Avisail Garcia

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MLB Players Alumni Association announces “Heart and Hustle Award” nominees

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The MLB Players Alumni Assocation announced its annual “Heart and Hustle Award” preliminary winners today. The award is given to one player from each team “who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game.”

The voters are alumni players with established relationships to each team. The nominees consider the player’s “passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.” The team winners are all nominees for the overall “Heart and Hustle Award” given in November. Last year’s winner was Todd Frazier.

The team winners for 2017 are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

NATIONAL LEAGUE

This award has drawn some criticism in the past for playing into old tired stereotypes of what constitutes “heart” and “hustle.” Specifically, old cliches about how it’s the gritty white dudes who worked hard while black and Latino players were more “naturally gifted” and, often, were accused of being lazy loafers (David Eckstein was the first winner, natch). It’s crazy that such assumptions still linger among those who talk about sports, but they do.

In 2015, 22 of the 30 Heart and Hustle winners were white Americans. Last year 21 of the nominees were, meaning that 26.7% of nominees were people of color, foreign born or both. This year 19 of the 30 are. People of color comprised 42.5% of Opening Day rosters. It’s obviously not the MLBPAA’s job to fill some quota — and things are improving slowly — but it’s probably worth observing that the old “hustle” tropes continue to apply to white Americans a bit more liberally than to others.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 6, Blue Jays 5: Miguel Cabrera wins it with a walkoff walk in the 11th. Or I suppose you could say Lucas Harrell lost it by issuing that bases loaded walk. Except, he actually didn’t get the loss because Jeff Beliveau issued the walk to the runner who was forced in on the walk and was thus responsible for the losing run. Really, though, when the bases get loaded due to a couple of walks and a fielding error and then the game-ending run is walked in, everyone can take a piece of the credit for it. Lost in all of this was that the Tigers bullpen tossed five shutout innings allowing only one hit. That’s a pretty nice collective effort too.

Royals 4, Rangers 3: If you think the walkoff walk was somewhat dubious way for a team to win a game, how about a walkoff two-run single that should’ve been a routine fly ball that would’ve sent the game into the 10th inning except for the fact that the right fielder lost the ball in the sun? Check out Shin-Soo Choo‘s follies in the bottom of the ninth:

Sun happens.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 3: How about a more conventional walkoff? Pittsburgh was down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth and rallied for the win with a Jordy Mercer RBI double and Adam Frazier‘s walkoff RBI single, both of which came off of Brett Cecil. On Friday Josh Bell hit a walkoff three-run homer off of Seung-Hwan Oh, so I guess it didn’t matter who the Cardinals ran out there.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0; Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: After playing for 16 innings and nearly 6 hours on Saturday I’m sure the Red Sox and Yankees loved to have a double header yesterday. Especially a day-night affair. Even better: the split here meant that, standings-wise, everything cancelled out. But they’re ballplayers and that’s what they do. In the first game CC Sabathia and three relievers combined to shut Boston out on four hits with a Didi Gregorius homer highlighting the win. In the nightcap Mookie Betts hit a two-run homer and Dustin Pedroia singled in a run as David Price tossed eight shutout innings.

Price had some help. Watch Jackie Bradley Jr. save the shutout with a home-run-robbing snag:

 

Nationals 14, Reds 4: A five-run fifth inning from Washington broke things open in this laugher as the Nats rung up Homer Bailey for eight runs on eight hits. Washington hit five homers with Daniel Murphy slugging two — three-run and a two-run jacks — and Anthony Rendon, Adam Lind and Jose Lobaton all going deep as well.

Rockies 13, Mets 4: Colorado had a 9-0 lead after three and a half innings, highlighted by a Nolan Arenado three-run blast. Seven of those nine runs came off of Steven Matz who couldn’t even retire a batter in the second inning. Late in the game Charlie Blackmon hit an inside-the-park homer. Sorta. That’s what it looked like in practice as the ball hit the wall and bounced onto the field and Blackmon motored around the bases. But the ball actually cleared the fence and Curtis Granderson — who knew that a replay review would’ve confirmed a home run — just casually retrieved it. Since either result of a replay review would’ve resulted in a home run, there was no review and it remained an inside-the-park homer since that was the initial ruling on the field.

Dodgers 3, Marlins 2: Los Angeles remains hot, winning its ninth game in a row and sweeping the Marlins. Rich Hill allowed one run over five innings and Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with a homer and a sac fly. It would’ve been a larger margin of victory but Marcell Ozuna robbed Kiké Hernandez of a homer with a great catch.

