This Great Game Comebacker

The Month That Was in Baseball: May, 2019
Man, That Ball Has Some Juice Edwin Jackson: 14 Teams Down, 16 to Go
Is it Time to Move Expand the Protecive Netting Again? So Long, Bill Buckner


Best and Worst of the Week

Okay, so we're fudging this a bit: It's the Best and the Worst through May 30, so it includes the season's first few days' worth of games played at the end of March.

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
114 25 40 7 1 8 24 4 2 1 3

It took a brief bit of time, but it appears that the 22-year-old Dominican has finally hit his stride with the Red Sox after a somewhat disappointing .240-21-66 effort in 2018. The online wags certainly think he’s arrived; ESPN shouts that Devers’ “anticipated breakout is happening now,” Yahoo calls him “baseball’s breakout superstar,” and the blog at Boston’s WEEI site says that he’s “becoming a superstar before our eyes.” Perhaps that’s all premature, but what is impressive about Devers’ season to date—and especially this past month—is his consistency; he didn’t have the eye-popping stretch of herculean numbers, but he rarely slumped, either. In fact, he ends the month with an 11-game hitting streak and a .324 season average that’s fourth best in the AL.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
118 26 46 12 0 12 31 8 3 0 0

We wrote in our season preview about the Pirates: “someone needs to break through this no-name malaise and make a name for himself.” Josh Bell has clearly answered that call. The 26-year-old Dallas-area native went on a record warpath in May, accruing the most total bases (94) by a Pirate in any month (yes, even Ralph Kiner included), and the most by anyone in May since Willie Mays in 1958. And to prove that he’s shaken off an even worse sophomore campaign than Devers above, Bell’s 12 homers in May matched his entire season total from 2018. Finally, there’s this: Coming into the month, only three players had reached the Allegheny on the fly in the 18-year-plus history of PNC Park. Bell did it twice in May alone.


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
55 4 6 1 0 2 5 5 0 0 1

The Tigers pretty much monopolized the candidate list for this dishonor the way the Godfather movies hogged the best supporting actor nominees back in the day, but Candelario emerges as the one who staggers feet and kneecaps below the others. The 25-year-old infielder was let go by the Cubs in 2017 to get Justin Wilson for the pennant race, and it looked as if the Tigers got a plum deal when Candelario hit .330 in 27 games late that season. But he hit a paltry .224 as an everyday player last season, and the regression has continued into 2019 with the bottom dropping out this past month. A two-week refresh at Triple-A Toledo in mid-month apparently hasn’t done the trick; he went 0-for-8 back in Detroit to finish out the month after being recalled.


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Daniel Descalso, Chicago Cubs

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
53 5 5 0 1 0 3 6 0 0 0

Ben Zobrist’s off-field problems opened up the opportunity to give Descalso more playing time in the infield—but in retrospect, the Cubs are probably wishing they had budgeted more money for preventative marriage counseling. A miserable month lacked even a multi-hit effort or consecutive games with a hit. “I don’t want to compare Daniel Descalso to Tommy La Stella,” tweeted one Cubs podcaster, “but I think we picked the wrong Italian.” Patch things up, Ben. Quickly.


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
4-0 28.2 16 3 3 9 0 0 0 0 31

The Twins are making noise because of an MLB-best record and booming offense that set a franchise record for home runs in a month, but a little love should be given to the guys on the mound—and that especially goes for Odorizzi, who’s bringing it for Minnesota after a lackluster first campaign with the team in 2018. Four of the right-hander’s five starts in May wrapped with no runs allowed—and in three of those four, he gave up three or fewer hits. The collective efficiency has moved Odorizzi to the top of the AL charts in ERA (first, at 2.16) and opposing batting average (second with a .184 mark). Not bad for someone opined by many as little more than mid-rotation quality.


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
5-0 45.2 28 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 36

For a guy who came into the season having made just 41 appearances over the previous four years, this is quite the promising start. Ryu followed up a solid April with a spectacular May, setting a career mark with 32 straight scoreless innings and ending the month with, easily, the majors’ best ERA at 1.48; only Don Sutton (1972) and Don Drysdale (1968) had lower ERAs through their first 11 starts to a Dodgers season. The hope is that Ryu can hold up with a retooled shoulder without breaking down; since the start of 2018, he’s 15-4 record and 1.74 ERA in 26 starts.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Edwin Jackson, Toronto Blue Jays

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-3 16.1 30 26 24 6 12 2 2 0 12

The 35-year-old veteran made news early in the month when he signed on to his 14th major league team to set an all-time record. Perhaps it ended up being one team too many—or, just maybe, we get an idea as to why the previous 13 teams let him go. His first start, on May 15 at San Francisco, was halfway decent. (Okay, that’s the Giants.) But each succeeding start got progressively worse—and it got horrific on the last night of May when he gave up 10 runs in two-plus innings of work at Colorado—incidentally, the second time he’s allowed double-digit runs in a Coors Field start. If Jackson keeps this up, he’ll soon be looking for a 15th team—but we doubt that 15th team will be looking for him.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-2 25.2 39 31 29 12 1 0 0 0 16

How sobering this must be for Rockies fans. They thought they finally found The One, the mile-high-born Denver native who could channel Coors Field’s demons for the long run. Yet after an outstanding 2018 (2.85 ERA), Freeland labored so badly—especially this past month—that the Rockies felt it best to send him down (or up, 100 feet or so) to Triple-A Albuquerque, yet another victim of a ballyard that’s been so unrelentingly cruel on pitchers from its first day to the current. The 26-year-old lefty had trouble holding his own in four Coors Field starts this month—and had mixed results on the road, tucking in a bare-bones quality start at Boston before failing to last even two innings at Philadelphia. Baseball’s home run epidemic was certainly rough on Freeland; he gave up 11 jacks in May, compared to 17 for all of last season.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
New York Yankees (20-7)

Remember when the Yankees seemed to overload their roster in the preseason to the point that Gold Glove infielder DJ LeMahieu signed (for some reason) with the team unsure if he’d get everyday playing time? Now, it all looks like an insurance policy that has paid off. As the team’s medical ward continues to overflow with big names (Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, etc., etc.), those left behind are more than admirably keeping expectations high. The aforementioned LeMahieu hit .323 for the month, and he was bettered by Miguel Andujar replacement Gio Urshela (Gio Urshela?), who hit .333. And then there’s the power duo of Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, who historically used the Orioles as a month-long punching bag (combining for 11 homers in six games against Baltimore in May). If this is the way the Yankees are now, wait until they get to full strength.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Los Angeles Dodgers (19-7)

The NL West was supposed to be something of a scary place for the Dodgers this season, with the evolution of divisional competition surpassing the Cro-Magnon stage. But the reaction from Chavez Ravine has been a collective yawn, as the Dodgers are just too talented and deep to sweat over the subject—as their 8.5-game lead, the NL’s largest, can easily attest. Los Angeles sailed through May despite a bullpen (4.91 ERA) that found it difficult maintaining leads, but the rotation was solid (see Hyun-Jin Ryu, above) and five different everyday players hit over .300—with a sixth (rookie Alex Verdugo) hitting .296. For the Dodgers, getting to the World Series isn’t the big prize, given that they’re sitting on consecutive pennants—they just want to win the danged thing. If they pick up a qualified reliever or two, the third time just might be the charm.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Seattle Mariners (7-21)

It didn’t seem long ago that the Mariners were sitting pretty atop the AL West with a 13-2 record, cranking home runs at record rates and fueling dreams of the team’s first playoff appearance in nearly two decades. But cruelty has set in; the Mariners are 12-33 since and are firmly planted in the divisional basement. The power’s still there; Seattle’s 43 homers in May made MLB’s Top 10 among teams, but only two teams suffered a lower on-base percentage that the M’s .295 mark. Worse was the pitching, with the rotation and bullpen equally embarrassing as neither could keep the monthly ERA below 6.00. Look, nobody expected much from a Mariners side that’s basically in rebuild mode, so this shouldn’t be too surprising. But this team can’t keep repeating May over and over.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis Cardinals (9-18)

It’s first to worst for a Cardinals side that follows up an exceptional start (earning our Best of Show for March/April) with a bad egg laid in May. And that’s odd for a team that prides itself on quality and consistency. The Redbirds simply couldn’t click it into gear, failing to win consecutive games until the very end of the month as all of their hitters underwhelmed, while their pitching was blasé at best—and what’s happened to you, Michael Wacha (8.86 in 21.1 innings this month)? Mike Shildt might have thought this managing thing was easy since taking over last July and quickly bumping the Cardinals back to relevance, but this past month was one big pothole he wasn’t expecting.


