What’s Happening in Baseball Today
The First Pitch: July 5, 2022
The Chicago White Sox and MLB mull postponing the team’s scheduled contest at Guaranteed Rate Field against Minnesota in the wake of America’s latest mass shooting, in which a gunman open fired on a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, killing six and injuring 30. But the decision is made for the game to go on, albeit without a planned postgame fireworks display.
While the crowd of 32,000 is disappointed (though understanding) of the fireworks cancellation, it’s still treated to an exciting contest, as the White Sox try to make a dent in the divisional lead of the first-place Twins. Chicago ties a taut game at 2-2 in the seventh on a Yoan Moncada single, but a chance to blow the game open collapses when A.J. Pollock next sends a deep fly that’s caught in front of the right-center field fence by Byron Buxton—and the two runners on base (Moncada and Adam Engel), believing the ball would drop or clear the wall, are both doubled off to result in the 39th triple play in Twins franchise history. (It’s the 22nd triple play the White Sox have hit into.)
Moving onto into extra innings, the Twins get the gift runner home, followed by three others, in a four-run 10th; the White Sox get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the frame, but can only score once as they succumb to Minnesota, 6-3.
The triple play is said to be the first ever scored 8-5 (center fielder to third baseman).
Though there’s a whole half-year of play to go in 2022, it’s clear that the AL’s top rookie in the season’s first half is Seattle Julio Rodriguez. The 21-year-old center fielder belts his 15th home run to help the Mariners take an easy 8-2 win at San Diego. Having already swiped 20 bases to lead the AL, Rodriguez is the first MLB player to go 15-20 through his first 81 career games; Ellis Burks had previously done it in his first 82 games.
Congrats, Your Box Score Line Was the Best (Hitters Edition)
4-2-2-2—MJ Melendez, Kansas City
Playing in the place of injured star catcher Salvador Perez, the relatively slim (185 pounds) 23-year-old rookie punched out a pair of solo homers to give the Royals breathing space at Houston, before the bullpen imploded and allowed the Astros to take a 7-6, walk-off victory. Melendez has eight homers in 52 games this season.
Congrats, Your Box Score Line Was the Best (Pitchers Edition)
8-4-1-1-0-4—Cole Irvin, Oakland
The 28-year-old lefty, unable to nab a win in his last four quality starts, finally got over the hump by quelling the potent Blue Jays in Oakland’s 5-1 home win. It was Irvin’s first victory since May 22; he’s 3-6 overall, with a very respectable 3.35 ERA.
It Was Whatever-Something Years Ago Today
1947: Three months after Jackie Robinson’s debut, Larry Doby becomes the first African-American to play for an American League team when he strikes out in a pinch-hitting appearance in Cleveland’s 6-5 loss to the White Sox at Chicago.
1991: The National League announces the addition of two new teams: The Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins.
2002: Ted Williams, the last man to hit .400, passes away at the age of 83. Although his health had deteriorated over the past few years, his outspoken character had not—continuing to offer impassioned opinions about baseball.
2004: The Dodgers’ Eric Gagne blows a ninth-inning lead against Arizona, a game ironically won by Los Angeles in 10 innings, 6-5. Gagne’s blown save ends a record streak of 84 straight successfully converted saves.
Shameless Link of the Day
The June Comebacker is live! Check out our daily recap of the month that was, plus our picks for the month’s Best and Worst!
You Say It’s Your Birthday
Baltimore outfielder Austin Hays is 27; Angels megastar Shohei Ohtani is 28; Minnesota infielder Jorge Polanco is 29; 14-year reliever Tim Worrell is 55; Hall-of-Fame closer Goose Gossage is 70; 1973 NL Rookie of the Year Gary Matthews is 72. Born on this date is 1965 AL Rookie of the Year Curt Blefary (1943) and 161-game winner Bump Hadley (1904).