Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera did something pretty unusual today in a loss to the Giants; he became the first player since the White Sox’s Lou Frazier in 1998 to steal four bases without recording a hit.
Cabrera walked twice and stole second and third each time. He scored on a Hector Sanchez throwing error on the second steal of third.
Cabrera now leads the NL with 41 steals. He’s also been caught just three times. Despite all of the talk about how speed is supposed to rule the game again, it’s been a poor year for steals in the NL. Michael Bourn is second in the league with 40 steals in 52 tries. Shane Victorino has 39 steals. Cabrera’s total will be the lowest total to lead either league since Alfonso Soriano topped the AL with 41 steals in 2002. It’ll be the lowest total to lead the NL since Craig Biggio had 39 in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Apart from that, the NL leader has had at least 45 steals every year since 1963.
As for Cabrera’s feat today, he became the 8th different player since 1918 to have four steals without a hit. Vince Coleman did it three times and Rickey Henderson twice, so it’s been done 11 times in all.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.