“He's going to have nights where he makes outs”-- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly when asked about the red-hot Cuban rookie, Yasiel Puig 's "struggles" after an 0-4 night last Wednesday.
Puig turned his first week in The Show into the National League player of the week with a .464 batting average, 4 home runs and 10 RBI.
Welcome back to our scheduled programming. After a few days off and a rather lengthy, somewhat depressing post about the Biogenesis scandal (that you can catch here) we are back to our recaps. Which for myself, is a welcome change from being stuck on airplanes with no WiFi while guys are almost throwing no-hitters and Cuban rookies are mashing home runs.
Today we've got the hottest story in baseball. Because I have a finite amount of time that I get for a lunch break to blog about baseball today, I'll just show you this:
Hearing the normally stoic Vin Scully go bananas is also something.
The only person who hates Yasiel Puig right now is Fidel Castro
The Dodgers outstanding rookie is only a week into his major league career and is already drawing comparisons to Josh Hamilton (the 2010 version of Josh Hamilton, don't worry) and Bryce Harper. Before we get ahead of ourselves with the kid only a week into his big league career, we should probably also admit that while the Dodgers are just a terrible, terrible franchise to pick out as your favorite team, this Puig guy is pretty special and Don Mattingly seems like a genuinely nice guy that's trapped in a bad situation while Magic Johnson ignores their struggles and watches the NBA playoffs. He's obviously got talent, he seems to have put any off-field concerns and while he won't bat above .400 the rest of the regular season (unless you're reading a bunch of Dodgers blogs right now...which you shouldn't) he's a fun player to watch right now and more importantly, he's responsible for this shirt:
Let's all sit back and enjoy the Legend of Yasiel Puig while we can.
One more thing about Biogenesis...
Our post with the most traffic and hits since the blog's inception, unfortunately happened to be about the ongoing steroids scandal and the Biogenesis clinic. (Here it is again, if you missed it.) Since then, there have been conflicting reports and much new information that will no doubt need to be confirmed and corroborated. But this new piece of information is slightly disturbing:
As many as 90 players have been named in the Biogenesis Clinic records, according to a baseball official that spoke on condition on anonymity. 90 players is a lot any way that you look at it, and it would easily be the biggest steroid scandal in American professional sports.
Let's hope none of that is true. Because right now, it's easy to be a cynic.
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A closer that looks more like a Phish fan than a baseball player gets busted for weed. Surprised?
The outspoken Cleveland reliever was probably told to "chill" after making controversial comments about everything from ownership, to the Cleveland fans, the GM and even the Kansas City Royal, which like, no one, cares about the Kansas City Royals. Well, Chris Perez is now being accused of taking the "chill" part very literally.
Perez and his wife were accused last week of marijuana-possession charges after authorities found about a third a pound of weed in a package addressed to his dog. Yeah, you read that last part right....his dog. So if there are twenty eight g's in an ounce and there's about five and a third ounces in a third a pound. If we're talking dro and not swag, then the approximate street value of a third a pound of weed is $2,984, right? Right?
I think I'm talking too much. But either someone got an address every wrong, Perez is straight up doping in a non-Biogenesis way, his wife is the Cleveland version of Nancy Botwin or that's the smartest damn dog I've ever seen. Either way, reports indicate that charges of this nature will carry little more than a fine and possibly an MLB treatment program which would like, have to be the worst thing in the world, right?
Hey, hey, hey, hey...just chill, Chris Perez. Just chill.
Teheran flirts with no-no while yours truly is stuck on a plane
One of the many reasons I decided to go in with MLBTV is because I did not want to miss the season's first no-hitter/perfect game. Normally when I fly, I try to take advantage of WiFi and shell out the couple of bucks it costs to enjoy a couple hours of in-flight connectivity. Since I'm both addicted to the Internet and love wasting my discretionary income, this method seems to work out.
But on Wednesday of last week, Julio Teheran of the Atlanta Braves was mowing down hitter after hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates and was literally in the 6th inning of a no-no when the flight stewardess politely asked me to turn my "electronic device" off.
There are a few problems with that. First of all, I really do not believe that electronic devices have anything to do with interfering with plane signals. I honestly think that every single passenger could be making a phone call at the same time while the plane attempts to land and we would land safely a hundred times out of a hundred times. I refuse to think that a multi-million dollar aircraft could be brought down because a few people want to use Instagram to take pictures of clouds from their window seat.
Secondly, I realized that the plane did not have WiFi and for every second I missed, I would also potentially miss the first no-no of 2012 and was at a point in the game where every pitch was pivotal. Fortunately for me, this happened:
Just like I envisioned it. The music was a little weird but watching the standing ovation that Braves fans gave Teheran was pretty cool. The righty is only 22 years old and I'm guessing that won't be his last no-hit bid as the former top prospect continues to break out this season.
