and shaved the hair off his beard and head. God forbid how he’ll react if he gets slammed in a postseason game—if the Angels give him the chance, that is.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Carlos Frias, Los Angeles Dodgers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-1 4 13 11 11 2 0 0 1 0 6

Carlos Frias, meet Coors Field. Coors Field, Carlos Frias. Sorry, Carlos, we didn’t mention; Coors can be a mean SOB. And so Carlos found out, the rough way, as he got pounded for eight runs on ten hits before he had the chance to finish the first inning. No starting pitcher has ever given up as many hits in less than an inning before being booted. A chance to get his confidence back this past weekend in Chicago proved wobbly, as Frias endured a shaky three-inning relief outing on Sunday. But at least he got in three innings.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Texas Rangers (5-1)

It’s been a rotten year for the beat-up Rangers, but at least they’re doing their best to finish on a high note. Rather than wilt at the real possibility of losing 100 games, they went west and swept the A’s (who really needed those wins) and then took two of three from the Angels (who really didn’t, having already clinched the division). Outside of a Saturday crash-and-burn from Colby Lewis, the pitching staff threw about as well as we’ve seen all year, and some of the young replacements earned their stripes. We get that it’s too little, too late for Texas—but better late than never.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Washington Nationals (6-1)

The East was won early in the week, but the Nationals charged on, with excellent pitching guiding them to a successful pair of series on the road at Atlanta and Miami as the team now focuses on the next big prize: Home field advantage. After sweeping the Marlins in a four-game weekend series, they have a 2.5-game lead over the Dodgers to gain that advantage. Two home series this final week against the Mets and Marlins should make the challenge pretty easy. Oh, by the way; the Nats are 28-9 since August 10.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Toronto Blue Jays (1-6)

Overall, this will go down as a fairly satisfactory year for the Blue Jays, but this past week was an unwelcome chapter. Toronto began the week getting swept away by the Orioles, directly baring witness to their AL East-clinching celebration; then it was off to New York, where the Jays fell to third as the Yankees took three of four. Now the final week comes and it’s all about finishing with a winning record. Side note to Marcus Stroman: When you want to get even, don’t do it by throwing at the head.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Arizona Diamondbacks (1-6)

The Snakes started the year going down in flames (remember the two wins among their first 15 home games?) and they’re going down once more to end it. In between, they were, well, meh. The week got off to a good start when they beat the Giants, 6-2, but then they lost the next two, went to Denver and got spanked in four games by the Rockies (who scored 35 runs among the sweep). Arizona is kind of like the Nationals, but in reverse; the D-Backs are 9-25 since August 14.


Best and Worst of the Week

Monday, September 15
New York Mets rookie pitcher Jacob deGrom ties a major league record by striking out the first eight Miami batters he faces and extends a streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 28 before the Marlins come to life with three runs in the seventh; they’ll add another three an inning later against the Mets’ bullpen and win at Citi Field, 6-5.

At Anaheim, the Angels become the first team to clinch a playoff berth by scoring early and often against Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma, en route to an 8-1 bashing of the Mariners. Matt Shoemaker goes 7.2 innings for his 16th win against just four losses.

The Kansas City Royals rally for two ninth-inning runs (thanks principally to a wild pitch and infield single) to propel themselves to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox and stay 1.5 games behind Detroit (8-6 winners at Minnesota) in the AL Central. It’s the sixth time this year that the White Sox have blown a three-run lead and lost in the seventh inning or later.

Andrew Cashner, with only three wins in 16 starts for San Diego despite a 2.40 ERA, takes matters into his own hands. He fires a two-hit shutout—the third of his career—against Philadelphia on just 92 pitches and brings home the game’s only run when Cody Asche errs on a grounder down the third-base line to give the edge to the Padres at Petco Park, 1-0.


Tuesday, September 16
There’s a lot of joy in the Baltimore-Washington Metro area tonight as both the Orioles and Nationals clinch divisional titles.

The Orioles snag the AL East with an 8-2 win over Toronto thanks to a three-run homer by Steve Pearce, a bases-clearing triple from Alejandro De Aza and five fine innings pitched by Ubaldo Jimenez in a rare late-season start. It’s Baltimore’s first divisional title since 1997.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, the Nationals’ Tanner Roark throws seven shutout innings and Ian Desmond knocks in a pair of runs on a double and home run to seal the NL East with a 3-0 victory over the second-place Braves. It’s the Nationals’ second ride to first place in 45 years of existence, both in the last three years.

