Here’s something pretty cool.
Justin Upton launched a long home run to left field off Phillies’ right-hander Kyle Kendrick in the top of the second inning tonight for the 100th home run of his career. Less than an hour later, his big brother B.J. Upton connected for a solo shot to center field off Orioles’ right-hander Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the fourth inning. And guess what? It was also his 100th career home run. Wild stuff.
You can watch video of Justin’s homer here and B.J.’s blast here. The brothers have actually made a habit out of this sort of thing, as Rays communication assistant Patrick Kurish passes along word that they have homered on the same day 13 times over the course of their careers, including 10 times since the start of 2011. They each launched their 99th career homers on July 20.
Per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Uptons are the sixth pair of brothers to reach the 100-home run plateau, joining Joe and Vince DiMaggio, Sandy and Roberto Alomar, Clete and Ken Boyer, Bret and Aaron Boone and Bob and Irish Muesel.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.