I wish I had something clever to write up here to get MLB Bullets off with a bang, but why should today’s piece be any different from all the rest of them?
I could say in the case of Ben Zobrist, “IT’S GOTTA BE THE SHOES!” OK, yeah. That’s lame and now Spike Lee will sue me.
- Brewers pitcher Freddy Peralta took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his major league debut on Sunday and struck out 13 Rockies hitters, which is a Brewers record for a major league debut. (And only two shy of the major league record.) David Schoenfield has Peralta’s story and what we can expect of Peralta going forward in the majors. Peralta’s family had flown into Colorado Springs from the Dominican Republic to see him pitch professionally for the first time and instead of seeing him pitch in Triple-A, they got to see a fantastic major league debut.
- Yeah, but as Michael Baumann writes, these no-hitter alerts on our smartphones is starting to get a little alarming. Baumann has three ideas to get more offense into the game. Actually, it’s two ideas because one is “do nothing and hope for the best.” Which one do you think MLB is most likely to adopt?
- Travis Sawchik notes that MLB’s rules changes this season are only having a small impact on the pace of play.
- Gabe Lacques has more on the Ben Zobrist “cleat-gate” scandal and writes that the commissioner’s office and the Players’ Association are working towards a compromise that is in the best interest of both sides.
- Your feel-good story of the day Rangers pitcher Brandon Mann, who made his major-league debut on Sunday, throwing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Mann is a 34-year-old rookie who has toiled for 17 years in the minors, independent ball and Japan before finally getting the chance to pitch on a major-league mound. The Rays picked Mann in the same draft as retired stars Prince Fielder and Matt Cain as well as his current Rangers teammate Cole Hamels. Maybe there’s hope for Bobby Brownlie yet.
- Did I say that was your feel-good story of the day? How about another one because you’ve all been so good? Eddie Matz has the story of the comeback of reliever Jonny Venters after five seasons and 3 1⁄2 Tommy John surgeries.
- Howard Bryant writes about how sports, which used to bring people together, have gotten so divisive in the 21st Century. Be nice or I’m going to take away those two feel-good links.
- Back to the feel-good stuff. Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen returned to Pittsburgh and got an emotional hero’s welcome from the Pirates fans an PNC Park.
- Hall-of-Fame pitcher Jim Palmer finally found out the truth behind his birth. Palmer was adopted at birth and there were always rumors he was related to the Kennedys, but now through some DNA testing and some sleuthing by his wife, he now knows the story. (Best line: Palmer learns that he’s already 16 years older than his father when he died and Palmer adds “And I played for Earl Weaver!”)
- Jonah Keri examines the Yankees hot streak and what it can tell us about just how good the Boys from the Bronx really are.
- Buster Olney looks at the decision the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have about their mutual future after this season. Kershaw has two years and $35 million left on his deal, but he can opt out. If he’s healthy, that’s a no-brainer to opt out on, even if he’s not the same pitcher he was two or three years ago. But what if he doesn’t want to leave LA? Remember: you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
- Now for the bad news. Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has a broken hand after being hit by a pitch and could be out until after the All-Star Break. M’s skipper Scott Servais said that Dee Gordon will remain in center field and will not fill in at second in Cano’s absence. (Which is odd because all the defensive metrics say Gordon is terrible in CF. But it may well be that he’s terrible because he’s inexperienced and the Mariners think he’ll get better with more practice.)
- Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill left his start on Sunday with a blister. I need to get this one on a macro.
- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has re-aggravated his hamstring and left Sunday’s game.
- Angels closer Keynan Middleton just came off the disabled list and now he exited Sunday’s game with elbow discomfort.
- The Padres have designated third baseman Chase Headley for assignment. Mark Townsend has a quick history of Headley with the Padres and why the Padres decided to eat Headley’s $13 million contract.
- Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell will not be allowed to travel with the team to Toronto to play the Blue Jays after pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in the offseason. So he’s going to go to Triple-A Nashville for a while.
- Grant Brisbee is dismayed by the newest trend of deciding that 20-year-old ballparks are obsolete and sticking the taxpayers with a bill for a new one. He hopes that trend is coming to an end.
- Jeff Passan compares the AL MVP candidates (Mike Trout vs. Mookie Betts) at the quarter-mark of the season. Of course, this is the same guy who insists that Kris Bryant isn’t a superstar. (Kidding. Passan is a great writer. But he’s wrong on Bryant. And he’s wrong on Trout.)
- You might have to add Blue Jays outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to that mix someday soon, because he’s currently destroying the minor leagues. Mike Axisa looks at why the Blue Jays still have him in the minor leagues and when we can expect to see him in Toronto. I’ve said this before, but the scary thing about Lil’ Vlad is that at 19, he’s better than his father was at the same age.
- Jonathan Mayo spoke with Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (another promising Blue Jays prospect who is better than his father) and has them analyze video of their at-bats and their approach at the plate.
- Not much good has happened at Marlins Park this season, but retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neil carrying TV’s Judge Judy around the park is a highlight so far.
- Nationals catcher Pedro Severino really tried to frame this Stephen Strasburg curveball. Two problems. One, he bobbled the pitch. Two, he caught it on the bounce. But an “A” for effort!
- And finally, Indians’ switch-hitting shortstop Francisco Lindor came to the plate with the wrong helmet and embarrassingly had to go back and get the right one. It’s too bad he wasn’t facing Pat Venditte, That would have added to the confusion.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.