Sure, Felix Hernandez did his usual thing, striking out 10 as Seattle bested Cleveland 9-2 on Wednesday. But this was no ordinary game:
– We mentioned last month that Josh Tomlin broke Daisuke Matsuzaka’s major league record for outings of at least five innings to begin a career. That streak was snapped at 37 today, as he was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings. Tomlin broke the record with his 29th straight appearance of at least five innings on July 4.
– The incomparable Wily Mo Pena went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double, four RBI, a walk and a HBP. Yes, that’s right, a walk. It was his first in 23 games this season. His previous major league walk came on July 29, 2008. It was also his first three-hit game since Sept. 14, 2007, and it marked the first time in 583 career games that he’s reached base five times.
– Kyle Seager went 4-for-4 with three doubles and three runs scored. Chris Coghlan on April 6 and Ben Zobrist on June 11 are the only other two players to collect four hits, three doubles and three runs scored in a game this season. Including Tuesday’s doubleheader, Seager now has a remarkable 10 hits in two days, raising his average from .224 to .312. He’s the 12th player this year to have three straight games with three hits. No one has made it to four.
– Jamey Wright fanned five in two scoreless innings out of the pen. It was his high strikeout game since Aug. 3, 2007 and the first time he’s ever fanned so many batters without throwing at least four innings.
– Mariners pitching as a whole fanned 16 batters, the team’s most in a nine-inning game since Aug. 8, 1997. The team did have 16 strikeouts in a 14-inning win over the White Sox on Aug. 12, 2009.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.