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.
The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.
The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.
The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.
Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.