Seven takeaways from week 5
Each week on Monday (I figure I can handle a small commitment to my blog, right?) I’ve been giving 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.
New York Yankees:
The Yankees are not in great shape, either in their division where they are in last place with a disappointing 11-18 record or when it comes to their players. Just last week the Yankees put starter CC Sabathia and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list. To add injury to – well more – injury, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury hurt his hip and second baseman Starlin Castro, who has been a star for the Yankees this season. He’s currently batting .296 with 12 RBI. Both Ellsbury and Castro are hoping to avoid the disabled list but so far nothing has been decided. In Ellsbury’s absence the team has been using Dustin Ackley in right field. He has just three hits this season after being brought over in a trade with the Seattle Mariners where he wasn’t much better. Still Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi has said that it’s likely Ackley will be “an everyday guy.” Ivan Nova, who had been relegated to the bullpen at the beginning of the season, will be the one to fill in during Sabathia’s absence.
Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays:
On Tuesday night as the Blue Jays played the Texas Rangers they went into the bottom of the ninth inning down trailing 1-0. Justin Smoak, who hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time so far this season, hit his first home run of the season to tie the game and his second home run, this time a two-run walk-off in the bottom of the tenth to lift the Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory over the Rangers. He became the first Blue Jays player to ever tie the game with a homer in the ninth and to then walk-off in extra innings. Smoak looks to get more regular playing time due to the 80-game suspension of Chris Colabello for PED use.
Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates:
Jung Ho Kang suffered a devastating knee injury last season that kept him out of the postseason and the beginning of this season. He returned to the Pirates lineup for the first time on Friday as they took on their division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates 4-2 victory over the Cardinals was fueled mostly by Kang who hit two home runs in his return from the disabled list. He hit a two-run shot to right in the sixth inning and a solo shot to left in the eighth inning accounting for three of the Pirates four runs. It was an amazing return for a guy who’s knee injury was so severe that it is most often seen in car crash victims.
Enjoy an all new season of #TheKangShow
— #VotePirates (@Pirates) May 7, 2016
Jose Reyes, Colorado Rockies:
Jose Reyes, the shortstop for the Colorado Rockies, has been on administrative leave since spring training while MLB investigated a domestic violence incident that occurred between Reyes and his wife in Maui over the offseason. This week Jon Heyman of MLB Network wrote that Reyes will not only be suspended but that it will be a longer suspension than that of the Yankees Aroldis Chapman ( 30 games). The incident between Reyes and his wife involved injuries to her neck, wrists and thigh while the incident between Chapman and his girlfriend did not involve bodily injury. Heyman is predicting a suspension of at least 60 games but that it will probably be more like 80. Reyes is not only the highest paid player on the Rockies, he is the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball making $22 million a year. The team may have already moved on, however, thanks to Reyes’ replacement, rookie Trevor Story who had the hottest start in the majors this season hitting 10 homers in the month of April and has held down the position defensively.
Los Angeles Angels:
Already off to a slow start, people are beginning to talk about the Angels trading Mike Trout but Angels’ general manager Billy Eppler shot down that talk, saying the team would not be trading Trout. Although they should. For Trout they could get a left fielder PLUS pitching assistance which they desperately needed starting the season and need even more after receiving the news this week that the ace of their pitching staff, Garrett Richards will need Tommy John surgery (thenthere is also the argument that they are wasting Trout’s best years by not building a winning team around him). The Angels already have a number of other players on the disabled list and losing Richards is a really big blow to the team.
Trayce Thompson, Los Angeles Dodgers:
Trayce Thompson, younger brother of Golden State Warriors’ star Klay Thompson, hit a home run that never came down last Monday during an interleague game between the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays at the Rays’ Tropicana Field. The ball got stuck in the catwalk, giving Thompson the distinction of being the sixth player to ever get a home run ball stuck in the catwalk at the Trop.
Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins:
Twins’ top pitching prospect and MLB Pipeline’s 16th overall top prospect Jose Berrios got his first MLB win in just his second big league start last week at Minute Maid Park in Houston. He faced off with and out pitched the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and the Astros. Berrios went 5.1 innings allowing two runs on three hits and five walks while striking out eight Astros’ batters. Berrios also snapped Keuchel’s 17-game home winning streak. Quite a feat for a kid in just his second MLB start.
**Bonus: Sunday Bryce Harper became the only player in MLB history to reach base seven times without an official at-bat. The Cubs swept the Nationals. Their strategy being: Don’t pitch to Bryce Harper, who set another record with 13 walks in a three-game series.