Seven takeaways from week 4
So, this is NEW! – well it’s the third time I’ve done this so I’m leaving the introduction for the first couple of weeks. For the first edition of this weekly column you can click here.
Each week on Monday (I figure I can handle a small commitment to my blog, right?) I’m going to give you a quick wrap up of seven important things that happened over the past week in MLB, and even some MiLB, plays, events, matchups or whatever it was I would have loved to do an entire post on but didn’t have the time.
Because let’s face it, there are 30 teams and no one person can cover them all or keep track of everything. I have a hard enough time covering the A’s at for FanRag Sports’ Today’s Knuckleball – which is where I work, just in case this is your first time reading my blog. You can learn more about me and my story here, if you’re curious about who’s talking to you right now.
This may change in format and structure as I find a good fit for me and the blog. But it’ll be my weekly wrap up. Please leave a comment for any event in any level of baseball that you think I may have missed (and there should be plenty of those) or that you think should be on my list but isn’t.
I’m actually going to change the format this week. You’ll know right away if it is player news or team news … For now, here’s my take (using seven events) on what happened last week in baseball …
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels:
Albert Pujols hit the 563rd home run of his career on Sunday after having been in an 0-26 slump. He launched a solo shot in the first inning off of Seattle Mariners’ pitcher Wade Miley. After a very slow start by Pujols, Mike Trout and the rest of the Angels, Pujols hit his third home run of the season tying the great Reggie Jackson for 13th on the all-time home run list.
Just a day later the 36-year-old hit number 564 off of Kansas City Royals’ pitcher Ian Kennedy, surpassing Jackson and providing the Angels with the hope that perhaps their sluggers will still come around this season.
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies:
Now Story has broken the National League rookie record for the most home runs in the month of April. He hit home run number nine off of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jon Niese, breaking the previous NL record of eight home runs that were hit back in 2001 by none other than Albert Pujols when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. The MLB record is actually 10 home runs in the month of April. They were hit in just 2014 by White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
There are still a few days in April left so … you never know what could happen. This is baseball afterall.*
*Story did end up hitting his 10th home run in the month of April on Friday not only tying Abreu for the most home runs in by a rookie in April but also tying the Boston Red Sox’s George Scott (1966) as the fastest players in history to 10 home runs.
Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins:
Tuesday night as the Marlins took on the Dodgers, 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki slapped a single into left field for the 2,943rd hits of his big league career putting him just 57 hits away from joining the infamous 3,000 hit club (Ichiro already has 3,000 hits in professional baseball but some of those were when he was still playing in Japan).
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) April 27, 2016
He also tied Hall of Famer Frank Robinson for 33rd on the all-time hits list. There’s some doubt as to whether or not Ichiro will get to 3,000 hits by the end of the season, however, don’t expect him to retire until he’s a member of the club.
Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners:
Before the night was over, however, Cano finished off the evening in spectacular fashion. He hit a Grand Slam to bring his RBI total on the day to six and his career total to 1,004.
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates:
In the Pittsburgh Pirates game win over the Colorado Rockies Tuesday, star outfielder Andrew McCutchen went deep three times, for the second time in his career. His first career three-homer game came in his 51st career game on August 1, 2009. He joins just three other Pirates players, all Hall of Famers, to have mutliple three-homer games: Ralph Kiner, Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente. That’s is some pretty lofty company for McCutchen who is considered to be one third of arguably baseball’s best outfields.
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox:
The Chicago White Sox have been having a surprisingly unexpected and incredible season thus far. On Sunday the team’s ace, lefty Chris Sale, became the first pitcher in baseball to reach six wins this season. He pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball as the Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles by the score of 7-1. The White Sox currently are the owners of the league’s best record at 18-8.
Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins:
In the week’s biggest story Dee Gordon, last season’s NL batting champion and member of the Miami Marlins, was suspended 80 games for using performance enhancing drugs. This wasn’t any “oops I forgot to get my aderall prescription renewed” PED type of suspension either.
Gordon tested positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol. Sources told ESPN’s Jayson Stark that Gordon tested positive during spring training but was in the midst of an appeal and was still allowed to play until Gordon decided to drop the appeal on Thursday.
It’s an interesting coincidence that Barry Bonds was made the Marlins’ hitting coach this year, as his career has been tainted with PED accusations.
However, the bigger story here is how legitimate Gordon’s 2015 numbers are. He, as noted, won the NL batting title hitting .333, he also stole 58 bases and scored 88 runs for the Marlins who rewarded him with a five-year, $50 million contract over the offseason. His suspension is without pay and will cost the second baseman $1.65 million. He’ll return to the Marlins in mid-July.
OK LAST WEEK I HAD FIVE TAKEAWAYS …. THIS WEEK I’VE DECIDED ON NUMBER EIGHT:
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ game was all about Clayton Kershaw on Sunday. Arguably the league’s best pitcher, Kershaw, tossed the 13th complete game shut out of his career holding the Padres to just three singles all day. What made this one extra special is that Kershaw also drove in the winning run with a single in the third inning. I may not have paid attention to the Dodgers game yesterday, however, I definitely should have, which is why I’m adding an eighth takeaway this week!