It’s a topsy-turvy night in the AL Central race. The Tigers, trailing 2-0 and down to their last out in Minnesota, snatch the lead when J.D. Martinez belts a three-run homer; but the joy is short-lived as closer Joe Nathan allows the Twins to rally for two in the bottom of the ninth, saddling the Tigers with a 4-3 loss.

The Royals blow an opportunity to gain a game on the Tigers as the normally staunch Kansas City bullpen falls apart in the seventh—with the White Sox’ Conor Gillespie tripling in three runs to give Chicago a 7-5 lead they will not relinquish.

In a 4-2 home loss to Cleveland, Houston’s Jose Altuve strengthens his major league-leading batting average to .343 with two hits—surpassing Craig Biggio to set the franchise record for most hits in one year, at 211. The Indians’ Corey Kluber strikes out 14 in seven innings to pick up his 16th win of the year.


Wednesday, September 17
The Angels one-hit the Mariners at Anaheim, 5-0, scoring all five of their runs in the seventh inning; coupled with Texas’ 6-1 comeback win over the A’s in Oakland—the Rangers score all of their runs in the ninth—the Angels clinch their first AL West title since 2009. Amid the celebration, Mike Trout strikes out in each of his four at-bats and is now tied with the suspended Chris Davis for the AL lead with 173.

The Colorado Rockies take care of business early and effectively against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field—notching eight runs in the first inning and six more in the four frames to follow, on their way to a 16-2 rout. The Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon has his third five-hit game of the year; according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dodgers starter Carlos Frias is the first modern-era pitcher to allow ten hits in a start consisting of less than an inning.

San Francisco whittles down the Dodgers’ NL West lead to two games with a 4-2 win at Arizona. Rookie Matt Duffy’s two-run pinch single in the ninth breaks a 2-2 deadlock.

Carlos Carrasco has a dynamite night for the Indians, throwing a two-hit shutout in Houston while striking out 12—all on just 98 pitches. Not surprisingly, the Astros’ only two hits are supplied by Jose Altuve (now hitting .344).

Adam Wainwright matches his 2013 record at 19-9 with a seven-hit, 2-0 shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis. It’s Wainwright’s third blanking of the year and ninth of his career, all of them coming in the last four seasons.


Thursday, September 18
Derek Jeter snaps a Yankee Stadium homerless streak of 298 at-bats when he goes deep in the sixth inning against Toronto; the Yankees win, 3-2, when Adam Lind pulls a Bill Buckner and has a sharp ground ball from Chase Headley go through his legs, scoring Antoan Richardson in the ninth.

The Rangers get four hits from rookie Jake Smolinski (.408 average in 49 at-bats) to sweep the A’s at Oakland, 7-2, and extend their season-long winning streak to six. With the loss, the A’s are now a half-game behind Kansas City for the AL’s top wild card spot. In a game that does serious damage to

Milwaukee’s postseason aspirations, the Cardinals net a run-scoring single from Tony Cruz in the 13th inning to defeat the Brewers, 3-2. The win maintains St. Louis’ NL Central lead over Pittsburgh by 2.5 games, but it also drops the Brewers six games back—and worse, 3.5 back of the Pirates for the final NL wild card spot.


Friday, September 19
In the first matchup of a three-game series that’s the biggest in decades for the Royals, the Tigers come to Kansas City and make a definitive statement with a 10-1 romp to increase their AL Central lead to 1.5 games. Every member of the Detroit starting lineup has at least one hit, the 13th time the Tigers have done that this season; no other team has managed to do it more than eight.

Clayton Kershaw gives up three first-inning runs but settles in for the minimum five frames to become baseball’s first 20-game winner on the year in the Dodgers’ 14-5 romp over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. A.J. Ellis, who entered the action with a home run and .191 average through 86 games, belts two over the ivy for Los Angeles, which combined with the Giants’ 5-0 loss at San Diego now has a 3.5-game lead in the NL West.

Russell Martin hits a clutch three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth at Pittsburgh to put the Pirates in front of the Brewers; it’s part of a four-run rally that gives the Bucs a 4-2 win to put them 4.5 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final NL wild card spot. All four Pirates runs come off reliever Jonathan Broxton, who had taken over for starter Yovani Gallardo (seven shutout innings, 11 strikeouts).

Michael Cuddyer doubles twice, homers and knocks in seven runs to lead the Rockies on a 15-3 demolishing of the visiting Diamondbacks. After scoring 11 runs in a seven-game losing streak (six on the road), the Rockies have now won four straight—all at Coors Field—and tallied 48 times.


