Good morning. While you slept, Christian Yelich hit another home run against the Cardinals. Probably. I don’t know when you went to bed. I also don’t know if Yelich gets the Cardinals out of bed at 2 a.m. so he can hit off of them. I assume he does since he currently owns the team, but I haven’t actually seen it for myself.
- Speaking of that, Andrew Simon looks at Yelich’s chances to break a single-season record for most home runs against one team. He now has eight home runs over six games with St. Louis. They’ve got 13 more games with the Brewers. The record is 14—Lou Gehrig against the Indians in 1936. The record in the divisional era is 12—Sammy Sosa against the Brewers in 1998.
- David Schoenfield examines how Yelich has been doing this.
- Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig returned to Los Angeles and Alden Gonzalez documents everything that happened.
- Andy McCullough spoke with Puig’s former Dodger teammates about Puig’s time in LA. Different players and coaches said different things, but the general sentiment was “I love the guy, but . . . “ with a whole lot of buts coming after that sentence. But they weren’t just being nice when they expressed their affection for him either.
- Molly Knight may have written more about Puig than anyone else. She wrote an entire book on the 2014 Dodgers. She watched Puig play for the Reds from the right field bleachers this weekend and she found the entire experience sad for most everyone involved, including Puig. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Craig Calcaterra has some thoughts about Puig’s “complicated legacy” in Los Angeles.
- Monday was Jackie Robinson Day in baseball and Doug Glanville was busy. Glanville writes about how much Jackie Robinson and the entire Robinson family have inspired him through the years and how he has tried to carry on Robinson’s legacy.
- And Glanville writes about the racism he experienced in the game and how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- How far do we have to go? ESPN confused Hank Aaron with Sam Jethroe on Sunday Night Baseball.
- C. Brandon Ogbunu and Ben Odell look at the complicated breaking of the color barrier and make the argument that it wasn’t truly broken until Harry “Suitcase” Simpson and Bob Boyd played in the fifties. It’s an important point. In the early days of integration, if you were a terrific player like Robinson, Roy Campanella, Larry Doby or Monte Irvin, then teams would take you. Anyone less that that was sent back to the minors or never signed in the first place. Simpson and Boyd were the first two African-American ballplayers allowed to simply be average and have a long major-league career.
- Things weren’t totally better in the sixties either. This terrific piece remembers what it was like to watch a major league ballgame in Houston in 1963 and the racist abuse the players (and other spectators) had to put up with from at least one “fan.”
- Former minor leaguer Eric Sim explains why he wouldn’t play professional baseball again even if some team offered to sign him. (Hint: it’s the money.)
- Hannah Keyser writes an important piece about the retirement of Mariners pitcher Rob Whalen and how MLB has no real plan or system to deal with players who are dealing with mental health issues.
- Michael Baumann writes that there is no good reason why pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel remain unsigned.
- Rian Watt explains how the current power relationship between management and workers has resulted in the large number of contract extensions this spring. I’m kind of disappointed he didn’t mention Antonio Gramsci. He probably didn’t want all his readers to roll their eyes like you’re doing now.
- If you’re still unclear on what the service-time rules in MLB are and how they affect the game, Christina Kahrl has a great primer.
- Andrew Baggarly and Eno Sarris report that the Giants are seriously thinking of altering the dimensions of Oracle Park, (The Athletic sub. req.) as well as moving the bullpens out of foul territory. They also outline what the Giants could do and what kind of impact it would have on offensive production. They also talk to the Giants to get their thoughts on it. As you can probably guess, every left-handed hitter wants to get rid of “triples alley” in right-center field. Some right-handers too.
- Jon Tayler thinks the baseballs are juiced again.
- Sam MIller looks at the early season trends in baseball and how much stock we should put in each of them. Starting pitchers have a lower ERA than relievers at the moment and that hasn’t happened over a full season since 1988.
- Dan Szymborski has a list of players who are off to hot starts that he believes will keep it up all season.
- Red Sox ace Chris Sale had another poor start on Tuesday. Sale called his early-season performance “flat-out embarrassing.”
- Bob Nightengale reports that his Padres teammates are simply awestruck at how terrific rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is. Let’s see. Through his first 17 games, Tatis has posted a WAR of 1.2. Yeah, I can see how they are astounded.
- Rian Watt speaks with the Mariners about their first-year hitting coach Tim Laker and how the M’s are smashing everything in sight.
- Jon Tayler writes that the Mets are misusing closer Edwin Diaz.
- Alden Gonzalez explains why Clayton Kershaw’s changeup will be the key to his future as a pitcher as he ages.
- Rays ace pitcher Blake Snell went on the injured list after he broke his toe on a granite bathroom stand. He’s only expected to miss one start.
- Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela made an incredible throw from foul territory while falling down to get a speedy Mookie Betts at first base.
- Sometimes outfielders rob hitters of home runs. Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun thought he was doing that, but ended up just knocking the ball over the fence for a home run instead.
- And finally, no one is quite sure how Astros pitcher Collin McHugh dodged this line drive like he was Neo from “The Matrix.” Not even McHugh.
My ring finger says, “Excuse me, that’s a 1-6-3 DP”— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) April 17, 2019
My jaw says, “ ” https://t.co/pssprcZPyz
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.