The final score was a modest 7-3, but Monday’s Rockies-Cubs game at Wrigley, won by Chicago, was the first in five years to include three multi-homer performances.
The Cubs’ Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez all went deep twice in the contest. Gonzalez led off the top of the first with his homer and later ended winning pitcher Matt Garza’s afternoon with another solo shot in the eighth.
Ramirez and Pena, despite batting back-to-back in the orders, never did go back-to-back in the game. Ramirez homered in the first and seventh, while Pena hit his in the fourth and fifth innings.
Today’s outcome was fueled by a modest breeze out to left at Wrigley Field. Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin, who had allowed a total of three runs in four starts this month, gave up three homers for the first time in his career.
The last such game with three multihomer guys took place on July 14, 2006, at Petco Park of all places. The Braves beat the Padres 15-12 in that one, with Adam LaRoche, Chipper Jones and Adrian Gonzalez all going deep twice.
The last game to have four different players hit multiple homers took place at a much more likely location, Coors Field, on Aug. 14, 1999. Dante Bichette, Todd Helton and Edgard Clemente all homered twice for the Rockies, while the Expos got two homers from Geoff Blum. The Rockies won that one 11-8.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.