Wild Pitches

Yes, They Can’t Believe This Really Happened
(May 2019 Edition)

Smoak But No Mirrors
The first career RBI of Justin Smoak, in 2010, knocked in Vladimir Guerrero when both played for the Rangers; nine years later, Smoak scored on the first career run knocked in by the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Boost Via the Boot
When his hands became all thumbs while trying to pick up a ground ball, Class-A pitcher Javier Assad used his foot instead to pick up an assist.

Word Games
The Cubs successfully kept a local resident from trademarking the word “Cubnoxious.”

Let Us Know When the Asstros Come to Town
A White House press release promoting a visit by the Red Sox referred to the team as the “Red Socks” and that they won the “World Cup Series.”

That’s Not Okay
The Cubs banished a fan for life from Wrigley Field after he flashed an upside-down AOK hand gesture—considered a sign supporting white supremacy—behind sideline reporter, former Cubbie and African-American Doug Glanville during a live TV segment.

Mishandling the Handle
The Padres changed their Twitter name to “@Madres” for Mother’s Day, leaving “@Padres” temporarily and accidentally available for someone to grab it for a few hours before the team wrestled it back.

The Orioles, in a Nutshell
A May 16 attempt at a double play at Cleveland didn’t go as planned for the Orioles.

Crappy Idea
For some macabre reason, a neighbor of Alex Rodriguez decided to snap and send via social media a picture of the former star Yankee sitting on the toilet in his Manhattan home. Needless to say, Rodriguez is suing

What the Hell
The White Sox’ Yolmer Sanchez gave the few fans sitting out a rain delay the best entertainment on the day.

Truly, Her First Pitch
A White Sox employee throwing out the ceremonial first pitch had perfect aim—that is, if the photographer standing nowhere close to home plate was the target.

Fres-No!
A Memorial Day video tribute shown by the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies took an uncomfortable turn when it displayed, toward video’s end, a pictorial list of America’s ‘enemies’—including New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Grizzlies apologized, claiming they didn’t properly vet the video they stumbled upon on YouTube.

Rubbed the Wrong Way
The Astros’ Carlos Correa suffered a broken rib while getting a massage.

That’ll Look Good on a Resumé
Projected #1 MLB amateur draft pick Adley Rutschman was intentionally walked with the bases loaded by the University of Cincinnati in a NCAA tournament game. It didn’t work; Rutschman and Oregon State rallied for four runs and ultimately won the game, 7-6.

This Month’s Proof That Everybody’s Hitting Home Runs
While MLB continues to be tight-lipped about accusations that it’s using juiced baseballs amid declining attendance and three-hour games, major leaguers went about their muscular business and set an all-time record for home runs in one month, crushing 1,135 over the fence to topple the old mark (1,119) set in August of 2017. Six players hit 10 or more, and roughly 30 players are on pace to hit 40 this year; last season, just three topped 40. The home run insanity is worse in the minors; both Triple-A circuits—the Pacific Coast League and International League—are experiencing a 50% increase in home run totals

This Month’s Proof That Everybody’s Striking Out
With the home runs come the strikeouts, as the “three-outcome” approach (homers, strikeouts or walks) continues to become more of a thing in baseball. The 7,137 K’s notched in May also represent a monthly record, breaking the previous mark of 7,074 from September 2018. Through the first two months of the season, there was a 35% chance that every plate appearance would end with either a homer, strikeout or walk. Thirty years ago, in 1989, that rate was just 25%.

League vs. League

The National League maintained its edge over its junior sibling in interleague action this past month, winning 30 of 55 games in May to form an overall 52-46 margin for the season. As the American League potentially stumbles toward a second straight year of sub-.500 interleague play after 15 straight years of dominance, it might once again look at the AL Central’s performance against the NL as the culprit; through the season’s first two months, that weak division has a combined 11-19 record in interleague play.





Wednesday, May 1
Bad news for the Cleveland Indians: Ace Corey Kluber suffers a fracture on his pitching arm in Miami when the Marlins’ Brian Anderson lines a comebacker off of him. Kluber shows no emotion or pain while being checked out by the trainer—but that’s why they call him “Klubot.” Others within the organization will undoubtedly show bigger expressions of pain a few days later when they find out that Kluber will likely miss the next three months. The Indians, trailing 3-1 at the time of Kluber’s injury, end up losing 4-2.

Cleveland’s loss is Minnesota’s gain, as the Twins extend their early-season lead in the AL Central with a 6-2 home win over Houston. Jonathan Schoop powers the Twins with a 465-foot blast into Target Field’s upper deck.

New month, new results for two teams who’ve been at the opposite ends of fortune. The Kansas City Royals, saddled with the American League’s worst record through April 30 at 9-20, sweeps a doubleheader from Tampa Bay—which had the AL’s best mark at 19-9—with scores of 3-2 and 8-2. The Royals set the pace in both games with three runs in the first inning of each—off ace opener Ryne Stanek in the first game, and traditional ace Blake Snell in the second.

Thursday, May 2
The Mets’ Noah Syndergaard throws a four-hit shutout and provides the game’s lone run as he belts a solo homer in the third inning to give New York a 1-0 home win over Cincinnati. Syndergaard is the eighth pitcher since 1908 to go the distance in a 1-0 win and hit a home run for the game’s only tally; the last to do it was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Bob Welch in 1983, also against the Reds.

Stephen Strasburg becomes the fastest player by innings to reach 1,500 career strikeouts, reaching the milestone as part of a nine-K night for Washington in its 2-1 home win over St. Louis. Since debuting nearly nine years ago, Strasburg has racked up his 1,500 Ks in 1,274 innings, besting Chris Sale’s old record of 1,290.

Despite the strong effort from Strasburg, the Nationals fire pitching coach Derek Lilliquist as the team’s staff ERA of 4.82 is the Nationals League’s third worst.

Colorado rolls to an 11-4 rout of the Brewers in Milwaukee behind Nolan Arenado, who follows up a multi-homer effort the night before with another home run, one of three hits along with four RBIs. After going homerless in the Rockies’ first 15 games this season, Arenado has now homered nine times in the last 16—with eight of those blasts coming on the road, away from Coors Field.

Friday, May 3
The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks, whose style of pitching has drawn wide-ranging comparisons to Greg Maddux, emulates the Hall of Famer in the best way possible at Chicago against St. Louis by throwing a four-hit, 4-0 shutout on just 81 pitches—63 of them for strikes. It’s the fewest pitches needed in a complete-game win since Aaron Cook in 2012; Hendricks doesn’t throw a pitch any faster than 88 MPH.

The Oakland A’s end a six-game losing skid thanks in large part to catcher Josh Phegley, who knocks in eight runs—seven in the first four innings alone—on a single, two doubles and a home run during a 14-1 rout of the Pirates at Pittsburgh. It’s the most runs driven in by an A’s player since Eric Chavez in 2001, and the most by a catcher in franchise history.

Boston’s Chris Sale finally gets into the win column for the first time in seven starts, defeating his old team with six shutout innings and 10 strikeouts in a 6-1 win at Chicago over the White Sox.

Remember last year when Miami’s Jose Urena drilled Atlanta star rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. with the first pitch of a game? The Braves certainly do—especially Kevin Gausman, the Atlanta pitcher who started that game and starts tonight against the Marlins and Urena. In the second inning at Miami, Gausman throws a pitch behind Urena’s legs—and immediately gets ejected. Touki Toussaint takes over on the mound and allows one run through four innings, while the Braves jump to an eventual 7-2 win.

