Another week of baseball is in the books and the Marlins are still in first place thanks to their sterling, league-leading .857 win pct. Billy the Marlin will thank you to not look into how many games they’ve played at this time.
We’ve gotten to see some 7-inning doubleheaders (and those Marlins sure have a bunch to come later,) and the official game slate from MLB every day features some kind of Dark-esque time loop shenanigans if you look at the postponed games, but everything seems to have reached a point of weird normality when it comes to being able to watch this stuff every day. Even seeing the same 3 ads over and over on MLB.tv is strangely comforting. I’m not alone in that, am I?
Freeland Busts Out And Chaos Reigns
Kyle Freeland walked off of the mound today in the top of the 7th, before any Giant had dug in to face him.
It appeared to be a hardware malfunction as his belt doesn’t seem to be cooperating, but nobody else seemed to get the memo, setting off a delightful sequence of confused umpire meetings, bullpen calls, and generally looking around shrugging.
Yency Almonte saw that his team’s starter had exited and jogged out to the mound where he was immediately and visibly confused by all of the sudden commotion
…and was quickly directed back to the pen before he even toed the slab and threw a warm-up.
Over two minutes after Freeland disappeared down the tunnel, while SF manager Gabe Kapler and coach Ron Wotus were seeking an explanation from the umpires, Rockies manager Bud Black came out onto the field to generally sum up how we all felt by this point:
Followed shortly by Freeland himself, who seemed to confirm it was an uncooperative belt that had caused the whole brouhaha. And that’s why you always leave a note!
Freeland got two quick outs and then served up two singles (one of them a flare from Pablo Sandoval, himself no stranger to ill-timed belt trouble) and a three-run shot, which was clearly avoidable for a veteran manager like Bud.
Freeland's broken belt was a bad omen. Bud Black's been around long enough he should've known better than to leave him in.
— Michael Baumann (@MichaelBaumann) August 6, 2020
I do also have to ask: how is it that Gabe Kapler seems to always find himself right in the middle of these types of bullpen miscommunication fiascos?
Almonte wasn’t the only pitcher who went through all the trouble to jog out to the mound and get nothing to show for it. In Atlanta, Jacob Waguespack got introduced on the FOX feed, and then promptly exited the game because well, listen:
The Alternate Site already brings to mind top-secret government labs, so the fact that Waguespack could exist there and at Truist Park simultaneously seems to mean an experiment was a success, right? Or does all of this mean that he technically doesn’t exist anymore? If people can exist in two places, does that mean Gabe Kapler is behind this one too?! The truth is out there.
Sanó Definitely Broke Something
I don’t want to let pitchers have all the fun today, so let’s talk about a batter seemingly breaking some physical laws here (or at least some stadium hardware,) as Miguel Sanó hit the loudest homer I’ve heard in a long time:
Today in home run calls: "That one broke left field." pic.twitter.com/lfwnLiluFp
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 6, 2020
The empty stadiums have certainly changed what “The Sounds Of The Game” means this year. According to Statcast the exit velocity off of Sanó’s bat was a cool 114 mph, part of me still thinks it’s more like Mach 1.
Olson’s Power ‘Stache
Speaking of power, Matt Olson hit 2 home runs on Wednesday and followed it up with another yesterday during a 6-4 victory over the Rangers. As soon as he got back to the dugout, he made sure everybody knew from whence his ability came:
And his teammates in the stands made sure they let him know that they were in on the secret, too.
I’ve had a beard for several years now but I haven’t swung a bat since growing it, but clearly I need to go see how hard I can hit the ball at this point.
Ohtani Still Armed And Dangerous
As I’m sure we all know by now, Shohei Ohtani recently had some arm pain, underwent an MRI, and was diagnosed with a strain of the flexor pronator mass, which will end his year…as a pitcher.
But since Shohei is no mere human, it only took him four days to get back into the lineup as a DH, hitting cleanup of course, and then he did… well, he did this:
Ohtani returns to the lineup.
Ohtani homers. 💪 pic.twitter.com/5Us4CYS9qK
— MLB (@MLB) August 6, 2020
You know, just a casual 351 foot oppo blast with an injured forearm. No big deal. He doesn’t even need a mustache.
Stay Safe, To Whit: Wear A Mask
And continuing with the home run theme we have going, Whit Merrifield launched a two-run shot to left field in the second inning of the Cubs vs Royals game and made sure to demonstrate zealous mask form as he got props from his teammates in the dugout.
I do have to point out that high-fives are still against the rules though, guys!
Technically Wade LeBlanc got himself called for a balk during his start against Miami last night:
See if you can spot the balk pic.twitter.com/9m004BDBCd
— David Adler (@_dadler) August 7, 2020
I mean, technically he balked something like three separate times in this one video clip before deciding he could probably get away with it by “delivering” the pitch to the plate at the end there.
But personally, I think this is just him working on his own way to mess with timing, a la Johnny Cueto. Umpires can’t expect a guy to nail it on their first try, even Cueto sometimes looks like he’s at risk of toppling when he really gets into it. Just keep practicing, Wade.
Yelich Nets Himself A Home Run
It’s no secret that Christian Yelich has gotten off to quite a slow start this season, but there’s nothing like a homer to break you out of slump…even if it’s an inside the parker. He dropped a bloop with a ton of english on it right near the outfield line at Guaranteed Rate Field, and Eloy Jiménez found himself tangled up as he tried to field it.
Every inside the park HR involves a defensive miscue to some degree though, and what really caught my eye about this one is that Yelich cleary thought Eloy was going to turn this one into an out, which resulted in by far the most relaxed run I’ve ever seen on a ball that didn’t leave the yard.
I feel like he barely turns it on until maybe rounding third.
The Greinke Zone
And now, your moment of zen
This is what heaven looks like for Zack Greinke.
Chilling at a baseball game…and doesn't need to talk to anyone. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/ACGkrj6GhQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 7, 2020