It was really the first weekend that actually felt like spring, at least from a baseball perspective. Yeah, the previous weekend was nice, but we were still getting a lot of rainouts and cold games. This weekend, no matter which game I turned to, it looked and felt like baseball. Ah.
- Roy Oswalt is on the DL. First chink in the Big Four’s armor? Apart from the fact that only Kyle Kendrick got a win in the Atlanta series?
- This item from Saturday about Jose Reyes was headlined “The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read Today.” I just read it again and it’s the dumbest thing you’ll read on Monday too.
- B.J. Upton got suspended because Joe West’s umpire crew is terrible.
- The Chase Utley shakedown cruise starts off well.
- Justin Verlander to the Blue Jays: “No, you cannot have hits. Not yours.” And he was still cooking with gas at the end of the game.
- Todd Wellemeyer retired. In five years he well be inducted to the Hall of Had A Pretty Good Half Season as a Swingman After Being Claimed Off Waivers By The Cardinals in 2007. It’s not a very big Hall, but the gift shop is pretty nice.
- The Julio Teheran Era did not start off quite as awesomely as one might have hoped.
- Andre Ethier fails to extend his hitting streak to 31. Vlad Guerrero, Ken Landreaux, Ron LeFlore, Rico Carty, Willie Davis, Vada Pinson, Sam Rice, Napoleon Lajoie, Ed Delahanty, and Jimmy Wolf continue their tradition of cracking open a bottle of champagne when yet another pretender fails to enter a tie for the 25th all-time longest hitting streak with them.
- Oh, and Joey Votto’s on-base streak ended at 33. No one cares about that one, though.
- The Red Sox call up Jose Iglesias. All leather, no bat at the moment.
- Tony La Russa has an awful eye infection thing and is going to have it examined at the Mayo Clinic. I hope he feels better soon. I also kind of hope that his course of treatment includes staying away from bullpen phones for 4 to 6 weeks.
- The number of reports about Derek Jeter which will use the hacky old “the reports of Derek Jeter’s death …” cliche this morning will be considerable.
- Mike Scioscia gets his 1000th victory. Sadly, none of the Angels’ runs in yesterday’s game came as the result of a squeeze play or a delayed double steal or good catching defense or anything all Mike Sciosciay like that.
And into the new week we plunge.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.