One would never guess Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster just missed three weeks with a strained lat muscle. Back from the DL on Sunday, he shut out the Mets for five innings, extending his scoreless streak to 27 innings.
The Cubs went on to win 7-0.
R.A. Dickey had an even longer scoreless-inning streak this season (32 2/3, to be exact), but Dempster is the first pitcher to go four straight starts without allowing a run since Zack Greinke went five in the row from Sept. 18, 2008-April 18, 2009. Dempster’s outing was abbreviated today because he was coming back from the injury, but he pitched a total of 22 innings in the first three starts.
It’s possible that today’s start will go down as Dempster’s last as a Cub. The trade rumors were starting to come fast and furious last month before he got hurt, and now that he’s healthy again, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him moved over the All-Star break.
As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.
Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.
Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.
Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.
Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:
Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.
Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.