Josh Hamilton went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts last night, chasing a bunch of pitches out of the strike zone in the process, and now has a batting average below .300 and a slugging percentage below .600 for the first time this season.
That doesn’t sound so bad, of course, but considering how ridiculous Hamilton’s numbers were early on it’s been quite a fall.
He hit .395 with a .744 slugging percentage in April and .344 with a .781 slugging percentage in May, but since June 1 he’s batting just .201 with a .396 slugging percentage and 51 strikeouts in 40 games.
Hamilton has struck out in 30.1 percent of his plate appearances during that time, compared to 18.8 percent in April and May, and he’s also drawn just 13 non-intentional walks in 169 trips to the plate.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.