Two of baseball’s worst offenses (to date) meet in Cincinnati—and naturally, it turns into a slugfest. The Reds jump out to an 8-0 lead over San Francisco behind two three-run bombs from Derek Dietrich, but the Giants storm back and tie the game in the ninth with two outs on a Stephen Vogt solo homer, then win it in the 11th on another from Evan Longoria. The eight-run comeback equals the biggest in Giants franchise annals.

Saturday, May 4
In the third inning at Chicago, the hits keep on coming as the Red Sox connect for 10 straight hits—four singles, three doubles and three homers—and score nine runs off White Sox starter Manny Banuelos in what will eventually end as a 15-2 rout. The 10 straight knocks are one shy of the all-time record, held by the Rockies in 2010.

Other two other pitchers have given up 10 hits in a row: Bill Reidy of the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers (which later became the St. Louis Browns, which later became the Baltimore Orioles), and Pittsburgh’s Heinie Meine in 1930.

In the Braves’ 9-2 win at Miami, Atlanta pitcher Mike Soroka—not to be confused with brief White Sox semi-wonder Mike Sirotka, circa 2000—becomes the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in his memorable 1981 breakout to allow no more than one earned run in each of his first four starts to begin a rookie season. (Full disclosure: Soroka started five games late last season but is still qualified as a rookie this year.) Soroka does allow two unearned runs, but otherwise is outstanding in giving up just three hits overall in seven innings of work.

It takes 18 innings, but the Milwaukee Brewers outlast the visiting New York Mets, 4-3, on a two-run, walk-off single from Ryan Braun—his sixth hit of the night in eight at-bats. The rest of the Brewers combine to go 5-for-54, and none of them have more than one hit. It’s the longest game by innings in the 19-year history of Miller Park.

Braun is the fifth player age 35 or older to collect six hits in a game—though of the other four players (Ty Cobb, Cal Ripken Jr., Omar Vizquel and Chase Utley), only Utley (in a 15-inning game) needed more than nine innings to collect their six.

Top Reds prospect Nick Senzel, in his second game since being called up, drills what looks to be his first home run for Cincinnati—but the Giants’ Kevin Pillar makes a Spider-Man like steal of the ball before it can clear the center-field fence. No problem, says Senzel; in his next at-bat, he hits one no San Francisco outfielder can snare away, one of five homers hit by the Reds in a 9-2 home victory.

Two notable on-base streaks come to an end tonight. In New York, Luke Voit’s 41-game run of reaching base at least once is stopped by the Minnesota Twins in their 7-3 win over the Yankees; and in Monterrey, Mexico, Mike Trout’s 29-game streak—an Angels record to start a season—is ended with a 0-for-4 night as Los Angeles gets blasted by Houston, 14-2.

Sunday, May 5
Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich go deep on three straight pitches against the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija—but the Reds don’t get another hit until two outs in the ninth as part of a too-little, too-late rally as San Francisco earns its second comeback win in three days with a 6-5 win. Brandon Crawford’s pinch-hit homer in the ninth proves to be the game-winner. It’s the first time a team has homered on three straight pitches since 2007.

Christian Yelich’s back appears to be fine. After skipping a week to heal up, the star Milwaukee hitter returns to the lineup and unloads a 440-foot, two-run bomb down the line into Miller Park’s upper deck for his 15th homer to take the MLB lead. It’s part of a three-run rally in the third that will account for all of the Brewers’ runs in a 3-2 win over the Mets.

The Astros make it a two-game sweep in Monterrey with another cold-cocking of the Angels, this one a 10-4 victory as Alex Bregman stays hot with a fifth-inning grand slam. Houston reliever Ryan Pressly, who takes over for Justin Verlander in the seventh, pitches 1.2 scoreless innings to extend an overall streak going back to late last season to 33 frames—breaking the club mark previously owned by Roy Oswalt.

Despite four errors, the Cubs demolish St. Louis at Chicago, 13-5, to take first place in the NL Central; they are 18-6 since starting the year at 1-6. Kris Bryant drives in four runs and Willson Contreras launches his ninth homer of the year.

The Cubs’ team ERA is 2.54 since April 7; in the eight games to begin the year before that, it was at 7.87.

Seattle ends a six-game skid and avoids dropping to an even .500 on the season with a 10-0 pasting of the Indians at Cleveland. Jay Bruce plants a first-inning grand slam to set the pace—and give him the AL home run lead with 11.

Monday, May 6
The finale of a four-game series between the Reds and Giants in Cincinnati is bee-layed, as a swarm of bees invade Great American Ball Park and hold up the proceedings for 18 minutes before departing. The Reds then continue to swarm early and often on the Giants, as rookie Nick Senzel pokes out home runs in each of the first two innings to help give Cincinnati a 12-4 victory. Of note is the performance of the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, who becomes the second player ever (after Christy Mathewson, in 1905) to have a home run, stolen base and pitch a scoreless inning as he does emergency mound duty in the eighth.

In this four-game series, the Reds hit nine home runs through the first three innings; the Giants have yet to do it once in any of their first 34 games. San Francisco will finally get an early round-tripper in its next game, at Denver’s Coors Field against the Rockies.

The Giants tie a major league record by hitting four Reds batters in the sixth. Pat Venditte, the “switch-pitcher” who throws both left- and right-handed, is charged with three of the plunkings.

The Nationals finish a lousy 24 hours that begins with a delayed flight, an unexpected overnight stay back in Washington and a loss at Milwaukee. The team doesn’t show up in Wisconsin until noon, after sitting on the D.C. tarmac for nearly eight hours as their plane incurs mechanical issues—they deplane at 3:00 in the morning and get short rest at a hotel. Later against the Brewers, the Nationals take a 3-2 lead behind Max Scherzer, but the Brewers tack on two tallies in the seventh after the Washington ace’s departure and pull away to a 5-3 triumph. Four Nationals errors—leading to two unearned runs—don’t help.

Has a star risen in San Diego? The visiting New York Mets get seven sharp innings out of Jacob deGrom, but he’s outdueled by rookie Chris Paddack, who improves to 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA as he throws 7.2 shutout innings, striking out 11 while giving up just four hits and a walk in the Padres’ 4-0 win. Paddack is the first pitcher since the end of the deadball era nearly 100 years ago to allow five or fewer hits in each of his first seven starts (minimum of five frames per start).

Tuesday, May 7
After teeing off on Giants pitching over the last four days, the Reds travel to Oakland and bump into Mike Fiers—who tosses his second career no-hitter, walking two and striking out six on 131 pitches in a 2-0 A’s victory. Fiers no-no is the 300th in major league history, including two recorded in the postseason. The biggest threat against Fiers comes in the sixth when Joey Votto’s bid for a home run is snatched over the fence by Oakland center fielder Roman Laureano—who’s already all but clinched a Gold Glove for 2019.

Fiers becomes the 35th pitcher to record multiple no-hitters. Both of his no-nos have come against interleague competition; only four such other gems have been thrown.

For the second straight day, the Reds have to wait out an unexpected delay before the first pitch. The day before, it was bees; tonight, it’s a bank of lights behind the Oakland Coliseum’s left-field bleachers that fail to turn on. The game’s start is set back 98 minutes because of this.

Justin Turner crushes three home runs and drives in six, while Hyun-Jin Ryu tosses a 93-pitch, four-hit shutout—the second of his career—in the Dodgers’ easy 9-0 defeat of Atlanta at Los Angeles. It’s the 23rd time that a Dodgers player has hit at least three homers; six of those have come in the last four years alone.

The Yankees drop three runs on Seattle in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Mariners at New York, 5-4. Gio Urshela’s two-run homer ties the game and, three batters later, DJ LeMahieu singles in the game-winner. The Yankees previously lost 51 straight games when trailing after eight innings, which had been the majors’ longest such active streak.

