Mike Trout, Jesús Luzardo and the New Bash Brothers? Around the Diamond in MLB Week 5.
Also, surprisingly, this April was actually historically rough on MLB hitters
After Jacob deGrom and Fernando Tatís Jr. went nuts on the diamond last week, a different set of weekly stars emerged this week in Major League Baseball. And we’ll get to them.
But, we’d be remiss if we did not pay tribute to the Philadelphia Phillies fan who snagged a foul ball that left the bat of Michael Conforto of the New York Mets at 97 MPH during the seventh inning of Sunday Night Baseball.
Sitting in seats down the left-field line, the fan caught the ball Conforto hit on an 0-2 pitch bare-handed out of the air with his right paw … and didn’t spill the ice cream he was holding in his left.
As A-Rod said during the ESPN broadcast, “Get that fan a contract.”
Now, onto the actual baseball players who starred in MLB’s fifth week of play, along with a surprising stat to emerge regarding the recently-completed first month of the season.
Though his teammate Shohei Ohtani, who was scratched from his scheduled start on the mound on Monday, has been getting the majority of the attention thus far this season, Mike Trout has been doing what he usually does: putting up MVP-caliber numbers.
Largely considered to be the best all-around player in baseball, Trout is leading MLB in batting average at .413 and just had the best-hitting April (1.304 OPS) in the history of the Angels franchise thanks in large part to his OBP (.515) and slugging percentage (.775).
Trout is off to the best star of his exceptional career, at least in terms of batting average.
As for Ohtani, he’s 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA while striking out 23 and walking 13 in three starts for the Angels as a pitcher. As a batter, the two-way star is batting .263 with eight homers, 20 RBIs and a career-best .606 slugging percentage.
Between Ohtani and Trout, maybe the Angels will actually make the playoffs — and perhaps even win a series.
After pitching three innings and allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits against the Orioles in an 8-4 loss to Baltimore on Saturday, Oakland Athletics left-hander Jesús Luzardo underwent X-rays on his left hand. Even worse for the 23-year-old is the way he suffered the injury, as it wasn’t while he was on the mound. Far from it.
As it turns out, Luzardo broke his pinkie when he thumped a table while playing a video game before his start against the O’s, Oakland manager Bob Melvin revealed to the media.
“Before the game he was playing a video game and accidentally bumped his hand on the desk as he was playing the game,” Melvin said. “He came in, was a little bit sore, training staff checked him out, we threw him in the cage before he went out there, watched him warm up. He was comfortable pitching, the training staff was comfortable with him pitching. After the game we got an X-ray and there was a hairline in the pinkie finger.”
Off the mound indefinitely (and possibly off of video games as well), Luzardo is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA over six starts this season.
A.J. Pollock and Matt Beaty
In a 16-4 beatdown of the Brewers, A.J. Pollock and Matt Beaty of the Dodgers combined to drive in 15 runs, knocking in eight and seven respectively.
Just the sixth pair of teammates to knock in at least seven runs in the same game in MLB history, Beaty and Pollock were the first pair of Dodger hitters to do it.
In the first two innings of the bombing of the Brewers, Beaty and Pollock each had a grand slam. Making the Grand Salamis even more special? Both of them came with two outs.
Prior to Pollock and Beaty breaking out in grand fashion, the Dodgers had managed just seven runs total while losing the first three games of the series in Milwaukee.
Making his major league debut, Milwaukee’s Alec Bettinger was on the receiving end of the offensive explosion as he was rocked for 11 runs on 11 hits and two walks in four innings.
“I think we did a good job of making it tough on him,” Pollock said. “For sure, it’s a tough game. I feel for him a little bit. But we needed that one. I’m sure facing this lineup is a tough first game for anyone.”
The Month of April
To the casual baseball fan, April certainly seemed like a pretty good month at the dish for MLB’s hitters.
But, as the numbers bear out, April has actually a historically bad month at plate for hitters.
Last month, major league batters hit just .232 overall, down from .252 two years ago and well under the record low of .237 set over the. season in 1968 that resulted in a lower pitcher’s mound, per ESPN.
“It’s the pitching,” is how one GM explained it. “Pitching is too good. It’s simple. Name me any innovation or any evolution of the game that’s happening right now. Every single one favors the pitchers.”
With an average of 9.06 per team per game, strikeouts are also on pace to set a record for the 13th consecutive full season. In April, there were 1,092 more strikeouts than hits, just three years after punchouts exceeded hits for the first time over a full season.
Already a mother of four and the executive director of a foundation that works to improve the lives of inner-city kids, Amber Sabathia has another job to do: Major League Baseball agent.
Sabathia, the wife of former MLB pitcher CC Sabathia, has joined the baseball arm of Creative Arts Agency (CAA), the company announced on Monday on Twitter.
“Having a front row seat alongside CC’s career throughout the past two decades provided me with critical insight and experience in business, marketing and philanthropy,” Sabathia said in a statement. “I recognize my unique ability to support, advise and lead all facets of the process with players and their families. After considering my options, I know through the support of the team at CAA Sports, the best in the industry, I will be able to fulfill my potential and help shape the next generation of great athletes.”
Best of luck, Ms. Sabathia.
Note: All statistics and streaks current as of Monday evening, 5/3/2021.
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