The Trailing Runner: April 24-April 30

Breaking down the biggest baseball stories of the past week.

Every Sunday, The Trailing Runner recaps the past week’s biggest headlines and most exciting performances. On Mondays, keep an eye out for The Leadoff, which breaks down the week ahead.

 

Megill Leads Combined No-Hitter

 

For the second time in less than a week, a pitching staff combined for nine no-hit innings. This time, the lineup had their back. Just days after the Rays lost their no-hitter in the 10th, the Mets were able to finish the job in the ninth thanks to three runs from their offense.

Starter Tylor Megill led the way, going five innings with three walks while striking out five. Drew Smith followed, striking out all four hitters he faced. Joely Rodríguez and Seth Lugo handled the seventh and eighth innings before closer Edwin Díaz struck out the side in the ninth. The final line: no runs, no hits … and six walks.

In fact, the Mets’ combined command issues added a layer of rarity to an already-historic night. While their collective performance completed the 315th no-hitter in MLB history, it was just the 17th to include six or more walks, and the very first combined no-hitter with that many walks. It also featured the highest pitch count (159) of any no-hitter since at least 1987.

 

Off the Field Drama

 

Two of this weeks biggest storylines occurred outside the foul lines. The biggest, of course, was the news of Trevor Bauer’s 324 game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy. Steve Drumwright wrote about the story — including Bauer’s response — in an article earlier this week, which you can find here.

In a very different legal context, the U.S. Second Court of Appeals denied a request by the New York Yankees that would prevent an infamous 2017 letter regarding sign stealing practices from going public. That letter, addressed to GM Brian Cashman from Commissioner Rob Manfred, was released on Tuesday to much anticipation. Ultimately, the document revealed little new information. The Yankees had, the investigation found, inappropriately used the dugout phone to relay information on opposing team’s signs, a practice that had been long suspected. Doing so, Manfred wrote, “constitutes a material violation of the Replay Review Regulations.” The New York Times covered the story, including detailing why the Yankees’ punishment differed so drastically from that received by the Astros and Red Sox (the short answer: the stopped when they were told to).

 

Ward and Rizzo Rake, While Acuña Returns 

 

  • While “slugging Angels outfielder” generally signals another player, this week that moniker belongs to Taylor Ward. A former first-round pick who has never played more than 65 games in a season, Ward made full use of his playing time this week, slashing .403/.500./1.038 with four home runs and 12 RBI. After homering twice versus the Guardians on Monday, he somehow bested himself two days later, finishing a single short of a cycle with four RBIs (and adding a walk for good measure).
  • Across the country, Yankee first baseman Anthony Rizzo can’t stop hitting home runs. He added five this week, including three vs. the Orioles on Tuesday night, and now leads the majors with nine. Rizzo certainly seems to be enjoying his new contract keeping him in the Bronx with its infamous short porch — in his three-HR game, two landed in the generously near right field seats, including one with an expected batting average of .010.

 

  • Ronald Acuña Jr. made his triumphant return from injury this week, hitting a single and stealing two bases as Atlanta beat Chicago on Thursday. Acuña, who tore his ACL last summer, hadn’t played since July 10. While obviously healthy enough to hit, it appears he’ll be splitting time between right field (his true position) and designated hitter as he gets back up to speed. Regardless, Atlanta must be happy that their superstar is back in the lineup — they’re currently mired in fourth place in the NL East.

 

Around the League

 

  • The Yankees sit atop the AL East and pace the American League at 15-6. The Twins are the best team in the Central at 12-9. The Angels lead the West at 14-8.
  • The Mets pace the NL East at 15-7, tied for the best record in the NL with Brewers, who lead the Central.  In the West, the Giants are a game up on the Dodgers at 14-7.

 

 

Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Ethan McCollister

Diehard Red Sox fan. Vermonter in Philly. Harvard alum. Cat dad. In Chaim we trust...but I miss Mookie.

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