Orlando Hudson is a 33-year-old who’s never stolen more than 10 bases in a season and the Twins let him walk as a free agent while talking about wanting to add more speed to the lineup at his position.
All of which makes this pretty remarkable: Hudson has already tied his career-high with 10 steals in just 28 games.
He’s typically been an efficient base-stealer, but Hudson has never even attempted more than 15 steals in a season. Right now he’s on pace to go 56-for-56.
Dan Hayes of the North County Times writes that, unlike Hudson’s previous teams, the Padres are encouraging him to run freely, and Hudson explained all the running by noting that San Diego’s lineup isn’t well-suited for station-to-station ball so he’s “doing whatever I can to get that extra base.”
All true, but it’s worth noting that despite all that running Hudson has only scored nine runs in 28 games. His fantasy owners are no doubt thrilled, but it hasn’t had much of an on-field impact yet.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.