I can’t quite believe how much I am enjoying what is the strangest baseball season of all time. The Marlins are the best team in the league, the exciting young guns on the South Side of Chicago are looking like the real deal, and the Oakland A’s have won seven straight to put themselves in the driving seat in the AL West. Oh, baby!
Friday had me loving the game in many more ways too. Here are the best bits you may have missed.
Zack Greinke Could Be The Only Reason To Like The Astros
Yesterday, Asher Dratel showed us what cool looks like with Zack Greinke in complete Zen-mode on his off day in Arizona. Well, the Houston Astros veteran took the mound last night in Oakland and put on a masterclass, allowing just five hits over six dominant innings with one walk and five strikeouts. And it was his approach both on and off the mound that got people talking.
Here he is at the top of the 1st, psyching himself up as Chris Bassitt pitches for the A’s. Just brilliant.
This could be the best walk to the mound of all time, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, and not to mention every fan’s dream, I am sure.
Greinke then starts by doing something quite remarkable – signing his pitches to Martin Maldonado behind the plate in full view of the hitters. Marcus Semien had already been confused by Greinke calling two fastballs, and at the start of the clip below you can see from afar the Astros pitcher waving up to his face to signal the next pitch. Semien decides to take a time out to wonder what on earth is going on.
Not that Greinke is bothered by it. He then signals for a curve that Semien can only pop up to the first baseman. You gotta love it!
Greinke continued to distance himself from his teammates by returning to the stands in between innings to “spend time with the fans” for the duration of his outing. We love you, Zack!
Zack Greinke, keeping the fans company during his start pic.twitter.com/cxjA7mCIev
— David Adler (@_dadler) August 8, 2020
Happy Birthday, Mike Trout
It has been quite a week for the best player in baseball (don’t @ me!) – Mike Trout was hitting a measly .211 with just four hits through the first five games, with a home run off Mike Fiers his only meaningful contribution to start off the year. He then went on the paternity list as his wife, Jessica, gave birth to their first child, a boy named Beckham.
When he returned he looked like the big fish we all know and love – four home runs and seven runs batted in across four games, including this monster today, which happens to be his birthday!
— Anaheim Sports (@AnaheimSports1) August 8, 2020
Happy Birthday, Mike!
Is Brusdar Graterol A Jedi?
“Use the Force, Lu…Er…Brusdar” – to be fair the man has a name that belongs in the Star Wars universe, and last night he gave us reason to believe that he could have the ability to become a Jedi. Check out the mind-control on this flyball…
Brusdar Graterol using his magic powers to help the ball make it over the edge pic.twitter.com/QZnWJxTLR5
— Hannah (@heyimhannahlee) August 8, 2020
The Force is strong with this one!
The Phillie Phanatic Outdresses Bryce Harper
You may remember Bryce Harper won the “Best Dressed On Opening Day” competition by a country mile, paying homage to his team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic.
The perfect suit doesn't exi— pic.twitter.com/uOIvrtVZsX
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 24, 2020
…inclusive of fur cleats, don’t forget.
Cleats with the fur. pic.twitter.com/hc4evwPmm0
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 24, 2020
Well, the Phanatic returned the favor today in some style.
The perfect suit doesn't exi—
Wait, have we done this before? pic.twitter.com/xpcl3UCraK
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 7, 2020
This is the kind of fan engagement during COVID that we are here for.
Trevor Bauer Is So Good He Deserves His Own Chest Thump
The outspoken gift to baseball that is Trevor Bauer is having himself a memorable start to the 2020 season, up there in the Shane Bieber category for sure. Bauer demolished the heavy-hitting Brewers line-up today with ease, allowing a mere three hits over six innings with a nasty 12 strikeouts.
Trevor Bauer through his first 3 starts of the 2020 season:
19.1 IP, 0.93 ERA, 100.0 LOB%, 40.6 K-BB%
Shane Bieber through his first 3 starts:
21.2 IP, 0.83 ERA 100.0 LOB%, 40.5 K-BB%
— Max Goldstein (@MaxSportsStudio) August 8, 2020
Bauer is clearly enjoying himself, too, oozing self-confidence and that “I feel good” vibe.
Trevor Bauer, Disgusting 79mph Curveball…and chest pounding K strut. 🤮 pic.twitter.com/dJuJOKCdS9
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 8, 2020
His stuff has been electric for far. As have his moves across the mound.
Birdland Is A Fun Place To Be Right Now
Every Baltimore Orioles fan was dreading the start of the baseball season. It feels like we have been saying that for a while, right? The shortened season seemed to provide some light relief for some fans as they thought, “well if it is going to be so bad, at least it won’t be for too long.” Clearly the coaching staff and players had other ideas. Fresh off an awful 108-game losing season, they currently sit a very respectable 6-7 and tied for second place in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays.
And last night they made history…
The @Orioles, who lost 108 games last season, blanked the defending champion Nationals 11-0 tonight.
That's the largest shutout win by a team off a 100-loss season against a defending World Series champion in MLB history.#Birdland
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 8, 2020
Now, that is a pretty remarkable statistic that nobody (and I mean, nobody) would have thought possible at the start of the year. The Orioles’ social media team couldn’t help themselves and retweeted this old Ken Rosenthal tweet from last year.
That wasn’t a baseball game. That was an exorcism.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 2, 2019
Seriously though, hats off to the Orioles. And no player has characterized their self-belief more than Renato Nuñez, who hit this monster homer at the top of the sixth inning to give his team a commanding 7-0 lead.
If One Image Could Sum Up 2020…
We feel you, Bo!
2020 baseball, man pic.twitter.com/Rg2sP2eXji
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) August 8, 2020