With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field yesterday afternoon Cubs pitchers served up seven homers in a 14-3 blowout loss to the Reds, including three long balls to center fielder Drew Stubbs.
“I’ve never done it at any level, little league, high school, or college,” Stubbs told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com afterward. “I think I’ve only got a handful of two-homer games. Three is something special.”
He’s right, of course, although there are probably more three-homer games than Stubbs would think, with seven already this season and an average of 10.5 per year during the previous decade.
However, if we limit the field a bit by looking only at three-homer games by players Stubbs’ age (25) or younger, it’s much more exclusive company.
Here’s the list of all the three-homer games from 25-and-under hitters since 2000:
Drew Stubbs 2010 Albert Pujols 2004
Andrew McCutchen 2009 Victor Martinez 2004
Evan Longoria 2008 Carlos Pena 2003
Joey Votto 2008 Andruw Jones 2002
Cody Ross 2006 Jose Ortiz 2001
Nick Markakis 2006 Aramis Ramirez 2001
Jose Reyes 2006 Alex Rodriguez 2000
Jonny Gomes 2005
Basically, one or two 25-and-under hitters per season have a three-homer game and of the 14 guys to previously accomplish the feat since 2000 all but two or three of them have become All-Star caliber players (the actual kind, not just the Omar Infante kind). Perhaps it’s not all that surprising, but the list is definitely full of more big names and fewer non-stars than I’d have guessed.
Stubbs is one of the oldest guys on the 25-and-under list and hasn’t been particularly impressive through 120 career games, hitting just .250/.322/.426 with 19 homers and an ugly 134/43 K/BB ratio. However, he’s a former first-round pick whose power-speed combination is promising if he can ever learn to control the strike zone and recent history shows that not many bad players have a three-homer game by his age.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.