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La La Land More Like DING DONG CITY
The 2022 MLB Home Run Derby field is set 💪
◽️ Pete Alonso
◽️ Ronald Acuña Jr.
◽️ Albert Pujols
◽️ Juan Soto
◽️ Julio Rodríguez
◽️ Kyle Schwarber
◽️ José Ramírez
◽️ Corey Seager pic.twitter.com/QYkdR3xMUq
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 14, 2022
While I am tempted to do a “One of these things is not like the other…” singalong here, it may be foolish to presume that Albert Pujols doesn’t have enough left in the tank to put on up at least a decent showing against BP balls.
Either way, this is a pretty fun lineup. There were rumors that Giancarlo Stanton asked to join the fun, which would have been amazing (he is, after all, the only human to actually hit a home run entirely out of the stadium) but maybe it’s for the best that he get a few extra days of rest.
Pete Alonso has already confirmed that he’ll have Dave Jauss dealing for him again, so he’s gotta be the odds on favorite to win it:
Pete Alonso says he’ll be in the Home Run Derby again (obviously) and his pitcher will be Dave Jauss.
Jauss asked for “two pots of coffee for before and a case of Bud Light for after and he said he’s good to go,” Alonso said.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) July 11, 2022
But for my money, I’m rooting for Julio Rodríguez. You love to see a rookie sensation pad out his resume like that, plus he’s fun as heck to watch and gotta be on the shortlist for handsomest man in general, right? Meanwhile, let’s see if Juan Soto can use the event as another springboard to a monster second half. It’s far too late for my fantasy team where I took him 1-1, but it would make me feel better nonetheless.
No matter who wins, though, we all win because dingers, baby.
I feel like The Death Of The Starting Pitcher has been a little bit exaggerated and we’re seeing a real return of The Workhorse this season, and here’s an example:
15 straight quality starts. pic.twitter.com/85AbMpw0Et
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 15, 2022
That’s 15 straight QSes out of 18 games started this season! Framber currently has the third highest innings pitched and the 13th best ERA in the sport (2.66), so he’s not going going out there and putting up the bare minimum every turn through either. The road to the World Series still goes through Houston, and well, if you were wondering why…
Oneil Cruz is incredibly fun to watch. He’s one of the only people in baseball who makes Aaron Judge look normal by height comparison, he plays SS, he hits Stantonian laser home runs, and oh also he’s got an absolute howitzer for an arm:
This Oneil Cruz 97.8 MPH missile is the fastest throw by an infielder in the entire Statcast era! 🚀👽🛸 pic.twitter.com/YobvdgkWLB
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) July 14, 2022
Cruz was only called up in late June and I feel like this is already the third time he’s set this record. I got the first baseman job on my work softball team because I don’t try to get out of the way of any ball thrown my way, so I guess I can kind of relate to Yoshi Tsutsugo and Michael Chavis as they have to mentally prepare to be an impromptu catcher without any of the protective gear. Except you know, Cruz throws dummy hard and I’m mostly just screwing up blocks and scoops. Still, respect for the 1Bs out there.
Best Moments From Yesterday
Sly Young Repeat?
I was giddy at the chance to award Nestor Cortes the Sly Young Award for his 2021 season, and I think he may be well on his way to winning a second one. He’s had some bumpy starts in the most recent stretch but last night he went 7IP with 1ER against the admittedly not terrifying Reds (we shan’t talk about the outcome of the game.) And he did it with stuff like this:
Nestor brings the funk 🕺 pic.twitter.com/jJKGOg8uDT
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 15, 2022
Truly, a man committed to the art of pitching, ABBA may actually have written Dancing Queen about Nestor, but had to change the pronouns so that people didn’t know they were time travelers. I’m so happy he’s an All-Star.
Nestor’s leg kick wasn’t the only thing doubling up in an odd way last night though, as Jonathan India does one of my favorite feats of batting prowess and hits the ball twice on one swing:
Jonathan India hits the ball twice in one swing 🤯
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) July 15, 2022
India ended up keeping that second one straight and true enough to turn it into a single, too!
A Grab And A Giveaway
There’s been (correctly, I should add) a big deal made about the fielding prowess of Fabian, the Cubs secret weapon outside of the lines in Chicago, but last night a nameless hero in Toronto made a pretty spectacular grab on a rocket foul ball:
give me that! pic.twitter.com/jmjCdwhnFm
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 15, 2022
The slo-mo is really impressive, the jump is impeccably timed, and he transitions immediately into the “Here kid, it’s yours!” like a consummate pro. You love to see it.
Another Thursday night round-up, another inside-the-parker. I’m sure it’s just confirmation bias but I feel like I’ve written up an almost inordinate amount of these…
Sam Haggerty is speed 🏎️💨 pic.twitter.com/LG285vtLAU
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 15, 2022
And it’s another one from the M’s! Well this is kind of a classic whoopsie LLHR as the ball simply…goes right past Leody Tavares who gets a little hung up in between on a rapidly dropping liner. Then it’s off to the races and like atMariners says: Sam Haggerty is speed. The M’s have now won 11 in a row and are sitting one game up in the WC race. Heck of a thing.
Nature Is Beautiful
Speaking of the Cubs, the denizens of the Wrigley Bleachers are really something else, and the SNY booth went on a field trip to speak to one of them about their native reptilian life:
“Basically the 8th, Steve.” pic.twitter.com/4iwUbLW5t6
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) July 15, 2022
It’s low-hanging fruit to point out how utterly trashed Jake is, but I want to instead focus on his utter professionalism in this segment given that fact. The easy rapport with Stevie Gelbs, the incredible rescue that is “Basically the 8th, Steve” and the general stamina and coordination required to both assemble and care for a snake of that size.
I am docking points for the guy in the Red Sox hat at a Mets/Cubs game who needs to make sure everybody knows he’s in a Red Sox hat, but that’s not Steve or Jake’s fault, so it’s more of a note than actual criticism. Never change, Chicago fans.
- Shane Baz is out for at least 8 weeks with an elbow sprain
- Luis Severino has a low-grade lat strain and is on the 15-day IL
- Jon Berti has a mild left groin strain (he’s still listed as DTD as of this article being submitted)
- Michael Brantley is going back to Houston for further evaluation on his shoulder
- Evan Longoria should be back this weekend
Articles You Should Read
What Separates Spencer Strider From Hunter Greene – Justin Choi, FanGraphs
What You Need To Know About Statcast Bat Tracking – Mike Petriello, MLB.com
Fantasy Baseball Coverage
Reliever Ranks (Closers) (Holds)
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)