Jason Heyward continues to defy superlatives.
In the first inning of this afternoon’s game against the Tigers, Heyward battled Max Scherzer from 0-2 to a full count only to launch an epic two-run blast. How mammoth was it, you ask? The ball hit the metal roof that covers the batting cages beyond the right field wall in Lakeland. So I’m guessing somewhere around 600 feet. You know, conservative estimate.
Here’s Tim Hudson, as quoted by David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“He goes and puts one in the trees out there. I mean, it just adds to the legend.”
Heyward finished the day 1-for-2 with a walk. He’s a cool 5-for-12 (.417) with five walks in his first 18 plate appearances. Getting excited about small samples sizes would be silly, but including a hit-by-pitch (thanks KLB!) that’s a .611 on-base percentage, folks! I suppose I’m going to have to get used to the Mets pitching around him for about the next 15 years.
Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.
U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.
WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.
The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.
We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.
Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.
Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.
Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.