Robinson Cano has four hits for the Mets, his first being the 2,500th of his career, and scores a crucial run on rookie Pete Alonso’s two-run homer in the ninth to give New York a 7-6 victory at San Diego. Cano joins Rogers Horsnby as the only second basemen with 2,500 hits and 300 home runs; at age 36, he has a fair shot at 3,000 career hits.

Wednesday, May 8
Home runs—some of them historic—rule the day at Pittsburgh. In the third inning, the Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo belts his 100th career homer—and in the process becomes the first major leaguer ever to hit his 100th round-trippers before recording his 100th single (he has 93). An inning later, the Pirates’ Josh Bell unloads a 472-foot blast into the Allegheny behind PNC Park’s right-field bleachers, making him only the fourth player in the ballpark’s 19-year history to reach the river on the fly. But after falling behind 6-2, the Rangers strike back late on a pair of major strokes; Hunter Pence hits a game-tying, pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth, and in the ninth Rougned Odor drills a three-run shot for the game-winner in a 9-6 Texas victory.

Russell Branyan previously held the record for reaching 100 homers with the fewest singles—with 172. Gallo is also the third fastest to 100 by games, reaching the milestone in his 377th contest, trailing Ralph Kiner (376) and Ryan Howard (325).

After a rough start to the season, Chris Sale has reacquired his electricity. Over eight innings at Baltimore, the Boston ace allows a run on three hits, striking out 14 and walking none. Included in his performance is an immaculate inning (nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs) thrown in the seventh, making him the fifth player in Red Sox history to accomplish the feat. But Sale leaves with a 1-1 tie, and the Orioles look to have the walk-off in the 11th when Trey Mancini drives one toward the left-center field fence—but the Red Sox’ Jackie Bradley Jr. leaps high above the wall and makes a remarkable grab to keep it knotted. An inning later, Andrew Benintendi will send one out for an eventual 2-1, 12-inning Red Sox victory.

Between Sale and four relievers, the Red Sox strike out 22 Orioles and walk none; it’s the most K’s without a walk ever registered by a team in a single game since 1920—and likely ever.

Jorge Polanco collects five hits for the second time this season, Kyle Gibson produces the latest in a line of dominant starts for Minnesota, and the Twins bash four homers to muffle the Blue Jays at Toronto, 9-1, improving to a major league-best 23-12. In eight games thus far in May, Twins starters have a collective 1.42 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.

Polanco is the first American Leaguer to have two five-hit efforts within the first 35 games of a season since the Washington Senators’ Luke Sewell in 1933.

Thursday, May 9
Albert Pujols becomes the fifth player in major league history to reach the 2,000-RBI milestone with a solo homer at Detroit in the Angels’ 13-0 drubbing of the Tigers. The 39-year-old slugger joins Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,214), Alex Rodriguez (2,086) and Cap Anson (2,075) in the 2,000 Club. Also making news on the day for the Angels is ninth-place hitter Tommy La Stella, who enjoys his third multi-homer game of the season with a pair of blasts and four RBIs; La Stella’s nine total homers for the year are already four more than his career high of five for the Cubs in 2017, spread among 125 at-bats.

The ball hit over the fence for Pujols’ 2,000th RBI is collected by a fan who has no interest in giving up the ball for anything. “I’m not in it for the money,” he says, before departing the ballpark early without the ball ever being authenticated. A day later, he’ll change his mind.

While the inclusion of Ruth in the 2,000 Club is a source of controversy because RBIs weren’t “official” until 1920—which “officially” deprives Ruth of 224 RBIs—the case of Cap Anson is more dubious. No doubt a superior talent in his day—he was the first to ever reach 3,000 career hits—it’s pointed out by TGG Twitter follower Chris Shea that 195 of Anson’s RBIs were produced from 1871-75 in the National Association, which is often not considered a “major” league. Additionally, Anson also played in a time when the rules of the game were occasionally a bit different from those of the modern, post-1900 era; Anson played until 1897.

Young Twitter stat hawk Jeremy Frank notes that Pujols has knocked in 18 other runs—but because he did it while grounding into double plays, they don’t count. Pujols, but the way, remains the all-time leader in GDPs with 377.

For the second straight night, a brilliant home run-saving catch serves as a major difference of a ballgame. At Houston, the Rangers trail 4-2 but have runners at first and third with one out in the ninth when red-hot Hunter Pence drills a deep liner to right; Josh Reddick leaps high over the wall to grab the ball and keep Texas from taking the lead. Joey Gallo next strikes out, and the Astros escape with a 4-2 victory.

Though the roof at Minute Maid Park is closed, torrential rains outside penetrates through and sends sheets of water through the cracks here and there throughout the ballpark.

The Red Sox are honored at the White House by President Donald Trump for their World Series triumph of the previous year, but as with most everything Trump, controversy follows. The team’s African-American players (Mookie Betts, David Price, Jackie Bradley Jr.) decline to appear, as do many Latino members; manager Alex Cora, a Puerto Rican native, also declines the invite as a protest of the Trump Administration’s handling of the U.S.-controlled island in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017. Boston-based Athletic columnist Steve Buckley jokes—perhaps—that so many people of color refuse to show, he tweets that it’s “basically the white Sox who’ll be going.”

Friday, May 10
Two teams who got off to totally unexpected starts are back closer to where most people expect them to be. The Red Sox (20-19), who won just six of their first 19 games in defense of their 2018 world championship, are above .500 for the first time this season after clubbing the Mariners at Boston, 14-1, as Eduardo Rodriguez fires seven shutout innings and Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers each knock in four runs. Meanwhile, Seattle (20-21) drops below the .500 mark for the first time this year, having lost 19 of 26 games after a 13-2 start.

Perhaps the New York Mets should hold a pregame meeting before every game. Following a get-together of the team’s top brass to discuss how to energize an offense which has scored 19 runs in its previous eight games, the Mets immediately go out and put up their most productive first inning since 1989, scoring eight times—four on an Amed Rosario grand slam—off of Miami starting pitcher Pablo Lopez. From there the Mets will cruise to a 11-2 home victory over the Marlins.

Tampa Bay loses more than just a 4-3 decision to the Yankees at St. Petersburg. Tyler Glasnow, our pick for the Best AL pitcher in March/April, leaves in the sixth inning with tightness in his pitching forearm; it will later be determined that he will miss roughly a month of action. Glasnow is charged with the loss, his first after a 6-0 start.

Saturday, May 11
For the third time in five games, the Cubs walk off with a home run to victory. It takes them 15 innings today against Milwaukee, as Willson Contreras’s solo homer is the difference in a 2-1 win at Chicago.

Philadelphia’s Zach Eflin earns his second complete game in his last three starts—all other major leaguers have combined for nine so far this season—as he hurls a four-hit shutout, walking none on 110 pitches, to give the Phillies an easy 7-0 win at Kansas City. It’s the second shutout and fourth complete game of Eflin’s career.

After the Giants’ 5-4 home loss to the Reds, veteran pitcher Derek Holland—just demoted to the San Francisco bullpen after a string of subpar starts—sounds off against the front office, stating that a recent hand injury was “fake” and that he has “no idea what (management is) doing.” A day later, San Francisco president of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi denies Holland’s charge. “The guy gets hit by a truck, he can’t walk out on the field,” Zaidi said. “That, I guess, an unequivocal injury, but there’s a lot of gray area beyond that.”

Sunday, May 12
The Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but loses it with one out when the Nationals’ Geraldo Parra doubles; he still gets the win, a 6-0 shutout victory at Los Angeles as he goes eight scoreless. Ryu’s no-no looks to be done in the sixth when Washington starter Stephen Strasburg singles to right—but Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger alertly and quickly throws him out at first before he can reach the bag.

Ryu is the fifth pitcher, post-deadball, to have three straight starts with eight or more innings, one or no runs and four or fewer baserunners.

The Astros finish off a four-game sweep of Texas in demonstrative fashion with a 15-5 drubbing, thanks primarily to the guys batting 1-2 in the order. Leadoff man George Springer goes 5-for-5 with five runs, two homers and four RBIs; Alex Bregman adds a pair of blasts and knocks in five.

