The legend of Yasiel Puig grew even bigger last night, as the Dodgers rookie smacked an opposite-field grand slam to break open a 1-0 game in the eighth inning and joined Joe Cunningham, Dave Kingman, and Will Middlebrooks as the only players in MLB history with a pair of four-RBI performances in their first four games.
Puig, who’s now 7-for-16 (.438) with three homers and nine RBIs since being called up, made his third Dodger Stadium curtain call in four games as a big leaguer after legendary announcer Vin Scully exclaimed “I don’t believe it!”
Here’s the video, including Scully showing other announcers how it’s done by letting the moment take over:
I have learned over the years that there comes a rare and precious moment where there is absolutely nothing better than silence. Nothing better to be absolutely speechless to sum up a situation. And that was the moment. Holy mackerel.
Puig’s games per holy mackerel moment ratio leads the league.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.