Baseball in 2020 has been quite the experience. Seven inning doubleheaders are now a thing. The standings probably won’t look normal at any point this season. The Miami Marlins might be good?
We are about a quarter of the way through this wacky 60-game MLB season. The league’s batting average (.233) has never been lower. The strikeout percentage (23.6) has never been higher. As Rob Arthur notes, the baseball itself has changed again.
The ball is different, again! This time it has been dejuiced, so we're back to roughly 2018 levels of air resistance. This helps explain why offense is down–we would expect HR to drop by 10% or so with an increase in drag of this magnitude. https://t.co/gMjG4OvnZy pic.twitter.com/gMCc2LHGXn
— Rob Arthur (@No_Little_Plans) August 7, 2020
Things are strange these days. Let’s acknowledge the weird things that happened this week.
Last Tuesday, in a game between the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates, a drone appeared to be flying over Target Field. Why? Who knows.
Classically on Twitter though, this event produced some unoriginal jokes that many people used and used again.
“Give Trevor Bauer his drone back!”
“Is this a new way for the Astros to cheat?”
Low hanging fruit aside, this was just straight-up unusual. Perhaps a fan used their drone as a way to spectate the game live. Nevertheless, the game was delayed 10 minutes or so until the remote-controlled aircraft eventually flew away. It had overstayed its welcome. During the delay, players had fun pretending to shoot the drone down.
The Twins won the drone game 7-2.
Mike Trout is now a father. Congratulations to him! In his first game and at-bat back from paternity leave last Tuesday, Trout did what he does best by hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners. His career line against the Ms now stands at .324/.427/.648.
The Angels won this game 5-3. Trout has now homered six times in his past seven games.
One of those home runs came on his 29th birthday this past Friday against the Texas Rangers.
Although the Angels could not get him a birthday win (losing 4-3), Trout now has five career birthday home runs. He is one away from tying the Major League record. I’d imagine that he’ll get another 10 or so tries at tying and eventually breaking that record.
I’d also imagine that it’s probably a bit sad for all of those non-summer birthday baseball players that will never get the chance to homer on their birthday. Then again, those players probably don’t mind not working on their birthday, either.
What a start
This past Saturday, the Pirates hosted the Detriot Tigers. Derek Holland made the start for the ole Buccos. The first batter of the game was Nike Goodrum.
After Cabrera, it was CJ Cron.
Following Cron, Jeimer Candelario got his chance.
Those four home runs and five runs total came on 11 pitches. Holland was in disbelief. As someone who was watching the game live, I too was in disbelief. Somehow, Holland lasted five-plus innings in this game. The Tigers would win this game 11-5.
Oh no, Jo…
Jo Adell was called up to the Los Angelas Angels this past week. As the number 14 overall prospect on the FanGraphs 2020 Top 100 board, the expectations are high for this 21-year-old outfielder. With a big combination of speed and raw power, Adell has an extremely high ceiling. Adding him to the core of Trout and Shohei Ohtani is exciting for the playoff-starved Angels.
Like I said, though, he is just 21. Mistakes are expected of such an inexperienced player. Sadly for Adell, he committed one of the most embarrassing mistakes possible this past Sunday in a game against the Rangers. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nick Solak hit a towering fly ball to the warning track in right field. Adell raced under the ball in a somewhat uncomfortable looking route and attempted to make the catch. Instead, this happened:
Sadly for Solak, he was not credited with a home run. The Rangers won this game 7-3.
Channeling my inner 50 Cent
Everybody remembers 50 Cent throwing what might be the worst first pitch of all time a few years back. What if I told you that a similar pitch happened in a real game? By a real professional? What if it happened twice in one week?
On Sunday, Richard Rodriguez threw this pitch.
It seems as though Rodriguez got his heel caught in the ground amid his stride as he attempted to plant his foot to throw the pitch. This was the result. It was a tie game in the eighth inning when this happened. The runner at first base easily advanced to second. The hitter, Miguel Cabrera, would then hit the go-ahead single to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. They would win by that score.
This next pitch came Thursday in a game between the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles.
See if you can spot the balk pic.twitter.com/9m004BDBCd
— David Adler (@_dadler) August 7, 2020
It seems as though pitcher Wade Leblanc decided that he wanted to attempt a pickoff throw at second base. But then, at the very last moment, he must have changed his mind. This was the result.
Was this the greatest balk of ever seen or not a balk at all? You be the judge.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)