Springer has 10 career leadoff home runs against the Rangers; only Rickey Henderson (with 12 against Cleveland) has more such blows against a single team.

Are the Rays so cash-strapped that they can’t even pay the energy bill? In the top of the ninth inning at Tropicana Field, the lights go out—delaying the Rays-Yankees matchup by 43 minutes before the domed facility is fully re-lit. Turns out that the Rays are lacking power of their own, dropping a 7-1 decision to New York as their lead in the AL East drops to only a half-game over the Yankees.

Monday, May 13
Mike Fiers allows a run on two hits over five innings in his first start since throwing a no-hitter, and he’s backed by five Oakland home runs. Sounds like a recipe for victory, right? Wrong. The A’s bullpen, lacking the superiority that thrusted the team to the postseason last year, coughs up a late lead and then another in the 10th as the Mariners rally for two runs and a 6-5 win at Seattle. It’s only the Mariners’ third win in their last 15 tries.

The Angels squeak out a 5-4 win at Minnesota behind the first home run of the year for recovering Tommy John patient Shohei Ohtani—and the 10th by sudden big bopper Tommy La Stella. It’s Ohtani’s first extra-base hit through 24 at-bats since returning to action the previous week.

The White Sox earn a 5-2 decision at Chicago over Cleveland as Yoan Moncada belts two solo homers and Reynaldo Lopez throws 7.2 solid frames, but the news off the field is more grim. It’s announced that two of the team’s pitchers—starter Carlos Rodon and reliver Nate Jones—are both out for the season, as Rodon will undergo Tommy John surgery while Jones has a torn muscle in his pitching arm.

Tuesday, May 14
Whatever Chris Sale was trying to fix after a sluggish start…well, it’s been fixed. The Boston ace strikes out 17 Rockies (walking none) through just seven innings and has his sights on the all-time strikeout record for a nine-inning game—but he’s pulled after the seventh with 108 pitches and a 3-2 lead. The Red Sox bullpen, which could use available free agent (and ex-Red Sock) closer Craig Kimbrel, coughs up the advantage an inning later, and then loses the game at Boston, 5-4, on Mark Reynolds’ RBI single in the 11th.

In his last two starts, Sale has struck out 31 batters—and walked none. The only other pitcher to accumulate that many Ks without a pass over two starts is Dwight Gooden, who struck out 32 without a walk in his rookie 1984 season.

The 24 total strikeouts suffered by Colorado ties a franchise mark—set just last month in an 18-inning game at San Francisco.

After an underwhelming start to a promising career, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally catches fire. In his 14th game, the highly touted slugger belts his first two major league homers, adds a single and knocks in four runs in Toronto’s 7-3 road victory over the Giants. At 20 years and 59 days old, Guerrero Jr. becomes the youngest Blue Jay to go deep, erasing the old record held by future basketball star Danny Ainge in 1979.

The Miami Marlins become MLB’s first 30-game loser on the season, dropping to a 10-30 mark that’s the franchise’s worst after 40 games—yes, even the defending champion Marlins of 1998 were better, at 13-27 on their way to 54-108—as Tampa Bay eases to a 4-0 win at Miami before a sparse crowd of 6,306. Charlie Morton throws six shutout innings and Avisail Garcia has three hits and three RBIs for the Rays.

Young Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias is arrested, booked and released on $20,000 bail after committing domestic battery in a shopping mall parking lot in the Los Angeles area. The team will put the 22-year-old Urias on leave, pending an investigation by MLB.

Wednesday, May 15
Veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson makes it official, making his first appearance for Toronto and thus setting the all-time record for most teams (14) played for in one career, surpassing Octavio Dotel. The 35-year-old right-hander, traded to the Blue Jays last week by Oakland, gets a no-decision after pitching five innings in a 4-3 loss at San Francisco.

The Yankees’ Miguel Andujar, last year’s runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year award, heeds rumor of him being sent to Triple-A and decides to bypass it by undergoing season-ending surgery on his troublesome right shoulder. Andujar appeared in only 12 games and was just 6-for-47 (.128 average) with one RBI and no extra-base hits.

Despite the loss of Andujar and the continued loss of almost every other player from their Opening Day roster, the Yankees continue to roll with a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Baltimore Orioles, 5-3 and 3-1. The Yankees smash four homers in the first game, including two from Gleyber Torres, who has three for the entire day; in the nightcap Domingo German becomes the majors’ first eight-game winner of the year, allowing a run over seven innings.

The youth movement sparks the Braves at Atlanta in a 4-0 win over St. Louis. Austin Riley, making his major league debut after racking up an International League-best 15 homers, goes deep in his second at-bat, and 21-year-old Mike Soroka continues to impress on the mound with seven shutout innings to improve to 4-1 in six starts with an astonishing 0.98 ERA.

Thursday, May 16
A third-inning single by Pittsburgh’s Adam Frazier at San Diego ensures that the Padres will own the second longest streak without a no-hitter, at 8,020 games. The Padres, who defeat the Pirates 4-3, are roughly five-plus years away from breaking the all-time mark held by the Phillies (8,944 games from 1906-64). San Diego has never held a team hitless since its 1969 inception.

The Royals have a 1-0 lead on the Rangers after three innings at Kansas City—and then it’s all Texas from there. The Rangers score at least one run over each of their final six innings, tallying 16 in all to blast the Royals, 16-1. Danny Santana, Willie Calhoun and Joey Gallo each have four hits among 21 total for Texas.

Christian Yelich blows out two more homers—giving him a MLB-best 18 on the year—as the Brewers breeze to an 11-3 victory over the Phillies at Philadelphia. Joining Yelich on the stat parade is Ryan Braun, who has three hits and three runs; in 38 career games at Citizens Bank Park, he’s hitting .417 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs and 45 RBIs.

Friday, May 17
The Cubs get to Washington ace Max Scherzer early and hold on to a slim 3-2 lead after his departure in the sixth—and then they totally ramp it up against an awful Nationals bullpen. Leading the way is Kris Bryant, whose recent red-hot tear intensifies with home runs in each of the last three innings to help Chicago bury the Nationals, 14-6. Bryant is the seventh Cub to have multiple hat tricks, having hit three homers in a 2016 game; he’s only the second player to hit each of his three dingers in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

With 11 innings allowed in three innings tonight, Washington relievers cement their standing as, easily, MLB’s worst with a 6.82 ERA.

In a rematch of last year’s ALCS, the Astros rally for all three of their runs in the eighth off the Red Sox in Boston—with two of those on George Springer’s 17th home run—to give Houston a 3-1 win. Preserving the win with a scoreless eighth is Houston reliever Ryan Pressly, who breaks Craig Kimbrel’s 2011 record for most consecutive scoreless outings with 39. This is Houston’s ninth straight win.

Springer’s 17 homers through the Astros’ first 45 games are the most in franchise history.

Some might remember that Zach Britton (then pitching for Baltimore) set a mark with 43 straight scoreless outings in 2016. Except that was for earned runs; he gave up three unearned runs in the midst of that streak.

The Dodgers’ Rich Hill is magnificent over six shutout innings, become the second player in franchise history over 39 (Dazzy Vance being the other) to strike out 10 batters in a game, while Cody Bellinger maintains his .400 average with two hits including his 16th home run, in Los Angeles’ 6-0 win at Cincinnati.

The last player to bat over .400 no less than 46 games into a season was David Wright in 2012.

Saturday, May 18
After allowing a Citi Field-record 10 runs in his last start against the Mets, Miami’s Pablo Lopez fires seven shutout innings against New York, allowing just one hit, to lift the Marlins a 2-0 victory. Miami has now won consecutive games for only the third time season, and has homered for the first time this month in back-to-back games thanks to Jon Berti’s solo shot. Meanwhile, the Mets have lost 14 of their last 21, drop to 20-24 overall and—because it’s New York—rumors are increasing that manager Mickey Calloway’s job is in danger amid high expectations.

