Update: Well, the streak is over. Duda hit a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning against lefty reliever Matt Thornton.
Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is on a home run tear. The slugging lefty drilled solo home runs in each of his first two plate appearances on Saturday night against the Nationals, giving him eight since July 25, a span of seven games and 25 plate appearances. What’s more: all eight of those hits have been home runs.
- July 25: Duda hit two solo home runs in a 15-2 rout of the Dodgers.
- July 28: Duda hit a two-run home run off of James Shields in the first inning in an eventual 4-0 win against the Padres.
- July 29: Duda swatted three solo home runs, providing all of the Mets’ offense in a 7-3 loss to the Padres.
- August 1: Duda provides both of the Mets’ runs against Nationals starter Joe Ross with two solo home runs.
The game is tied 2-2 after seven innings at the time of this writing.
Duda’s triple-slash line is up to .244/.345/.476. On the season, he’s slugged 20 home runs and knocked in 47 runs. He hit a career-high 30 home runs last season and could be on his way to equaling or surpassing that by season’s end.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”