At least temporarily. Yesterday Pat Burrell homered during the completion of the Rays-Red Sox game that was suspended on Friday, and then he had a three-run double in the
scheduled game. He hadn’t had any home runs or RBI entering play yesterday and was below the Mendoza Line. Overall that’s five straight wins for the Rays, who are doing nothing to make me sorry for picking them to finish ahead of the Sox this year.
But Burrell’s exploits weren’t as unexpected as Livan Hernandez’s. It may be lost in the noise of a no-hitter and a marathon game, but Hernandez has started out the season with 16 scoreless innings,
including last night’s shutout of the Brewers. This from a guy who the Nationals didn’t really even want to sign this offseason.
Saturday gave us all kinds of unexpected things. Big performances from Pat the Bat and Livan may have been the most unexpected.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.