Saturday, September 20
The Tigers win again at Kansas City, this time in more nail-biting fashion with a 3-2 victory to up their AL Central lead to 2.5 games. But it comes with controversy; with the Royals batting, one out and runners at second and third in the sixth, Omar Infante lines out to Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler—whose attempted double-up throw at second goes wild into left field. Salvador Perez, who was scattering back to third, scatters back home—but never tags from the bag after the initial out. The Tigers are told that the play is not eligible for video review—but the umpires, after seeing the replay on the big board, consult among one another and rule Perez out.

The Brewers break a scoreless deadlock in the ninth at Pittsburgh when Logan Schafer’s fly out is deep enough to score Elian Herrera from third base, giving Milwaukee a 1-0 win and renewed life in their hopes of crashing the postseason party. Brewers starter Matt Garza, who came into the game having hit two batters all season long, hits Pirates star Andrew McCutchen twice—and gets ejected for it.

You again? Jerome Williams, who earlier this year defeated the A’s in the uniform of both the Angels and Rangers, does it again—for the Phillies. Williams throws seven shutout innings in Philadelphia’s 3-0 victory at Oakland; he is the first pitcher ever to defeat the same opponent for three different teams in one year.


Sunday, September 21
The Royals rebound to avoid a sweep by the visiting Tigers, breaking a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning when Norichika Aoki triples in two runs to put Kansas City ahead to stay. The 5-2 victory moves the Royals back to within 1.5 games of the Tigers for the AL Central lead.

In his first appearance since the start of July, Masahiro Tanaka throws 5.1 sharp innings and earns the win as the Yankees topple Toronto at Yankee Stadium, 5-2. Brett Gardner’s fifth-inning solo homer, which puts the Yankees ahead to stay, is the 15,000th for the franchise since its relocation from Baltimore to New York in 1903.

The Dodgers go exclusively with the bullpen and come away with an 8-5 win at Chicago behind Matt Kemp’s four hits and four RBIs to move 4.5 games up on the Giants (who are swept in San Diego) in the NL West. Los Angeles clinches the NL’s best road record on the year at 49-32.

A day after losing 1-0 to Milwaukee, the Pirates turn the tables and edge the Brewers by the same score on a seventh-inning single by Russell Martin. The win ties the Bucs with the Giants for the top NL wild card spot and ends their home season at 51-30, their best record at PNC Park since its 2001 opening.

Ten Things We’ll Remember Best About Derek Jeter
This week, Derek Jeter finishes a stellar 20-year career that will surely land him in the Hall of Fame when his name first hits the ballot in 2019. The resume speaks for itself: Sixth on the all-time hit list, ninth in runs scored, five World Series rings, 14 All-Star assignments and five Gold Gloves at shortstop. Beyond that, here’s ten things the Captain will be best remembered for:

The Hits. Jeter has knocked out 3,457 heading into his final week, with 200 collected in eight different seasons; he’s the only player to hit 3,000 playing in the uniform of the fabled New York Yankees.

The Assist from Jeffrey. Jeter’s first big moment in the spotlight occurred in the 1996 ALCS when his home run to right field at old Yankee Stadium was guaranteed by 12-year-old Jeffrey Meier, who in the days before instant replay reached over the wall and swiped it away from Baltimore outfielder Tony Tarasco. The controversial shot tied Game One in the eighth inning; the Yankees went on to beat the Orioles in 11 innings, 5-4, and won the series in five games.

The Flip. Arguably Jeter’s most legendary moment took place in Game Three of the 2001 ALDS against the Oakland A’s when he took an errant throw from the outfield and performed a desperate shovel “flip” relay to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged out a disbelieving Jeremy Giambi (who never thought to slide). The seventh-inning play preserved a 1-0 New York lead that kept the Yankees from being eliminated from the series; they would win the next two games to oust the A’s and move toward their fourth straight AL pennant.

The All-Star. Jeter hit .481 in 27 career at-bats in All-Star Game annuls, and played perfect defense at shortstop, never making an error in roughly 50 innings of play. Twice he was named the game’s MVP, in 2000 and this season.

The Love. He was often voted as the most popular player among his peers.

The Hate. Oddly, he was often voted as the most hated in those same polls. Apparently there was no in between.

The Women. Maybe those who picked Jeter as the most hated were jealous at his impressive roll call of starlets he dated. The list includes Mariah Carey, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Gabrielle Union, Jessica Alba and Minka Kelly—who he nearly married before calling off the engagement.

