Everyone is enjoying baseball right now…apart from maybe the Cardinals (sorry, people of St. Louis). So let’s dive right in – here are all the wonderful tidbits you may have missed from Saturday’s slate of games.
Hungry For Homers
There are moments in the sport when you realize something special is happening, and after the week that San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has had you might have to forgive me for not announcing this sooner – it is quite clear now that he is a star in the making. Cut4, Major League Baseball’s official light-hearted arm, caught this wonderful shot of a young man on the verge of stardom.
Yes, indeed he is. pic.twitter.com/cHJwprLiR8
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 9, 2020
The Dominican showed flashes when he came up last year, socking 22 home runs in just 84 games. This week alone he has been sensational, so much so he currently leads all of baseball in WAR.
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s week so far…
Friday: Leadoff HR
Today: Leadoff HR pic.twitter.com/w2o174ueXS
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 9, 2020
Yesterday’s leadoff home run had all the hallmarks of greatness – preparedness, presence at the plate, supreme self-confidence, impressive power, and the ability to jump on bad pitches early to set the tone for the team.
Next up for Tatis Jr. is another shot into the record books.
Fernando Tatis Jr. needs two more leadoff home runs to match Will Venable's club record. Venable played 918 games for the Padres. Tatis is playing in his 99th.
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) August 9, 2020
Worst Way To Lose A No-No
San Francisco Giants fans, look away now! There is no nice way to put this, and we all feel very sorry for Johnny Cueto, who is attempting a renaissance this season. Today, he came pretty close. The Giants starter, who is in his 5th year of a massive $130 million contract, had held the Dodgers without a hit through 5 impressive innings yesterday.
And when he forced Enrique Hernández to sky a ball high into left field, he was probably thinking about his next pitch to continue his quest for a no-hitter. What happened next, was most unfortunate.
Hunter Pence ruins Johnny Cueto's no-hit bid by losing a fly ball. pic.twitter.com/oMM5EeMmGC
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 9, 2020
Left field was a very lonely place after that for Hunter Pence. I cannot think of many worst ways to lose a no-hitter. Send us your thoughts to @Pitcherlist on Twitter. Hide behind the mask, Hunter. Sorry, pal.
Switch Pitcher Alert
Miami Marlins pitcher Pat Venditte has probably been talked about a bit too much for a 35-year-old reliever with a career -0.4 WAR and 5.03 ERA. However, he can do something that is not only extremely rare but also pretty cool for us glorious many who love the art of pitching – he can switch pitch! Here we go…
🎵 I know a right-handed pitcher named Pat Venditte / I know a left-handed pitcher named Pat Venditte 🎵 pic.twitter.com/eTwwpcyoan
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 9, 2020
Venditte had a pitching glove specially made, which you get to see a glimpse of in the next clip. The technique is effective too. Here is the glorious double-play he forced in the 8th-inning.
Ok, maybe I am going overboard now. Venditte is, as Pitcher List staffer James Schiano pinned him, “an ambidextrous unicorn” and he should be treasured in the pitching world. Sarah Langs set the right tone.
Baseball is the best! pic.twitter.com/dbjHCdmVXb
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) August 9, 2020
Snellzilla Can’t Look At Judge
There was some fascinating banter around the Rays and Yankees series this weekend, which pitted Rays ace Blake Snell against Yankees star Aaron Judge, who leads all of baseball with 7 home runs and 17 runs batted in so far this shortened-season. Apparently Snell has an issue facing Judge, here is why…
Blake Snell on Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/BlE4Lyhf0K
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 7, 2020
I wonder what it is about that laugh. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Blake Snell told me he can’t look at Aaron Judge because Judge will smile at him… here’s the smile.
— Kailey Mizelle (@KaileyMizelle) August 7, 2020
Snell obviously kept his eyes from being distracted by Judge’s wily charms as he recorded two strikeouts against him over the weekend. Here is the second of those, finished off by an absolutely nasty 82 mph curveball low and inside.
Mets Disco Dugout
It has not been the start of the season the New York Mets had wanted after an offseason of confusion, yet optimism. After newly hired skipper Carlos Beltran was relieved of his duties due to being caught up in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, the appointment of the popular Luis Rojas seemed to have steadied the ship somewhat. But this week, the oft-maligned culture around the club reared its ugly head once again when Yoenis Céspedes went AWOL, and then later opted out of the season.
Another disappointment has been the play of last year’s National League Rookie of the Year, Pete Alonso. The “Polar Bear” was batting a miserly .204 with just a single home run over the first 14 games going into yesterday’s game against the Miami Marlins. He also led the league in strikeouts with 21, ouch! Maybe this will help him turn the tide…
It certainly lifted the mood among his teammates, who were clearly happy that he broke his run of 41 at-bats without a long ball, breaking into a disco-like hedonism to greet Alonso back to the dugout. The Mets went on to win 8-4 and take their record to 6-9, still 4 games back from the Marlins in the NL East.
The dugout after Pete's home run 🤣 pic.twitter.com/iTgbJLhUMF
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 9, 2020
Oh, What An Interview!
The Oakland Athletics won their 8th straight game yesterday, and their second in a row against AL West nemesis the Houston Astros. It was all on the back of a phenomenal performance from rising star Frankie Montas, who went 7 innings allowing only 2 hits and punching out 5. Here is his nasty slider to dispose of Alex Bregman early on.
During the 2nd inning, the NBC Sports crew and former Athletic great Dallas Braden conducted an in-game interview with manager Bob Melvin where they discussed not only Montas, but the great start the A’s have made, and what kind of positive effect that has had on the roster. Well, it was clear to see there and then as a section of A’s players seated in the stands gave the manager a rousing ovation for presumably giving a great interview.
— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) August 8, 2020
Daily Pitcher Chilling In The Stands Segment
It has become a regular talking point on our Discord (which you can enjoy as part of the Pitcher List + membership) channel as a somewhat trending phenomenon – pitchers mulling around in the stands on their own in varying states of mood. Today’s example comes courtesy of Phillies ace Aaron Nola, who nonchalantly kicked back whilst watching his team cruise to a 5-0 shoutout win over the Atlanta Braves in impressive fashion.
Aaron Nola is an Entire Vibe right now pic.twitter.com/VR547rG8cp
— T.G.K. (@TangoGolfKilo) August 8, 2020