Baseball’s two biggest names bring the hammer to the ballpark. In Philadelphia, Bryce Harper snaps out of a recent funk with a 466-foot home run—the second longest of his career—while Aaron Nola strikes out 12 batters over six solid innings to give the Phillies a 2-1 win. Later out west in Anaheim, Mike Trout outdistances Harper with a 473-foot blow for his 250th career homer in the Angels’ 6-3 victory over Kansas City.

Minnesota blasts away at the Mariners for the third straight day in Seattle, racking up 17 runs through the first six frames before settling in for an 18-4 rout. Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton each knock in five runs, and the Twins overall pound out six homers—tying the Mariners for the most in the majors this season at 87.

It’s the fifth time this season that the Twins have gone deep at least five times in a game. No team has ever achieved that in as many games before June 1.

The Pirates’ Josh Bell, reinvented after a blasé full second season in 2018, hammers two homers and drives in four to give Pittsburgh a 7-2 win at San Diego. Bell’s deuce gives him 14 homers on the year—two more than he hit for all of last season—and he’s already gone deep multiple times in three games, matching the Bucs’ season record for a switch-hitter held by Bobby Bonilla in 1990.

The White Sox win a rain-shortened, five-inning affair over Toronto at Chicago, 4-1. Of note is the appearance of Blue Jays starter Ryan Feierabend, a 33-year-old knuckleballer making his first major league appearance since six relief outings for Texas in 2014—that on the heels of another five-year absence, having pitched for Seattle from 2006-08. Feierabend allows four runs on seven hits in four innings, but officially gets credit for a complete game as the rain falls and the White Sox clinch victory after retiring the Jays in the top of the fifth.

According to STATS, Feierabend is only the fifth pitcher since 1961 to “earn” a complete game on just four innings of work. Sorry, but it just doesn’t sound right.

Sunday, May 19
Houston’s second 10-game win streak of the year is over, as the Red Sox come from behind to edge the Astros at Boston, 4-3. Xander Bogaerts, who ties the game with a single in the fifth, doubles in the eventual winning run in the seventh. For the Astros, the news is potentially worse; George Springer, their hottest hitter, injures his back while failing to connect on a Chris Sale fastball and is listed as day-to-day.

The Astros’ winning streak was their fifth of at least 10 games over the last two-plus years. Only four other teams—the 1929-31 Athletics, 1953-55 Dodgers, 1954-56 Braves and 1976-78 Pirates—have amassed that many streaks in a similar time period.

Hyun-Jin Ryu tosses seven more shutout innings—increasing his current run of consecutive scoreless frames to 31—and lowers his ERA to a major league-best 1.52 as the Dodgers tame the Reds at Cincinnati, 8-3.

The Indians blow past the Orioles at Cleveland, 10-0, behind a dynamite effort from Shane Bieber. The 23-year-old righty joins Dwight Gooden, Kerry Wood and Vince Velazquez as the other pitchers of similar age or younger to throw a shutout while striking out at least 15 and walking none. Bieber allows two hits and throws 107 pitches.

Sandy Alcantara adds to the shutout parade—and the Mets’ weekend of misery—with a two-hit shutout on just 89 pitches in Miami’s 3-0 home victory over New York. It’s Alcantara’s first blanking (and complete game) in this, his 15th start. Among the Mets’ many forgettable moments on the day is a scenario in which Robinson Cano would rather argue with the umpire than run out a dribbler down the line he thinks is foul, leading to an inning-ending double play.

The game takes just one hour and 59 minutes—the quickest NL game since a 2015 contest between these same two teams. The Mets won that game in one minute less, 3-1.

Monday, May 20
Yoenis Cespedes’ long journey back to full strength appears to have just gotten longer. The Mets report that the slugger, recovering from surgery to both of his heels, broke his right ankle in multiple places in an accident at his ranch. Cespedes was hopeful to return in midseason, but this new injury will keep him out of action until 2020; he has only played one game since last May 31.

The New York Post’s Mike Puma has an interesting take, tweeting: “If the Mets go after Cespedes' contract, I was told it's not out of the realm of possibility—depending on how the agreement is written—that Cespedes' agent from the deal would have to forfeit part of his commission. That agent would be (current Mets GM) Brodie Van Wagenen.”

Jake Arrieta makes his first appearance at Wrigley Field since signing with the Phillies in 2018, departing after six solid innings with a 3-1 lead. But he’s deprived of the win as the Cubs rally for three in the eighth to take the lead; it takes solo runs in the ninth and 10 (the latter on J.T. Realmuto’s home run) for Philadelphia to claim a 5-4, 10-inning win.

Arrieta’s lifetime 2.29 ERA at Wrigley is surpassed only by Hippo Vaughn (2.16) among pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched at the fabled ballpark.

The Orioles lead the Yankees at Baltimore after five innings, 6-1—but you know how this story ends, right? But of course you do. New York scores two in the sixth, two in the seventh, one in the eighth and four in the ninth—the last three on Gary Sanchez’s two-out homer—to complete a 10-7 comeback. The Yankees move a game ahead of the idle Rays in the AL East while the Orioles, not surprisingly, are stuck with the AL’s worst mark at 15-32.

Gleyber Torres’ two homers give him 11 in 20 career games against the Orioles. That’s the most by a Yankee in his first 20 games against a single team, matching Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle against the expansion Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) from 1961-62. Torres hasn’t hit more than four homers against any other team.

Yasmany Tomas, who hit 31 home runs back in 2016 for Arizona but is currently toiling in the minors having not played a major league game since 2017, belts four of 10 home runs hit by the Triple-A Reno Aces in a 25-8 home pasting of Tacoma. The 28-year-old Cuban émigré is hitting .311 with 13 jacks in 42 games for Reno.

Additionally, former Cub Matt Szczur hits for the cycle—making it the first time that an organized pro team has benefitted from both a cycle and four-homer performance in a single game since Lou Gehrig (four homers) and Tony Lazzeri (cycle) did it for the 1932 Yankees.

If you think the home run madness is restricted to the majors, you should check out the minors; the two Triple-A circuits (the Pacific Coast League and International League) are both showing a 50% increase in home run totals so far this year.

Tuesday, May 21
It’s bombs away for the Yankees again—and of course, the Orioles are the victim. Baltimore starter David Hess allows three home runs—increasing the Orioles’ total on the year to 100 in this, their 48th game—to give New York an 11-4 victory. It’s the fewest number of games to start a year in which one team has allowed 100 homers—breaking the old mark of 57 by the 2000 Kansas City Royals. The Yankees set the record for the most homers (20) over a five-game stretch on the road.

Justin Verlander allows just one hit—a seventh-inning home run by the White Sox’ Jose Abreu—and strikes out 12 in eight superb innings to give Houston a 5-1 home win over Chicago. The 36-year-old Verlander is 8-1 with a 2.24 ERA, and is second in the majors behind teammate Gerrit Cole with 89 strikeouts.

As awful as the Mets have been of late, here’s the one question that seems to get more traction with each passing day: Where would this team be without rookie Pete Alonso? The 24-year-old rookie’s solo shot in the eighth, his 16th of the year, gives New York a 5-5 tie; an inning later, Amed Rosario wins it for the Mets with an RBI single. Alonso’s homer breaks the Mets record for the most by a rookie before the All-Star Break—and that’s still 47 days away.

Pitcher Carter Stewart, who was the #8 selection overall in last year’s amateur draft but refused to sign after the Braves low-balled him on the signing bonus out of fear he was injured, makes a deal with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks for $7 million. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes, Stewart’s deal could greatly impact the future of the draft—and the minor leagues—because it provides a more lucrative opportunity on two fronts. One, Stewart’s $7 million deal with the Hawks is more than he’ll likely make as a minor leaguer (signing bonus included), and two, by becoming a free agent for MLB at an earlier age. This will certainly give pause to other stateside collegians and high schoolers who don’t look forward to toiling in a minor league environment with beneath-minimum-wage pay and endless bus rides from Nowhere to Nowhere.

