Overheard conventional wisdom from baseball fans: “Ryan Braun can’t hit without the juice and his thumb is all messed up.” “Prince Fielder is breaking down and his best days are behind him.”
Both sentiments could be filed under “non-crazy,” and perhaps ultimately they will be borne out. But for now Braun and Fielder are partying like it’s 2009, with the former hitting 272/.349/.543 with 12 homers and 36 driven in and the latter hitting .365/.417/.575 with nine homers and 35 driven in.
Braun certainly isn’t helping the Brewers compete for a title and, unless he keeps up this kind of production through his mid-30s, his contract gets fairly ugly starting next year. Fielder’s Rangers could be more interesting as the season wears on given how poorly Oakland and Seattle have been playing in the early going. Of course his contract is even more pricey between 2016 and 2020 than Braun’s is. There are no promises that these rebounds will mean much if anything for Braun and Fielder’s clubs or their contracts.
But it sure is neat to see guys some had written off turning it back on again.
And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights
Nationals 8, Yankees 6: Down by four after four and a half innings, the Nats chipped back and then won the whole dang thing on a Ryan Zimmerman two-run walkoff homer in the tenth inning. Bryce Harper homered too. It was his 15th, which leads the NL. Washington is now 13-4 in May and are tied for first place in the NL East. So much for all of that April hand-wringing.
Cardinals 10, Mets 2: Not gonna say that this was a laugher, but Cardinals lefty specialist Randy Choate actually had a plate appearance here. Drew a walk! The guy has played for 15 years. This was just his sixth plate appearance ever — his first since 2004 — and the first time he has ever reached base. I wonder if anyone gave him a GPS in order to find first. Randy Grichuk drove in three and every Cardinals starter had a hit except for Matt Holliday.
Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 2: A.J. Pollock hit a pinch-hit, tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth. The righty Pollock hit it off of lefty Mike Dunn. Chip Hale said after the game that Pollock would not have been used as a pinch hitter if the Marlins had a righty up in the pen, ready to bring in to face Pollock:
“We were watching the pen real carefully and there was no righty up at the time,” Hale said. “That was the only way I was going to use him for Peralta. If there had been a righty up I probably wouldn’t have done it.”
After the game, new Marlins manager Dan Jennings said that he had his lefty face Pollock because he “went with the gut feeling.” That gut, at that point in time, had less than two full games’ managerial experience in it.
Twins 8, Pirates 5: A lot of weird things here. Like, in the second, Joe Mauer came up with the bases loaded and poked a single through the left side. Just a weak rolling grounder hit the opposite way. And it cleared the dang bases:
Clint Hurdle’s comments about that play after the game were harsh, but fair:
Oh, and Pedro Alvarez hit a home run into the Allegheny River on the fly. And it landed in a boat. For real:
Angels 3, Blue Jays 2: Hector Santiago has started eight games this year. In six of them, this one included, he has allowed one earned run or fewer. Not too shabby. Especially given how well the Blue Jays have hit left-handers this year.
Brewers 8, Tigers 1: Six runs in the third inning for the Brewers, thanks in part to back-to-back-to-back homers from Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez. Note: you can hit back-to-back-to-back homers, but three guys can’t stand back-to-back-to-back. Physically impossible. Baseball is a funny game.
Orioles 9, Mariners 4: Jimmy Paredes homered and drove in four. Paredes has reached base in 20 straight games. His big game came at a good time too, as last year’s DH, Nelson Cruz, was in town. He homered, but the local fans had no reason to long for him last night.
Red Sox 4, Rangers 3: The otherwise slumping Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. David Ortiz homered too and Wade Miley pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7K), which hasn’t happened too often lately.
Indians 3, White Sox 1: Trevor Bauer snapped the White Sox’ winning streak by pitching one-run ball into the eighth and striking out seven. He has made three starts against Chicago this year and has owned them completely.
Royals 3, Reds 0: Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis combined for a four-hit shutout. This after the Royals shut out their last opponent, the Yankees, on Sunday. Johnny Cueto took the loss and is now 3-4. He has received a total of two runs of support in those four losses. He’s probably going to be dealt at the deadline. I’m guessing he can’t wait.
Astros 6, Athletics 4: Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus each hit two-run homers. Houston has the best record in the American League and Oakland has lost five of six.
Rockies 6, Phillies 5: Philly’s six-game winning streak is over, as Nick Hundley hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth. The Rockies, despite the win, struck out ten times. That’s the seventh straight game in which they’ve done that. According to the gamer, that’s one shy of the record, currently held by the 2011 San Diego Padres.
Padres 4, Cubs 3: James Shields got a no-decision, but he struck out 11 while allowing two runs in seven innings, outdueling Jason Hammel. Derek Norris hit a two-run double in the eighth to break a tie. Former University of San Diego player Kris Bryant made his return to town and went 1-for4.
Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Six and a third shutout innings for Tim Hudson as the Giants win their fourth in a row. They’re three and a half back in the west. Which is fairly interesting.
Play of the Day: Ryan Braun lays out to rob Wilmer Flores of extra bases
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun laid out and robbed Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores of what likely would have been a triple — a double, at least — on a fly ball to right-center field with two outs in the second inning. Braun then came to the plate with a man aboard and no outs in the top of the third and blasted a Bartolo Colon offering into the second deck at Citi Field. Not a bad start to the night.
Braun wasn’t done, though. He homered again in the eighth inning off of reliever Carlos Torres, pushing the Brewers’ lead to 7-0.
Following the two-homer night, Braun is hitting .256/.328/.471 with eight home runs and 21 RBI on the year.