8/12/19 – Weekend in Review: Cornfields, Stunners, Skids, Injuries, and Rookie Phenoms

I’ve gotta say, I was a little nervous going into this past weekend. I was going to be completely unplugged from the world, camping in the middle of a wi-fi and cellular dead zone. I wasn’t going to have access to all the news of the world, especially the baseball world, new family babies (congrats to my cousins George and Kate on their little bundle!), birthdays, and the ability to consult the Google machine when my kids asked pressing questions like “what’s the world record for poop?” (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?)

I did ‘drive into town’ on Saturday morning to where my phone would actually work to check the weather forecast (i.e. did we have to pack up and leave because of the forecasted thunderstorms headed our way), got my phone blown up with 40 texts/photos from my mom regarding her Friday night dinner, and did a quick scan of social media to put my FOMO in check. As someone with a fledgling baseball website, I panicked that this site would lose momentum because all the baseball would happen without me to spread the news to you guys. Luckily, nothing of significance happened in the 72 hours of digital silence for me to have to research and write about. I will, however, attempt to sum up the weekend and also a few things that have been going on in MLB that I hadn’t had time to get to until now.

If You Build It.. Yadda Yadda Yadda

One thing I hadn’t had a chance to talk about before heading out into the cornfields of southern Minnesota, was the game that was announced for next year in the cornfields of Iowa. To be honest, I rolled my eyes at this when I heard about it, and wasn’t even going to give it any time or press on this site for now. Yes, Field of Dreams was a fantastic movie. But does it have to be brought to 2020? Meh.

Will it be cool for a game to be played in the middle of nowhere at a pop up ballpark? Absolutely. But I think my eye rolling is based on a few things:

  • Is Major League Baseball so desperate to drum up publicity that they need to make this a thing?
  • They’re already playing in non MLB ballparks around the globe to gain attention and grow fan bases, but this seems a bit much, no?
  • With just 8,000 seats at this popup ballpark, the only people that will actually attend this game will be Rob Manfred, the scores of media covering the event, big-shots from New York and Chicago, and probably Kevin Costner.
  • The inference that the 2020 New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox (mainly Aaron Judge, as he was in the initial ad) are going to be so legendary that this needs to happen. Shoeless Joe Jackson is rolling his eyes from actual Heaven.

Of course I’ll be watching. But God help me if I have to listen to Joe Buck calling the game, I’m going to throw something at my TV.

The Astros Just Lost to WHO?

Remember my last article, just a few days ago, in which I was talking about the giant shit show that is the 2019 Baltimore Orioles and more specifically the giant shit show that is Chris Davis? And remember how the O’s have been on a serious losing streak, topped off by a three-touchdown oh wait this is baseball 23 run loss to the ‘Stros on Saturday?

It seemed as though the Orioles were going to be handed another loss on Sunday as they gave up their 5-4 lead in the ninth by giving up 3 runs. But no! Rio Ruiz managed to smash a 3 run shot for his first ever walk-off, leading the Orioles to their first win in a week. Just look at the joy in Camden Yards:

For the record.. Chris Davis struck out 4 times on Sunday and played no significant part in their win. He also managed to not assault any of his teammates or coaches, so there’s that.

Skidding Out of First

I’ve made no secret on this site that my team is the Minnesota Twins. I did have a working radio to listen to my boys over the weekend as the fire hot Indians came to town to try to knock the Twins out of first for the first time this season. I heard my boys blow their once massive 11.5 game lead in the AL Central to now be tied with the Cleveland Indians for the top of the heap. What the ever-loving f happened there?

Minnesota came limping into this series fresh off of an ass-whooping from the Braves. It’s not helping matters that super star Byron Buxton cannot resist crashing into things and landing on the IL every other week – he just got back from a concussion and ill-timed wisdom teeth removal, and now smashed up his shoulder with a very questionable timetable for a return. Also not helping is Nelson Cruz landing himself back on the IL with another wrist injury – though this time, rupturing the tendon that’s been plaguing him may actually be a good thing to keep the pain away once he returns. EDIT: While writing this post, it was announced that Cruz will not need surgery and will be able to resume baseball activities on Tuesday.

The lack of Buxton’s defense and Cruz’s offense is very sorely missed. Even though the legendary Bomba Squad smashing past the team’s previous record of 225 HR in a season over the weekend, it wasn’t enough to stave off a series loss of 3 games to 1. And despite the free fall from first that the Twins have been experiencing lately, their schedule is about to get pretty easy – including 13 games in a row against either the White Sox or Tigers – while the Indians are about to go do battle against the Red Sox and Yankees. But first, the Twins need to get past the Brewers and Rangers with minimal damage. The last month and a half of the regular season is going to be exciting, to say the least.

Injury Updates

  • Brewers OF Christian Yelich managed to come into Sunday’s game to pinch hit one unproductive at-bat, despite his nagging back pain. The Brewers hope he’ll be back on the field soon, as he’s leading all of baseball with 39 home runs this season. It would be a shame if this injury keeps him from getting a 50 HR/30 SB season (he currently has 23 stolen bags).
  • Blue Jays RP Ken Giles sat out a save situation on Saturday because his arm is still bothering him. Giles already had one stint on the IL this season for elbow inflammation, and had a cortisone shot at the end of July to try to alleviate some of the pain. He’s been fire on the mound when he has been able to play this season, with 15 saves, 61 Ks, and a 1.95 ERA over 37 innings.
  • Cardinals catcher/future HOFer Yadier Molina has been sidelined with a thumb injury for what seems like forever. It sounds like he’s heading back to the lineup on Tuesday, and not a moment too soon, as his team is just 2 games behind the Cubs for the top spot in the NL Central, and and currently in the running for a Wild Card spot.
  • The Cubs relievers have been dropping like flies, and now have added trusty workhorse Steve Cishek to the IL. The good news for Chicago is that closer Craig Kimbrel is set to rejoin the team on Wednesday, and Brandon Kintzler is hoping for a Friday return.
  • Pablo Sandoval sat out a fourth straight start on Sunday, with “loose bodies in his throwing elbow” (WTF??), but was available to pinch hit. Panda, who turned 33 on Sunday (is that all? Seems like he’s been around forever), may return to the lineup on Tuesday when the Giants take on the A’s

Random Noteworthy Moments

Just a few other snippets of news from the weekend:

  • Ryan Yarbrough was pulled from the game on Sunday, just one out from pitching a complete game shutout against the Mariners.
  • Yasiel Puig hit his first HR in a Cleveland uniform. Ok that’s an understatement. He absolutely LAUNCHED his first HR in a Cleveland uniform.

  • The Giants plan to retire 1989 World Series great Will Clark’s number 22 next season.
  • Jays recent call-up Bo Bichette is on an absolute tear. In his 14 games in the bigs so far, he’s managed to hit doubles in nine games in a row, launch 4 home runs, and knock in 7 RBI. Welcome to the show, indeed.

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.