I don’t know why people were making such a fuss over the Royal Wedding over the weekend. I mean, who on the Royals is a big enough star that we should care that they got married? Mike Moustakas? Jorge Soler? Big in western Missouri and Kansas, I guess, but hardly worth international attention.
It may seem like I give you a lot of links each week, but believe me, there are a lot of stories you don’t see. For example, one I’m not linking to is a video where former Marlins president David Samson explains how to fix baseball. Really? We’re asking the guy who ran the Marlins into the ground after his stepfather bought the team how to fix baseball?
I linked to a piece on this on Friday, but the biggest problem with baseball at the moment is that the players are just too good.
- Rays pitcher Sergio Romo made his first major-league start in an 11-year career on Saturday. He didn’t wait long until making his next start, which was Sunday. Romo became the first pitcher since Zack Greinke in 2012 to make two consecutive starts, although both of Romo’s starts lasted just one inning. Greinke actually made three consecutive starts, but that was 1) ejected in 1st inning, 2) start next day, 3) All-Star Break 4) start first game after break.
- Tim Brown examines the Rays thinking behind the “bullpenning” strategy and the chances of ending the idea of a starting pitcher as we know it.
- Angels third baseman Zack Cozart isn’t a fan of this strategy. Well, duh. It’s designed to be bad for the hitters.
- Also on Sunday, the Rays’ Wilson Ramos got a hit off Angels starter Shohei Ohtani on a liner that bounced off Cozart’s glove. That was the first hit all year off of Ohtani’s splitter. Major leaguers are hitting an unbelievable 1 for 44 with 30 strikeouts off Ohtani’s splitter.
- Then there is Brewers pitcher Josh Hader, whom Jack Moore credits for bringing back the concept of the “fireman” from years’ past, albeit with a modern twist.
- And Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks hit 105 mph on the radar gun twice on Sunday, which is probably the first time in MLB history that that has happened. Aroldis Chapman is the only other pitcher to hit 105 and he’s never done it twice in the same game. There is only reliable data from the last ten years on this, but I doubt Nolan Ryan or Bob Feller were hitting 105 twice in one game. I’m pretty sure Goose Gossage wasn’t either.
- Pitching velocity just keeps going up and up, and as Buster Olney points out, hitters who have trouble hitting 96 mph and above are suffering. If you want to know why Paul Goldschmidt is struggling so much, he’s seen 77 pitches this season of 96 mph or above and has yet to get a hit off of any of them. This is true for a lot of hitters over the age of 30, actually.
- The Braves scored six runs in the ninth on Sunday to beat the Marlins and they currently have the best record in the National League. Jonah Keri writes that the Braves’ early-season success is no fluke.
- Just a game and a half back of the Braves are the Phillies. Cody Benjamin writes that the Phillies will likely finish the season among the best teams in baseball.
- The Pirates are close to first place in the rough NL Central, which I’m pretty sure few people predicted. Brett Barnett isn’t ready to predict a postseason berth for the Bucs, but he does think that everyone underestimated them at the start of the season.
- The Dodgers swept the Nationals over the weekend, climbing out of the NL West basement and are now just five games back of the Diamondbacks. Before this weekend, team president Andrew Friedman defended manager Dave Roberts, who had been under fire after the team’s poor start.
- Yes, there has been some amazing pitching in the majors so far this season, but the American League also boasts some incredible shortstops. David Schoenfield examines just how great the top five shortstops in the AL are at the moment. (Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Andrelton Simmons, Didi Gregorius and Manny Machado, not in that order.)
- The Nationals suffered another blow as super-utility guy Howie Kendrick is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. We really need a better term to describe the role a player like Kendrick plays on a modern team. I suggest we say he plays “Zobrist” for the Nationals.
- Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill will now miss a month after a blister on his pitching hand ruptured.
- White Sox outfielder Nicky Delmonico is out for four to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a pitch.
- The Indians called up outfielder Melky Cabrera. They had signed the veteran Cabrera to a minor-league deal before the start of the season.
- Jose Bautista’s career with the Braves is over almost as soon as it started as the Braves released the veteran after just 12 games.
- Will the Blue Jays call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. already? He was 4 for 4 with a walk-off home run on Sunday for Double-A New Hampshire. He’s hitting .421 with eight home runs in 39 games.
- Jon Heyman looks at the chances of the Blue Jays trading Josh Donaldson this summer.
- But as Buster Olney writes, the market for third baseman this summer is likely to be very weak, as few contenders need one at the moment.
- I’ve linked to a story about White Sox grounds crew member Nevest Coleman before, but if you want the complete “true crime” version, Wayne Drehs has the story of how Coleman was locked up for 23 years for a murder he did not commit. I’m waiting for the five-part Netflix documentary series.
- Grant Brisbee looks back at the Yankees/Orioles fight started by Armando Benitez on its 20th anniversary.
- The Diamondbacks worked out a deal with Maricopa County and they now have permission to leave Chase Field in 2022. Now they just need to find a sucker to build them a new stadium. Anyway, in the linked piece, Sheryl Ring looks at a lot of the issues, legal and otherwise, surrounding Chase Field and a new stadium.
- In another example of the pettiness, cluelessness and arrogance of the Derek Jeter Marlins, the team has pulled the media credentials of the radio host who exposed their “Virgin Islands” charade. Yes, it’s 2018 and the baseball world loves Alex Rodriguez and it hates Derek Jeter.
- The original “Rules of Base Ball” from 1857 have gone on display at the Library of Congress and Michael E. Ruane has the story of how the document came to belong to one obsessed fan. He’s lent them out to the Library of Congress so everyone can see them, although if I were him, I’d pull Jeter’s tickets.
- The Mets ballboy made a pretty impressive catch.
- Angels broadcasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza kind of went overboard getting into the spirit of “Star Wars Night.” Isn’t management upset that they’re seen wearing the Yankees alternative uniforms in their opening segment? (They actually just recorded an opening and it’s two other people inside the stormtroopers costumes, pretending they’re saying Rojas and Gubicza’s words.)
- And finally, Sarah Wexler looks back at the baseball career of Red Sox relief pitcher Sam “Mayday” Malone, who pitched for Boston in the mid-70s. After Malone retired, he apparently ran a bar in Boston for many years, although not much has been heard from him over the past 25 years.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.