Cubs 8, Orioles 0: Jose Quintana was fantastic in his debut with the Cubs, tossing seven shutout innings and striking out 12. For years he struggled with run support on the South Side, but it was not an issue for his first game with the Northsiders as Chicago built a 4-0 lead after two innings and then got two runs homers from both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo later.

Braves 7, Diamondbacks 1: The Braves probably want to trade Jaime Garcia. Him allowing only one run and striking out seven over seven innings helps that some. Matts Kemp and Adams hit homers for Atlanta, the former’s a three-run blast, the latter’s a solo shot.

Mariners 7, White Sox 6: Chicago had a 5-0 lead thanks to a two Avisail Garcia homers, but that didn’t hold up as the Mariners came back and Nelson Cruz hit a homer in the top of the 10th to put Seattle up for good. It was the second straight game in which he hit a go-ahead home run. Seattle has won four in a row while the White Sox have now lost fourt straight.

Phillies 5, Brewers 2: Nick Williams hit a grand slam to account for four of the Phillies’ five runs. The slam came off of Tyler Webb. The last time Williams faced Webb was in a Triple-A game last month. He homered off of Webb then too. It’s nice to be a big leaguer for only a few weeks and already have the number of another big leaguer.

Astros 5, Twins 3Mike Fiers struck out a season-high 11 over seven and Nori Aoki had two hits and drove in two. Houston took two of three from the Twins. Can we just fast-forward to the Astros-Dodgers World Series now?

 

Angels 4, Rays 3: Tied 2-2 in the eighth when C.J. Cron a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth. The Rays threatened in the ninth and did pick up one run, but the Angels escaped with the sweep-avoiding win.

Athletics 7, Indians 3: Trevor Bauer allowed four runs on three hits and walked three while working only two-thirds of an inning, losing this one before it even really began. His counterpart, Sean Manaea, allowed only two over seven innings and struck out eight. Matt Joyce, Ryon Healy and Jaycob Brugman each drove in two runs. Oakland sweeps the Indians in three, reducing Cleveland’s division lead to one and a half games.

Padres 7, Giants 1: Corey Spangenberg and Hector Sanchez each hit three-run homers before the third inning was over as San Diego wins in a laugher. Sanchez hit a two-run walk-off homer on Saturday night. That’s about as good a weekend as a backup catcher can have.

Kyle Freeland loses no-hitter with one out in the ninth

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Update #3 (6:19 PM ET): Freeland struck out Adam Engel to begin the ninth inning, but Melky Cabrera broke up the no-hitter with a line drive single to left field. Quite an admirable effort from Freeland. Manager Bud Black removed Freeland from the game at that point, as the lefty had thrown 126 pitches.

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Update #2 (6:02 PM ET): The Rockies tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 10-0 lead. In the top of the eighth, Freeland got Yolmer Sanchez to fly out to left field on a great play by Gerardo Parra, then struck out Omar Navaez and Willy Garcia. Freeland has one inning to go and he’s at 116 pitches.

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Update (5:26 PM ET): Freeland issued back-to-back walks to Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier on 13 pitches to begin the top of the seventh inning. He was able to bounce back and induce a ground ball 6-4-3 double play from Avisail Garcia, then got Tim Anderson to fly out to end the inning. He’s at 99 pitches through seven hitless innings.

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Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland is three innings away from a no-hitter at Coors Field. Through six innings thus far on Sunday afternoon against the White Sox, Freeland has limited the opposition to a walk and a hit batsman while tossing up zeroes on the scoreboard. He has struck out six White Sox on 76 pitches.

Freeland, a 24-year-old rookie born and raised in Colorado, entered Sunday’s action with a 4.09 ERA and a 56/38 K/BB ratio over 99 innings.

The Rockies have given Freeland seven runs of support, scoring twice in the second inning and five times in the sixth. Charlie Blackmon hit a solo homer in the sixth and Pat Valaika hit a three-run shot shortly thereafter.

To date, only one Rockies pitcher has thrown a no-hitter: Ubaldo Jimenez on April 17, 2010 against the Braves. The White Sox were last victims of a no-hitter on May 3, 2011 against the Twins’ Francisco Liriano. The last interleague no-hitter was thrown nearly two years ago by the Astros’ Mike Fiers against the Dodgers.

We’ll keep you updated as Freeland attempts to navigate the final three innings.