fred merkle

100 years ago today: Giants score 10 before making an out

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May 13, 1911

After future Hall of Famer Christy Matthewson pitched a scoreless top of the first against the Cardinals, the New York Giants lineup came out and scored 10 times before making an out on the way to a 19-5 victory.

The Giants started the game with a two singles, a two-run triple and a walk before Slim Sallee was pulled from the game.  An inside-the-park homer from Fred Merkle followed, making it 5-0.  After a single, a walk and two more singles, the last from Matthewson himself, the Giants were up 7-0.

The 10th straight batter to reach did so on a fielder’s choice.  After that, Larry Doyle flied out for the first out of the game.  And, it turned out, the only one Bob Harmon would get.  He was pulled after a walk and a hit by pitch and replaced by Lou Lowdermilk.

The Giants went on to make it 13-0 from there.  Merkle doubled with the bases loaded, giving him six RBI in the inning.  He then stole home for the final run of the frame.

With the huge early lead, the Giants decided to pull their ace and put in another future Hall of Famer, Rube Marquard.  Marquard went on to set a major league record by striking out 14 in eight innings of relief.

Merkle, maybe the second most famous player in the game as a result of his “boner” three years earlier, ended the contest with seven RBI on his way to driving in 84 runs on the year.  He had arguably the best of his 16 seasons in 1911, finishing seventh in the NL MVP balloting (or the Chalmers Award, as it was known then).

The Giants had no future Hall of Famers in their lineup that year, but they did have Doyle, an outstanding second baseman.  He ended up finishing the season second in the NL in OPS behind Honus Wagner.  The Giants won the National League pennant largely on the strength of Matthewson and Marquard, who was just coming into his own.  The pair combined for a 50-20 record and a 2.23 ERA in 584 2/3 IP.

The Giants went on to lose a World Series plagued by rain in six games to the A’s.  Matthewson won Game 1, but took losses in Games 3 and 4, which were played seven days apart due to the conditions.

Video: Odubel Herrera’s glorious bat flip

DETROIT, MI - MAY 25: Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a three run home run during the fourth inning of the inter-league game against the Detroit Tigers on May 25, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera, playing in his second game since being benched for a lack of hustle, hit a three-run home run to extend his team’s lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning on Wednesday afternoon. After putting a sweet swing on an Anibal Sanchez 2-1 slider, Herrera flipped his bat in grand fashion. It wasn’t quite as emphatic as Jose Bautista‘s from last year’s ALDS, but it was glorious nonetheless.

To the Tigers’ credit, Herrera’s bat flip didn’t result in any shouting or fighting or throwing intentionally at hitters. So that’s nice.

Herrera is now batting .327/.440/.461 with five home runs and 17 RBI on the year. The Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft from the Rangers ahead of the 2015 season and he’s proven to be the lifeblood of the offense thus far.

30 years ago, Dave Kingman sent a live rat to a female reporter

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Someone on Reddit’s /r/baseball page linked to this New York Times article from June 1986.

Dave Kingman, then with the Athletics, was 37 years old and playing in what would be his final season. He was fined $3,500, which is a little over $7,600 in 2016 dollars, for sending a live rat in a pink box to a female reporter, Susan Fornoff of The Sacramento Bee. The rat wore a tag that said “my name is Sue.”

Kingman refused to apologize, saying, “I’ve pulled practical jokes on other people and I didn’t apologize to them.”

According to Fornoff, Kingman had said to her that women don’t belong in the clubhouse, and Kingman had been harassing her since she began covering the team in ’85. The Athletics didn’t keep Kingman around after the season, and he ended up hanging up the spikes.

Pete Dexter wrote in more detail about the incident at Deadspin a few years ago. It’s a good read.

I wasn’t familiar with this story as I was still more than two years from being born when it happened. Sports media has made strides towards being more inclusive of non-white cisgender straight men, especially compared to 30 years ago. But, of course, we’re still a long ways away from an ideal world in which everyone is treated equally and everyone has equal access. Some of the best baseball reporting and analysis these days is being done by women and it’s nice to see sites, especially FanGraphs recently, make a concerted effort towards diversification.

D-Backs mulling optioning Shelby Miller to the minors

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller continued to struggle on Tuesday, serving up six runs on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts over five innings against the Pirates. His ERA, in 10 starts this season, stands at an unsightly 7.09 with 30 strikeouts and 29 walks in 45 2/3 innings.

The D-Backs acquired him from the Braves over the winter, sending 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson to Atlanta along with pitching prospect Aaron Blair and outfielder Ender Inciarte. It’s a trade they’d most likely take back if they had the luxury.

Instead, GM Dave Stewart is considering optioning the right-hander to Triple-A Reno to figure things out, Jack Magruder reports for Today’s Knuckleball. Stewart said, “We want to get him on track the best way we can. We will figure it out and do what’s needed.”

Miller is currently slated to start against the Padres on Sunday, so the club has a few more days to consider what to do. Josh Collmenter will likely be activated over the weekend, which would create a convenient way to put him back on the roster and deal with Miller.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts both extend their hitting streaks

BOSTON, MA - MAY 24:  Jackie Bradley Jr. #25 of the Boston Red Sox returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park on May 24, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Extending his hitting streak to 28 games.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both extended their hitting streaks on Wednesday night against the Rockies, and both did it in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Bogaerts led off the inning with a solo home run to left-center off of Chad Bettis. After David Ortiz walked and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice, Bradley laced a single to left field. Bogaerts’ streak now stands at 18 games and Bradley’s is at 29. Bradley is tied with Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. He trails Tris Speaker and Nomar Garciaparra at 30 and Dom DiMaggio at 34.

The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s action averaging 5.87 runs per game, the best mark in baseball. The major league average is 4.28. Bogaerts and Bradley, unsurprisingly, have been a big part of the offense’s success thus far.