The Ode to Shepp. Long-time Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduced Jeter to the plate even after his death in 2010; Jeter insisted that a tape recording of the intro be played every time he came up.

The Postseason Recordbook. In 158 playoff games, Jeter accumulated 200 hits in 650 at-bats (.308), 32 doubles, five triples and 111 runs scored. They’re all postseason records.

The Break. Jeter’s postseason career came to a painful, premature end when he broke his ankle diving for a ground ball in Game One of the 2012 ALCS against Detroit. The injury forced Jeter to miss all but 17 games of the following season, and he’s never been quite the same since.

Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Derek Jeter
All the above you likely already knew. What follows, you likely don’t:

* In his junior high school yearbook, it says under his portrait: “Most likely to play shortstop for the New York Yankees.” The Houston Astros would have drafted Jeter in the 1992 amateur draft had they listened to team scout (and former pitching star) Hal Newhouser, who insisted that they grab him. The Astros, fearing that Jeter would go to college instead, passed on him for Phil Nevin. An angry Newhouser quit as a result.

* In his first full season in the minors in 1993, Jeter committed a South Atlantic League-record 56 errors for an .889 fielding percentage—and still, he was named the league’s best defensive shortstop.

* With the 1994 players strike extended into 1995, Jeter reportedly declined a request by the Yankees to cross the picket line and train with replacements at spring training.

* In 1996, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner didn’t believe Jeter was ready to take over the starting spot at short and nearly traded emerging reliever Mariano Rivera to Seattle for veteran shortstop Felix Fermin. He was desperately talked out of it.

* Only nine players in the modern era have been plunked more times than Jeter, who’s been hit 170 times. (He may be knocked out of the top ten in 2015; Alex Rodriguez and Chase Utley are right behind him with 169 and 168, respectively.) In 2,740 career games, Jeter has never played any other position outside of shortstop; he has DH’d on occasion.

* Eight times, Jeter has finished in the top ten in AL MVP voting. He has never won.

* Visitors to his spacious Tampa home are not allowed to bring in any cameras or cell phones.

* His favorite movie is American History X. Second is Major League.

Is Getting Hit in the Stands Fair or Foul?
Baseball enters its final week of the regular season on pace to, once again, set an all-time record for strikeouts. As of Sunday, MLB totaled 35,902 K’s with the likelihood that it will eclipse 37,000 after the final games are played. That would be enough to punch out the old record of 36,710, set last season.

Here’s a good indication of how far the whiffiness has come; in 1998, the first season with the current 30 ballclubs in action, there were 31,893 total strikeouts; the frequency has increased 14% since.

Individually, it appears that no one will hit the 200-strikeout barrier for the first time since 2007 with Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard pacing the majors with 183 entering the final week of play. But it’s possible that as many as 125 players could end the year with 100 or more, a bit of an increase from the 102 who reached triple digits in 2013; back in 1998, only 74 hitters made it to 100.

Five years back we wrote an opinion on the subject that’s still quite valid. Then as now, we offer the same main reason for the epidemic: Power equals money, and players with more home runs—and more strikeouts, as a collateral consequence—tend to earn bigger contracts. There are other things to consider as well, such as an increase in power pitchers and a general lack of discipline among current-day hitters.

Wash and Spin
When Ron Washington suddenly resigned as manager of the Texas Rangers several weeks back, the only clue he left as to why came from a prepared written statement in which he was dealing with a personal matter. This past week, he faced the media in the Dallas suburb of Irving, made a three-minute speech in which he said he “was not true to his wife” of 42 years and “broke her trust,” then left without taking any questions.

This was not PR 101 at its finest. Maybe Washington just wanted to get this publicly off his chest or his wife insisted that he speak up, but all the speech did was put his dirty laundry back in the spotlight and, as Yahoo’s Jeff Passan mentioned, led to more questions than answers. It might also make Washington’s prospects for a future baseball job—something he hopes to get—more difficult, if this story remains in a fog and any potential employer is too tenuous to try and peer through it.

The Real Crash Davis
In the 1988 movie Bull Durham, Kevin Costner plays Crash Davis, a minor league lifer of 12 seasons whose major league experience consisted of “the 21 greatest days of my life” and was on the verge of breaking the minor league record for career home runs—a moment for which Davis told everyone to shut the hell up about, since the milestone served to remind him of his failure to reach the majors.

