I spent the last 20 minutes reading Masters coverage in which sportswriters talk about how wonderful it is that Player X is leading Player Y because we know a lot about Player Y’s sex life and disapprove of it. Thank God for day baseball.
Best game of the early going today: Reds-Cardinals. It was a pitcher’s duel, with Bronson Arroyo and Brad Penny looking sharp. The former have up one run over eight innings, the latter one run over seven. I am obligated to report that Bronson Arroyo “helped his own cause” by knocking in an RBI single, which means that this pitcher has been just as productive as the second richest team in baseball’s designated hitter this season.
The kicker, though was Jonny Gomes hitting a homer to left in the bottom of the ninth off Jason Motte to end it. Jason Motte, by the way, throws really hard. Unfortunately he throws really straight and thus gives up a lot of home runs. He threw six straight hard ones to Gomes. Gomes is a dead-red hitter. Maybe not the best matchup in the history of La Russaville.
Silver lining for Cardinals fans? Brad Penny. While the line score was nice, even nicer was the fact that he got 13 ground ball outs and only four fly ball outs. If that pattern holds, he’s going to have a nice season.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.