Wednesday, May 22
The Bronx Bombers continue to bomb away at Baltimore. In a 7-5 victory over the Orioles, the Yankees belt five more home runs—two off the bat of Gleyber Torres, who’s hit 10 of his 12 this season against Baltimore pitching. Gary Sanchez adds his 15th of the season, and ninth against the Orioles. The Yankees thus set another record, this time for most consecutive road games (six) with at least three homers.

Torres is the fourth player to have four multi-homer games against one team in a season, joining Ralph Kiner (1947 vs. the Braves), Gus Zernial (1951 vs. the Browns—later the Orioles), and Roy Sievers (1955 vs. the A’s). He’s hit eight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2019; that’s two shy of the all-time mark by a player at a visiting park, held by the Tigers’ Harry Heilmann in 1921 at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.

The Orioles surrender five homers for the seventh time this season, already setting an AL record before even a third of their schedule is complete. The major league record is nine.

Just two weeks after crushing the fourth ball to land in the Allegheny River on the fly in PNC Park history, Josh Bell does it again—a 454-foot bomb that makes him the first player with multiple shots directly into the drink. But it’s not enough for the Pirates, who easily fall to the Rockies by a 9-3 count.

The White Sox clean the bases both offensively and defensively at Houston in a 9-4 victory over the Astros. Charlie Tilson hits a grand slam, Eloy Jimenez crushes two solo homers, and the White Sox’ defense turn four doubles plays and the majors’ first triple play of the season in the third to help decide the game in their favor.

This is only the fourth time in the last 50 years that a team has turned a triple play and hit a grand slam in the same game.

With both Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil going on the disabled list, the Mets make a last-minute call to 38-year-old veteran outfielder Rajai Davis to get his rear end quickly to New York. But Davis is in Allentown, Pennsylvania with the Mets’ Triple-A team (Syracuse) and the only way he can get to Citi Field in time to participate in the Mets’ evening game with Washington is to hail an Uber—a very fast Uber. Two hours, 20 minutes and $283.26 later, Davis arrives shortly after the start of the game and enters as a pinch-hitter in the eighth—when he belts a three-run homer to cap a six-run rally and give New York a 6-1 victory over the Nationals.

For all of his efforts, Davis will be sent back down to the minors a few days later. At least he gets the Mets to pay for his Uber bill.

Thursday, May 23
The win-with-a-bludgeon Twins hit a franchise-tying eight home runs for the second time this year—they had only done it once before 2019—and enhance their major league-best record to 33-16 with a 16-7 blowout of the Angels at Anaheim. Minnesota’s latest outburst includes two homers apiece from Jonathan Schoop (his fourth multi-homer game of the season) and Miguel Sano. The Twins lead the majors with 98 homers, on pace to obliterate the team record of 267 set last season by the Yankees.

The White Sox’ Lucas Giolitto, whose 6.13 ERA in 2018 made him our choice for the AL’s Worst Pitcher of the Year, has very obviously turned things around in 2019. The 24-year-old right-hander dials a four-hit, 4-0 shutout of the potent Astros in Houston, throwing 107 pitches—82 for strikes. After nine starts this season, Giolitto has a 6-1 record and 2.77 ERA.

The Marlins are figuring out that home runs = wins. Down 2-1 in the ninth inning at Detroit, rookie Garrett Cooper—who hit his first career homer the night before—hits his second, a grand slam that propels Miami to a 5-2 victory. It’s the Marlins’ sixth straight win, a streak in which they’ve hit a total of eight homers—all after hitting just one in their previous 12 games, 10 of which were losses. The Tigers, meanwhile, have dropped nine straight—and that doesn’t include a game held up by rain against the A’s in which they were trailing.

The Braves’ Life of Riley continues. At San Francisco, rookie Austin Riley connects on a two-run, game-tying homer in the eighth—his fifth in just nine games since being called up—and in the 13th drives home the winning run on a single to give Atlanta a 5-4 victory. No player in Braves franchise history has as many round trippers in as few games to start a career.

Friday, May 24
Cavan Biggio, putting up minor league numbers (.307 average, six home runs and 26 RBIs through 42 games) like his Hall-of-Fame father Craig Biggio, is called up to debut with the Blue Jays. He joins recent call-up Vladimir Guerrero Jr., thus making the duo the first pair of teammates whose fathers were both Hall of Famers. Neither do well in a 6-3 loss to San Diego, combining to go 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.

The Astros hold on to defeat the visiting Red Sox, 4-3, but Houston reliever Ryan Pressly sees the end of three impressive streaks on one swing from Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr., as his leadoff homer in the eighth ends Pressly’s run of 37 straight games retiring the first batter, 39 straight scoreless innings (an Astros record), and 40 straight appearances without allowing a single run, an MLB record. The more concerning news for the Astros in that inning is that George Springer, in his first game back after a five-day absence, aggravates his left hamstring chasing a foul ball and will likely go on the injury list.

In the Brewers’ 6-4 home loss to Philadelphia, Christian Yelich becomes the first player this season to reach 20 home runs with a solo shot in the third inning. It’s the earliest (by date) anyone has reached that figure since Josh Hamilton in 2012.

Arizona repeatedly hammers away at Giants pitching, becoming the first team since the Diamondbacks themselves back in 2000 to score multiple runs in each of six consecutive innings during an 18-2 drubbing at San Francisco. It’s also the most runs they’ve ever scored on the road; Ildemaro Vargas has five hits including one of four Arizona home runs. While the Diamondbacks are busy hitting, Arizona outfielder Tony Locastro is busy getting hit, as he’s plunked three times by Giants pitchers. Locastro has seven HBPs so far this season—in just 29 plate appearances.

Saturday, May 25
The Padres smash a team-record seven home runs as they annihilate the Blue Jays at Toronto, 19-4. Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe each send two over the fence for San Diego, which has won five straight games.

Before the month of May is even over, there has already been a record number of games (five) in which a team has hit at least seven homers.

Here’s one way for the Nationals to overcome the problems of their awful bullpen: Don’t use it. Patrick Corbin sees to that against Miami, tossing his second career shutout with a 5-0 four-hitter.

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s scoreless innings streak ends at 32 when the Pirates rally for two runs in the second, but they’re the only two tallies allowed by the right-hander over six innings as the Dodgers cruise to a 7-2 victory at Pittsburgh. No home runs for the Dodgers, but eight of their 13 hits do go for doubles.

Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli departs the game with a concussion after getting hit on a backswing, but he actually doesn’t leave until an inning later—prompting Pirates GM Neal Huntington to publicly suggest afterward that MLB should look into changing concussion protocol so that any player who may have such an injury can be checked out quickly—and then be cleared to return to the game, even if he’s been replaced. Only problem with that: A team could conceivably game the system and take a player out for strategic purposes—claiming he has a concussion—and then bring him back when they need him.

A day after Cavan Biggio’s debut, another legacy prospect makes his first major league appearance as Mike Yastrzemski—the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski—becomes the umpteenth player to take left field for the Giants, who gets pounced on again by the visiting Diamondbacks, 10-4. Yastrzemski is 0-for-3 and scores a run after getting hit by a pitch; he was hitting .316 with 12 home runs in 40 games at the Triple-A level.

Yastrzemski will make himself a candidate for the Kangaroo Court the next day when he gets his first of three career hits on the day—but gets picked off first when he rounds the bag too far.

Sunday, May 26
Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff concedes just one hit over eight innings to the Phillies—a leadoff homer in the sixth by Andrew Knapp—and strikes out 10 without a walk to give the Brewers to an easy 9-1 victory at Miller Park. Woodruff helps his own cause at the plate with two hits and two RBIs, making him the first Brewers pitcher ever to collect more hits than he allows.

The Phillies’ Bryce Harper strikes out in all three of his at-bats and is hitting .227 for the year with an MLB-leading 73 Ks. Is buyer’s remorse possibly setting in at Philadelphia?

