The Show: Pace Car Edition

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On this week’s The Show, we took a look at a few guys
having spectacularly good (or bad) seasons and projected their numbers
for the entire year. Despite a slump, is Ian Kinsler on pace to have one of the greatest seasons ever by a second baseman? Can anything stop Chris Davis from obliterating the strikeout mark? Plus some notes about Raul Ibanez (we shot this before the nonsense that erupted this week.

That video can be seen below. Stats are a tad out of date since it was shot on Tuesday, and Roy Halladay has since been injured, so I suppose we jinxed him. Anyway, here are a few more Pace Car notes:

– Despite a rough week, Albert Pujols is on track to put up
this line: .321/.440/.665, 53 HR, 145 RBI, 121 BB, 25 SB, and only 61
Ks. That’d be a career high in homers, ribbies, walks, and steals.

– He might be coming back to earth a bit, but you’d certainly take
22-5, 1.72 ERA, 262/43 K/BB, 254 innings, 14 complete games, and 5
shutouts from Zack Greinke. The last pitcher to go double digits in complete games was Randy Johnson in 1999.

Joel Piniero has factored into the decision for all of
his 12 starts (5-7) and is on pace to go 13-18. No pitcher has won that
many games with 18 or more losses since Jack Morris in 1990 for Detroit, when he finished 15-18. A year later, he was winning the World Series with the Twinkies.

Matt Cain for Comeback Player of the Year? If he keeps up
at this rate, he’ll finish 22-3 with a 2.55 ERA and 159 Ks. The last
two seasons combined he went 15-30 with a 3.70 ERA. A better ERA
certainly helps with the record, but so does good run support (5.66
runs/game). In 2008 that number was 3.12, and in 2007 it was 3.20.

– If I gave you the numbers 47 and 11, and told you that one of those numbers would be David Wright’s
home run total and the other was his stolen base total, what would you
think? (Hint: he is not on pace for 47 bombs.) He’s also on track for
50 doubles, although such a discrepancy between homers and doubles in
not unprecedented. In Major League history, 25 players have hit 11 or
fewer homers and had at least 50 doubles. However, the 47 steals would
put him 3rd all-time on the list of players with at least 50 doubles,
behind Tris Peaker in 1912 and Craig Biggio in 1998.

30 years ago, Dave Kingman sent a live rat to a female reporter

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Someone on Reddit’s /r/baseball page linked to this New York Times article from June 1986.

Dave Kingman, then with the Athletics, was 37 years old and playing in what would be his final season. He was fined $3,500, which is a little over $7,600 in 2016 dollars, for sending a live rat in a pink box to a female reporter, Susan Fornoff of The Sacramento Bee. The rat wore a tag that said “my name is Sue.”

Kingman refused to apologize, saying, “I’ve pulled practical jokes on other people and I didn’t apologize to them.”

According to Fornoff, Kingman had said to her that women don’t belong in the clubhouse, and Kingman had been harassing her since she began covering the team in ’85. The Athletics didn’t keep Kingman around after the season, and he ended up hanging up the spikes.

Pete Dexter wrote in more detail about the incident at Deadspin a few years ago. It’s a good read.

I wasn’t familiar with this story as I was still more than two years from being born when it happened. Sports media has made strides towards being more inclusive of non-white cisgender straight men, especially compared to 30 years ago. But, of course, we’re still a long ways away from an ideal world in which everyone is treated equally and everyone has equal access. Some of the best baseball reporting and analysis these days is being done by women and it’s nice to see sites, especially FanGraphs recently, make a concerted effort towards diversification.

D-Backs mulling optioning Shelby Miller to the minors

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller continued to struggle on Tuesday, serving up six runs on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts over five innings against the Pirates. His ERA, in 10 starts this season, stands at an unsightly 7.09 with 30 strikeouts and 29 walks in 45 2/3 innings.

The D-Backs acquired him from the Braves over the winter, sending 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson to Atlanta along with pitching prospect Aaron Blair and outfielder Ender Inciarte. It’s a trade they’d most likely take back if they had the luxury.

Instead, GM Dave Stewart is considering optioning the right-hander to Triple-A Reno to figure things out, Jack Magruder reports for Today’s Knuckleball. Stewart said, “We want to get him on track the best way we can. We will figure it out and do what’s needed.”

Miller is currently slated to start against the Padres on Sunday, so the club has a few more days to consider what to do. Josh Collmenter will likely be activated over the weekend, which would create a convenient way to put him back on the roster and deal with Miller.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts both extend their hitting streaks

BOSTON, MA - MAY 24:  Jackie Bradley Jr. #25 of the Boston Red Sox returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park on May 24, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Extending his hitting streak to 28 games.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both extended their hitting streaks on Wednesday night against the Rockies, and both did it in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Bogaerts led off the inning with a solo home run to left-center off of Chad Bettis. After David Ortiz walked and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice, Bradley laced a single to left field. Bogaerts’ streak now stands at 18 games and Bradley’s is at 29. Bradley is tied with Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. He trails Tris Speaker and Nomar Garciaparra at 30 and Dom DiMaggio at 34.

The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s action averaging 5.87 runs per game, the best mark in baseball. The major league average is 4.28. Bogaerts and Bradley, unsurprisingly, have been a big part of the offense’s success thus far.

Nick Castellanos upset at being quick-pitched by Hector Neris

DETROIT, MI - MAY 25: Nick Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers argues with home plate umpire Brian Gorman after a called third strike to end the seventh inning of the inter-league game against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos struck out in a big spot for the Tigers during Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Phillies. Trailing 7-5 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Castellanos had a full count with runners on first and second base facing reliever Hector Neris.

Castellanos had just gotten set in the batter’s box when he watched Neris sneak in an 87 MPH splitter for strike three to end the inning. Castellanos wanted home plate umpire Brian Gorman to intervene because of the quick-pitch, but he didn’t.

Here’s what Castellanos said after the game, via Catherine Slonksnis of Bless You Boys:

“He did. That’s the first time I’ve been quick-pitched, probably since A ball,” Castellanos said, visibly frustrated after the game. “It is what it is. I was frustrated that it happened. Usually, it’s been attempted, but it’s always been stopped. Usually (the umpires) give the hitter that courtesy, but just, learn, and move on.”

And here’s the MLB.com video.

The Tigers also took issue with Gorman for what they feel was unequal treatment in giving batters time out. The Phillies were granted time — some late, as Slonksnis notes — but the Tigers weren’t afforded the same luxury. Mike Aviles also believes he was quick-pitched in the fifth inning.

The Tigers lost the game 8-5 but won the series, taking two out of three from the Phillies. Manager Brad Ausmus missed the game due to his mother’s death, so bench coach Gene Lamont took the role on Wednesday afternoon. Ausmus is also expected to miss Friday’s game for his daughter’s graduation.