Mike Hessman can relate. At 36, he just finished his 18th season at the minor league level with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. He’s been to the majors more than Davis’ 21 days, but not much more—hitting .188 with 14 homers in 250 at-bats spread over five active seasons with three different teams (Atlanta, Detroit and the New York Mets). And he’s on the verge of breaking the minor league record for career home runs. Earlier this season, Hessman broke the International League mark with his 259th shot; adding in his output from the lower levels and a brief one-year stay in the Pacific Coast League, he’s nailed 417—15 shy of Buzz Arlett for the organized minor league record. (In Mexico, Hector Espino has hit 484 in the Mexican League—but some choose to ignore that considering that the circuit is not affiliated with “organized” baseball—and considering that whole teams south of the border frequently hit over .300, it’s easy to understand why Espino’s total isn’t taken as seriously.)

Will Hessman suit up for one more year and top Arlett? He’s not sure, recently stating that he’s thinking it over. And while Arlett seldom broke through the ceiling to the majors because of his lousy defense (he played one year for the Philadelphia Phillies, in 1931), the knock on Hessman is his .233 career average and 2,271 strikeouts in the minors. Yet he’s learned and seen enough that he’ll likely have a future as a coach; the Detroit Tigers are offering him a minor league coaching spot for next season should he choose to put away the bats for good. And then, like Crash Davis before him, he can impart the philosophy and wisdom of baseball upon the young up-and-comers. Start preparing that “I believe” speech, Mike.

Here Comes the SunTrust
SunTrust Field sketchThe official groundbreaking ceremony for the Atlanta Braves’ new ballpark in the northern suburbs of Cobb County took place this past Tuesday, and with it came a few new details regarding the 41,500-seat facility.

It was announced that the Braves reached a naming rights agreement with Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank; dollar figures were not released, but here’s hoping that the 25-year agreement doesn’t outlast the life of the venue, given that Turner Field will have only existed 20 years before the Braves split and Atlanta decides to either tear it down or convert it into something else.

Also released to coincide with the groundbreaking are a few updated sketches of SunTrust Park (above). Gone are earlier renditions showing a giant roof over the left-field bleachers a la Braves Field in Boston, with more hints that it will retain some of Turner Field’s the look and feel, including an expanded Chop House behind right field and the retaining of the giant 715 ball image currently placed behind Turner’s scoreboard to greet fans entering the ballpark. Still, the Braves’ faithful don’t seem too overwhelmed; the first response to the Braves’ tweet of the new drawings was this: “Looks like Turner. What a waste of money.”

The Yoak’s On You
Good thing this didn’t happen in Atlanta after the Braves decided to build a new ballpark north of the city.

Meet Your New Giant Killer
The San Francisco Giants need to figure our San Diego rookie pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne one of these days. After all, everyone else has. The Cuban émigré is 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in three starts against the Giants; against the rest of the majors, he’s 2-7 with a 4.24 ERA.

For Those Who Don’t Bring a Glove
An Atlanta bleacher fan found an inventive way to snare a home run ball when the New York Mets’ Lucas Duda went deep on Friday. The fan even managed to retain most of his popcorn.

In the Corti-Zone
According to the Orange County Register, the Angels’ Josh Hamilton has been given 12 cortisone shots in just the past two weeks to deal with ongoing rib pain. For someone who’s a recovered drug abuser, this has to make Hamilton feel a bit nervous.

The Yusmeiro Petit Fun Fact of the Week
San Francisco pitcher
Yusmeiro Petit, who earlier this summer set a major league record by retiring 46 straight batters, ran up another impressive streak when he faced 70 straight batters without reaching a three-ball count. That ended when he went to three balls—then walked—Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner in Saturday’s 3-2 Giants loss at San Diego. (Ironically, his record streak of consecutive hitters retired was also snapped by a pitcher, Colorado's Jordan Lyles.)

Let’s See, Yasiel Wants a Frappuccino...
People walking near Wrigley Field on Friday morning saw a guy walking down the street wearing a full
Joc Pederson uniform with two handfuls of Starbucks coffees and concluded that it must have been a loyal Dodgers fan. It actually was Joc Pederson.

This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Cleveland’s
Michael Brantley and Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin formed a weak double-barreled threat to the Yankee Clipper’s great achievement of 56 straight games with a hit, something that will clearly stand well into the 2015 season. Brantley and Martin end this past week with the majors’ longest active hitting streaks at 12 games; they’re both 44 behind Joltin’ Joe. Good luck.


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