It’s a good day to have a fever in Minnesota. Jake Odorizzi (5.1 innings, one hit, nine strikeouts) and outfielder Max Kepler (double, home run, four RBIs) both excel despite being under the weather, and the Twins roll to a 7-0 shutout victory over the White Sox in front of 39,913 fans who’ve attracted a case of Twins Fever. It’s the largest crowd at Target Field since Opening Day 2016, watching a team that’s won six straight, owns the majors’ best record (36-16), leads all teams with 104 homers and holds a more-than-comfortable 10-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central.

Monday, May 27
Bill Buckner, who racked up 2,715 career hits over a 22-year career from the 1969 Dodgers to the 1990 Red Sox—but will always be remembered for committing baseball’s most celebrated gaffe—passes away at age 69 after a battle with dementia. A career .289 hitter, Buckner won a batting title for the 1980 Cubs (hitting .324), twice led the NL in doubles and three times knocked in over 100 runs—and he always made contact, rarely walking or striking out; he was K’d multiple times in 45 games, but never once struck out three times. Yet Buckner’s claim to fame—or infamy—is his mammoth error for Boston in Game Six of the 1986 World Series, when he let a ball go right through his legs and allowed the winning run to score for the Mets—extending the series to a seventh game won by New York. Buckner was heavily villainized over the next few years by Boston fans, but as time heals all anger, the “Billy Buckshoes Boot” took on a pop-cultural reputation as people began to proverbially slap Buckner on the back armed with nothing more than a joke and a smile; Buckner himself profited from the error, making lucrative fees at baseball card shows, and appeared in a 2012 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm in which he stumbled into a comical repeat of his erroneous play with Larry David and “friends.” (Contains profanity; parental discretion advised).

The Mariners, who after a hot start find themselves in last place in the AL West, snap a six-game losing skid at Seattle with a 6-2 victory over Texas. Greatly contributing is Mallex Smith, who ties a team record with four steals including a swipe of home.

The A’s win their 10th straight game—a suspended 7-5 lead at Detroit a week earlier notwithstanding—for their longest streak since 2006, an 8-5 win at Oakland over the Angels.

A battle of aces in Los Angeles somewhat underwhelms as neither the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw nor the Mets’ Jacob deGrom are ace-like—but they’re not bad, either. What is bad is the Mets’ bullpen, which fails deGrom after leaving with a 2-2 tie in the sixth as the Dodgers pile up six runs on their way to a 9-5 victory. Cody Bellinger slams his 19th homer and makes two assists from right field, as fans begin to chant “MVP.”

Tuesday, May 28
Freed from the quiet gloom and voluminous room of Miami’s Marlins Park, Derek Dietrich continues to show he’s a totally new man in Cincinnati. The 29-year-old outfielder racks up three homers and six RBIs in leading the Reds to an 11-6 home victory over Pittsburgh. With 17 homers, Dietrich tops his career season high of 16 set last year with Miami, in 499 at-bats; seven of his big knocks have come against the Pirates.

The Rays top the Blue Jays, 3-1, to stay on pace for 100 wins near the one-third mark of the year—but apparently few in St. Petersburg care. The crowd of 5,786 at Tropicana Field is the lowest ever for a Rays game, and is the smallest crowd this year in the majors—yes, even the lowly Marlins haven’t drawn that small a gathering, officially.

A new ballpark couldn’t come any sooner for this franchise—and even then, we’ll wonder if it will be enough to save this franchise in Tampa-St. Pete.

Eddie Rosario’s seventh-inning home run caps a five-run, ice-breaking frame and sets a new monthly record for the Twins, who defeat the Brewers at Minnesota, 5-3. The Twins’ 56 homers in May breaks the old mark of 55 set in August 1964. Devin Smeltzer tosses six shutout innings in his major league debut for Minnesota but gets a no-decision.

The Cubs smack five round-trippers at Houston, and that’s still not enough as they go down against the Astros, 9-6. With Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa all absent with injury, Alex Bregman picks up the slack for the Astros—as he has all May; his two homers give him a franchise-record 12 for the month.

The Cubs have gone deep 21 times over the last seven games—but have won just two of them.

Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera’s bad start to 2019 just got worse—off the field. The 27-year-old outfielder is arrested at an Atlantic City casino after allegedly beating up his girlfriend; the force of assault is reportedly so brutal, his handprint is left on the victim’s neck. MLB will place Herrera on leave while they investigate the incident under their domestic abuse policy.

Wednesday, May 29
Chicago’s 2-1 victory at Houston is overshadowed by a horrifying moment in the fourth when the Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. lashes a line drive in the field-level seats down the left-field line,—beyond the extended protected netting—and strikes a young girl in the head. As the girl is quickly led away conscious but in extreme pain, Almora Jr. breaks down into tears and is consoled by teammates and, later, security guards after he goes out to check on the condition of the girl. As for the game, Kyle Hendricks earns the win and becomes the first pitcher since Clayton Kershaw in 2016 to have four starts in one month throwing eight-plus innings while not allowing more than one earned run.

The news on the condition of the girl was said to be “positive” and that she is expected to be fine.

All major league ballparks have extended their netting past the dugouts, but this incident leads to calls for them to extend them even further, all the way to the foul poles. It would be easy to say, “Everybody should just keep their eyes on the action,” but that’s just not going to happen in an environment when focus is split between the game, the scoreboard, the cell phone and the food you’re eating. Bottom line, you’re not entirely safe, no matter where you sit. Ask the relatives of the lady struck and ultimately killed by a foul ball sitting in the second deck at Dodger Stadium last summer. Heck, ask me about the woman who was smacked in the ribs by a Pablo Sandoval batting practice home run in Scottsdale, Arizona a few years back.

After scoring five runs over the final two innings the night before to secure a comeback victory, the Indians keep the momentum up and score in the first seven frames at Boston, defeating the Red Sox by a 14-9 count. Carlos Santana is a single shy of the cycle, going 4-4-3-5 in the box score with two walks.

This is the first time a visiting team has scored in nine straight innings at Fenway Park.

The Mets take an 8-3 lead to the bottom of the seventh at Los Angeles, but the Dodgers roar back with single runs in the seventh and eighth, and then four in the ninth off closer Edwin Diaz to secure a 9-8 victory. It’s the first blown save for Diaz after 35 straight conversions on the road.

A couple of home run marks are set in the game. Mets rookie Pete Alonso bangs out two to total 19 on the year—tying Mark McGwire’s first-year record for the most before the start of June. The Dodgers’ Joc Pederson will later ignite the game-winning rally in the ninth with a solo homer, his 16th of the season—all from the leadoff spot to set another mark before June 1.

Thursday, May 30
The Cardinals foil the Phillies’ bid to complete a three-game sweep at Philadelphia with a 5-3 victory, but the silver lining for the Phillies is that Bryce Harper appears to have reawakened. The pricey megastar doubles twice and singles, finishing the series with eight hits—six for extra bases—in 12 at-bats to jump his season average from .227 to .252.

The Angels throttle the reeling (nine losses in their last 10 games) Mariners at Seattle, 9-3, with help of one Cesar Puello, who for the second straight game since being called up has three hits and a home run—something never done before by a rookie playing his first two games of a season. Granted, it’s not his first action at the big league level; he played 17 games split between the Angels and Rays in 2017, but still technically qualifies as a rookie.

Friday, May 31
It’s a good night for major league legacies—and offense in the first inning—at Baltimore. The Giants score five runs in the top of the first, as Mike Yastrzemski (grandson of Carl Yastrzemski) contributes with a triple; he’ll hit his first career homer an inning later. But the Orioles say “hold my beer” and get six in the bottom of the first, four on the first career grand slam for Dwight Smith Jr. The Orioles settle in for a 9-6 win.

It’s the first time since a Yankees-Red Sox game on July 6, 2012 that both teams scored five or more runs each in the first inning.

The Rockies barely give the visiting Blue Jays a chance to take in the mile-high air at Denver as they pile up 10 runs over the first three innings en route to a 13-6 drubbing. Trevor Story has the big night for Colorado, dropping two home runs, a double and a career-high seven RBIs on Toronto.


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