Timmy Lincecum doesn't suck for once
Former back-to-back Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum took a small step to getting back on track last week against the Blue Jays. Step #1, get your ERA under 5.00. Tim was able to do that and more by holding the Jays to just three hits in a home start, going seven strong innings to get his first win since May 15th, not coincidentally his only other good start of the year.
If the Giants can get Tim out of his funk...that would be pretty good.
Right now the Giants sit two games back in the NL West behind Arizona, who had a crazy rally of their own last night against Puig's Dodgers. The Dodgers are starting to make a habit of wasting good Clayton Kershaw starts which is not a good way to get back into the race to take the NL West, no matter how many times Yasiel Puig goes yard. Lincecum's next start comes this evening against the Pirates, which leads us to our next segment...
WELCOME TO THE SHOW, GERRIT COLE
The Pirates top pitching prospect and the number one draft pick of 2011 will make his MLB debut tonight against the aforementioned Lincecum. Cole has a towering stature at 6'4 at 200 pounds and went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in Triple A, Indianapolis this season. It couldn't work out better for the Pirates, who are looking for their first playoff berth since...well, can anyone remember without heading to Google? Cole figures into a injury-depleted rotation and by waiting till June, the Bucs avoid the dreaded Super 2 arbitration status which is apparently a big deal for teams not from New York, Boston or Los Angeles. Cole is also rumored to be dating the sister of Giant's shortstop Brandon Crawford, so I really hope he beans Crawford his first at-bat and yell, "THATS NOT THE ONLY CRAWFORD I'M GOING TO NAIL TONIGHT!"
Injured Aces: Cueto and Strasburg have terrible lats
The Nats and Reds both put aces back on the DL last week. Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto were placed on the 15-day DL with lat strains. Both had bullpen sessions and neither went well. While Strasburg's injury history is well documented, Johnny Cueto has already missed a month with the same problem earlier this year. Both pitchers were having pretty good seasons before last week.
In 12 starts this year, Strasburg has gone 3-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 74 1/3 innings. Before the injury, he had allowed just four earned runs in his previous five starts and 30 innings. Cueto has gone 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in six starts and 37 1/3 innings this year.
Reds pitcher Pedro Villarreal had all of one inning of major league experience before making a spot start for the injured Cueto, who we just talked about. Troy Tulowitzski welcomed him back to the majors with two home runs. But not so fast! Teammate Carlos Gonzalez nailed three (!) of his own by the end of the day as the Rockies routed the Reds.
In the end, it was 12-4 and the five home runs by the two hitters may wake up the rest of baseball and notice the Rockies that are only two games out of the NL West race and can hit outside of the comfy confines of Coors Field. When this lineup is on, it can compete with anyone, even if they are pushing out Jon Garland to start.
We've seen some weird things happen in the past week when it comes to the upcoming MLB All-Star game at CitiField. From Justin Verlander bidding to get into the home run derby and then allegations of ballot stuffing by Giant's fans. And then there's the other errors that come with letting fans choose who plays. Carlos Gonzalez sits at 7th behind an outfield led by Justin Upton who had a hot April but has hit two home runs since then.
You can head over to MLB.com and vote for the Astro's Rick Ankiel, but will fail to notice that Ankiel was designated for assignment and picked up by the Mets. Meanwhile Evan Gattis and Gerado Parra (2nd in NL in WAR) can't be found anywhere. So if we going to go ahead and trust fans that apparently haven't realized that Matt Kemp isn't good this year and couldn't explain WHIP if you spelled out the acronym for them, why not choose Munenori Kawasaki. I can't give many reasons why a utility guy that's hitting .202 with no home runs and a .272 slugging percentage deserves to be an All-Star except for maybe this one:
Why not? Right? Do it now before someone that hasn't realized Mark Teixiera has been hurt all year votes to send another Yankee to the ASG. I'd take a million Kawasaki's over one New York Yankee.
Just because I can. Screw the Tribe.
No wrap would be complete without the traditional:
Today, we've got Miguel Cabrera's best hit of the year ● Marlon Byrd ups the Bambino by one ● Matt Moore finally loses ● Ike Davis: human disaster. Now Vega's problem ● Ryan Braun hurt ● Kung Fu Panda hurt ● Brandon McCarthy Hurt (kinda) ● Clay Buchholz hurt ● Ian Kinsler still hurt ● So is Hanley Ramirez (quit killing my fantasy baseball team) ● Solution: Send A-Rod to Japan ● And Joe Maddon's ready to rumble with John Lackey
Thanks for tuning in baseball freaks...since I haven't been with you in a while, here's Kate. See you later this week: