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Cole, Yanks are First to Fifty
The Yankees entered Monday night’s clash with the Rays as the only MLB team with 49 wins this season. By the time it ended, that was no longer the case. After another capital “D” Dominant performance by Gerrit Cole, the A.L. East leaders cruised to the half-century mark with a 4-2 victory.
Cole carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Isaac Paredes broke it up with a single. Check out all 12 strikeouts from his special night:
Full steam ahead for the Cole Train. 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/1SjR002kiO
— MLB (@MLB) June 21, 2022
Unfortunately for Cole, he was lifted with one out in the eighth after 111 pitches. Worse still, his replacement—Yankee closer Clay Holmes, he of the 31-consecutive-shutout-innings—promptly allowed his first run in two and a half months, and the Rays tied the game.
Fortunately for Holmes, it’s still the freakin’ Yankees—and they were more than happy to pick him up. Aaron Hicks’ titanic triple would prove the decisive shot:
Hicks in the nick of time 🔥 pic.twitter.com/JLSV5NFsvX
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 21, 2022
Fifty wins on June 20th. What else is there to say?
Cruz Control: Rookies Power Pirates Past Cubs
At long last, the wait is over. Oneil Cruz is a big-leaguer. Pittsburgh’s top prospects finally joined the club on Monday, hitting sixth and starting at shortstop in his Major League debut. Suffice it to say, he looked ready…
3 innings into his 2022 debut, @Pirates' Oneil Cruz has registered:
🏴☠️The hardest throw by an infielder in @MLB this year (96.7 mph)
🏴☠️The hardest hit ball of the year by a Pirate (112.9)
🏴☠️The 3 fastest sprint speeds of the year by a Pirate (31.5, 30.7, 30.3) pic.twitter.com/nScTK5mD4A
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 21, 2022
If you haven’t seen it yet, this laser throw may have been the most impressive thing he did:
So: ONeil Cruz has been back up for about 25 minutes. He's already got the hardest tracked throw by an infielder of the season (96.7). I think that's going to work. pic.twitter.com/0vOCbs6BVo
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) June 21, 2022
The Pirates would go on to win 12-1 over the Cubs, their highest scoring total of the season. But it wasn’t just Cruz making things happen; another Pirates rookie, Bligh Madris, put on a show in his debut as well:
Bligh Madris with a 2-run single in his first career at bat! @FarmToFame_ pic.twitter.com/riYxPnWqwm
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 20, 2022
Madris finished the game 3-4 with a run and a pair of RBIs, while Cruz went a paltry 2-5 with four ribbies and two runs scored. These kids are alright, indeed.
Dodgers bring back Thompson in Trade with Tigers
Following Mookie Betts’ departure for the injured list, it was no secret the Dodgers needed to add outfield depth. They wasted little time doing so, announcing a trade for Detroit minor-league outfielder Trayce Thompson on Monday night.
Trayce is back.
Here’s a first look at him in his new cap. pic.twitter.com/ewcYOgbtUT
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 21, 2022
If the name sounds familiar, it may be because Thompson played for the Dodgers as recently as 2017. It may also be because his brother, Klay, has a bit of a following up north in the Bay Area. Regardless, he’s expected to fill a platoon role for the N.L. West leaders for the time being.
There’s no word yet on the status of L.A.’s other rumored trade target, utility infielder Graymond Dreen. (Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted! Get it? Posted? Okay, I’m done now.)
Best Moments from Monday
Kid at Heart
Before we move on entirely from the aforementioned news items, one more word on Cruz. And that word is love, as in the emotion that fills my brain when I watch this video. And no, I don’t even care if he was thrown out:
Oneil Cruz is having so much fun out there. pic.twitter.com/EVklllrz0J
— MLB (@MLB) June 21, 2022
Meanwhile in Atlanta, the defending champs welcomed the San Francisco Giants to town for the first of a four-game set. That meant Joc Pederson was back in the house where he helped make magic last October—and you better believe he was ready to celebrate:
Matching Pearls 🤝 Matching World Series Rings
(via @BravesOnBally) pic.twitter.com/T4OmZXwKTu
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 20, 2022
With lefty Max Fried on the mound, Pederson didn’t start. But he came up to pinch-hit in the ninth (in a tie game, no less) and received quite the welcome from the Atlanta faithful:
Standing ovation for Joc Pederson back in Atlanta, even with a tie-game in the 9th 👏
(via @BravesOnBally) pic.twitter.com/dZzbjTG6wN
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 21, 2022
Must be the pearls. Joc knocked a single to left, and nearly came around to score the game-winning run; but Kenley Jansen worked out of the jam, saving his team a chance to walk it off in the bottom, and saving the fans from having to confront that awkward conflict of emotions. Everybody wins! (Well, except the Giants.)
There were a number of unusual outfield interruptions on Monday, beginning with a balloon on the field in New York:
.@Marlins outfielder Bryan De La Cruz has had his hands full today! #MakeItMiami pic.twitter.com/WBN0keAGf2
— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) June 20, 2022
Most days, it’s hard to
pop top that. But most days, you don’t see a SQUIRREL on the field:
squirrel went absolutely nuts 🐿️🔥
(via @WatchMarquee) pic.twitter.com/Ya4HWe65tc
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 20, 2022
What’s next? A troupe of clowns on tricycles? Oh wait, that’s already the Phillies’ defense…
Boston Veteran Affairs
The Red Sox hosted an unexpected reunion on Monday as Manny Ramirez received his franchise Hall of Fame plaque from an old friend, David Ortiz, who surprised him on the mound. The two of them together no doubt brings out all the feels for Boston faithful:
Manny being Manny with a side of Papi. pic.twitter.com/XiRxj98XNf
— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 20, 2022
Still, we probably should’ve anticipated some hijinks would follow:
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez FaceTimed Kevin Millar while he was in the Red Sox booth 🤣 pic.twitter.com/4SJ07n7VW4
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) June 20, 2022
Never change, Big Papi.
Two notable names hit the injured list on Monday in Aaron Ashby (forearm inflammation) and Yoán Moncada (hamstring strain). Not to mention, a pair of Rays OFs—Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot—are likely to join them soon.
However, the news isn’t all bad. Tim Anderson made his return after three weeks with a groin injury, going 2-5 with a run in Chicago’s 8-7 win over the Blue Jays. Max Scherzer is healing as well, with his rehab assignment expected to begin tomorrow. Now if the Mets can only retrieve Jacob deGrom from the pits of Tartarus, they might really be in business.
Articles You Should Read
What’s Behing Yankees Catcher Jose Trevino’s Offensive Breakout? – Jake Mintz, Fox Sports MLB
Historic Negro League park in Hamtramck comes back to life – Jason Beck, MLB.com
Lorenzo Cain and the hidden history of his mad dash in the 2015 ALCS – Andy McCullough, The Athletic
Fantasy Baseball Coverage
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)