8/3/20 – Weekend in Review: Judge is in Session, Cespedes Walks Away, Tigers Come out Roaring, Pujols is Still Smashing

Aaron Judge is a Beast

Blah blah Yankees blah blah blah.

Here’s the thing. I know I can’t be the only person on the planet that gets tired of hearing about the Yankees in the national spotlight like they’re the only team in baseball. How many Yankees/Red Sox match ups do we really need to see on national TV? Remember a few months ago when I pointed out how disproportionate the national broadcasts were going to be when they set the TV schedule through August? (This was way back in a golden era when we were supposed to have a normal season..sigh.. I miss those days.)

But dammit, there’s a reason the Yankees always end up front and center. They’re effing good, y’all.

This week. this particular effing good-ness comes in the form of an unstoppable Aaron Judge, who smashed moonshots in five games straight. Back in March, Judge’s season was in question as he was battling a fractured rib and punctured lung, but Judge was one of many players to benefit from the long delay in starting the season and managed to heal up quite nicely while MLB tried to figure out how to start the season amdist the global pandemic. Just eight games into the condensed season, Judge already has six home runs, 14 RBI, and a ridiculous 1.275 OPS.

Fun Fact: The last Yankee to hit bombs five games in a row was Alex Rodriguez back in 2007.

Yoenis Cespedes Walks Away

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 30: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Citi Field on July 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Twitter was ablaze Sunday with word that Mets DH Yoenis Cespedes hadn’t reported to Truist Park in Atlanta and was unreachable. Time ticked on slowly after word broke of the missing Cespedes, and people were speculating with all sorts of scenarios for what might have happened. Was he dead in a ditch? Was he in jail? Had he been kidnapped/left for dead/murdered? Perhaps he was merely sulking over his abysmal .161/.235/.387 slash as a DH.

Thankfully, Cespedes was found alive and well, as he announced via his agent that he was opting out of the season.

Cespedes, who hadn’t played since 2018, (nor had he played more than half a season since 2016), claimed that he was walking away from the 2020 season due to Covid concerns. This could be considered a valid reason for walking away, as teams keep cropping up with outbreaks and games are being cancelled. However, most people aren’t buying this story – there are rumbles of issues between Cespedes and the Mets organization, money issues, performance frustration… you name it, it’s probably a theory that’s floating out there.

Whatever the real story is, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll be back in 2021.

Relatively Unknown Tigers Reliever Makes History

In his second year in the bigs, left-handed Tigers reliever Tyler Alexander has certainly made a name for himself.

The shockingly decent this year 5-5 team has been circling the drain for a couple of years now – last year with a whopping 114 losses, and 98 losses the two seasons prior – so nobody has paid much attention to Detroit in general. But Alexander has brought some positive attention to the Motor City for the first time in quite some time as he faced and struck out NINE batters in a row during the first game in a doubleheader against the Royals. The feat tied starter Doug Fister’s AL record for consecutive strikeouts in a game, and broke the nearly forty-year-old record for a reliever. (The old record was held by Yankees reliever Ron Davis, who had struck out eight against the (then) California Angels in 1981.)

Alexander ended the day with 3 2/3 innings pitched with ten strikeout, one walk, no hits or earned runs in the loss to the Reds. Over his 57 2/3 previous big league innings, he had only averaged one strikeout per inning with 50 Ks since 2019. Had he not hit Mike Moustakas in the wrist on the 0-2 pitch, Alexander could have tied Tom Seaver’s Major League record of ten consecutive Ks set in 1970. The Tigers, who are excited to have something to celebrate, announced that the hat worn by their newest star during the game will be headed to the Hall of Fame.

Side note: Despite Alexander’s stellar outing, the Tigers still dropped both games of the doubleheader to the 3-5 Reds. Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer shut them out in his complete game (*seven-inning) outing, allowing just two hits and striking out seven.

Albert Pujols is THISCLOSE to catching Willie Mays

Albert Pujols is just two home runs away from tying the great Willie Mays and his 660 home runs on the all time leader list. His latest bomb came in the form of crushing a grand slam in the 6-5 loss to the Astros in extras on Sunday, and brought his total to 658 career homers. The 457-foot home run was his second of the season, and his fifteenth career grand slam.

Aside from Pujols’s big moment, a few other things to mention regarding the Angels:

  • Mike Trout and his wife Jessica welcomed their first child – a son named Beckham on Thursday. Trout is scheduled to return to his team on Tuesday. (Hopefully.)

  • Shohei Ohtani is awaiting results from an MRI on his right (throwing) arm. He felt some discomfort during the loss on Sunday and lasted just 1 2/3 innings after allowing two runs and five walks.

Other Noteworthy Items

  • The Dodgers got Clayton Kershaw back on the mound on Sunday and struck out six in his 2020 debut. Meanwhile, superstar Mookie Betts left the game right after Kershaw did thanks to a sore middle finger that he injured during his home-run-hitting at bat in the fifth.
  • The Phillies get to resume play now that the team seems to have contained their Covid positive tests. They’ll be facing the Yankees starting today in New York. They were set to play the Marlins in a three game series beginning Tuesday, and that series will be made up at a later date. (The Marlins are now going to resume play following their team outbreak against Baltimore starting Tuesday.)
  • Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy is recovering at a hospital in Wauwatosa, WI after suffering a heart attack during a team workout on Saturday.
  • Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke was perfect through five against the Angels on Saturday until Twitter started announcing his perfect game. The perfection was broken up after sixteen batters by Talyor Ward when he smashed a single into left. Following Ward’s single, Greinke gave up three straight hits and two runs. He ended his day going 5 2/3, allowing just those three hits and two earned runs.

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