For occasional updates on author appearances, interviews, and book reviews.
For occasional updates on author appearances, interviews, and book reviews.
Hi-ho, boys and girls. Back from vacation in New Mexico. As you might know, I have a small hat collection, but the caveat is that a) I have to be in the city that hosts the teams or b) if it’s a gift, same thing for the giftor (not that I’m hinting or anything). In other words, I can’t just stop into a Lids at the mall or buy it online. So thanks to multiple plane changes and locations, we made found ourselves in four major and minor league towns: El Paso, Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver, but the only one I got was for the El Paso Chihuahuas, the AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres, purchased at the airport. “Technically,” since we were in the other locales, I could buy those caps anywhere, but at my age, this is starting to seem a bit silly to me.
Had a chance to catch the All-Star Game but wouldn’t you know, I was in another room when Alex Bregman hit the game-winning home run. Drat my timing. He had entered the game in the sixth, hitting into a fielder’s choice and beating the throw to first to avoid a double play. He also struck out in the eighth. But in the 10th…
Bregman became only the second JML to hit an All-Star home run, joining Al Rosen who hit both of his in a single game to help the AL beat the NL 11-9 in 1954.
Here are some more pertinent clips from Tuesday’s 8-6 AL victory, the sixth straight for the junior circuit.
And leave us not forget his performance in the previous evening’s Home Run Derby:
Having seen what’s happened to past HRD participants, let’s hope Bregman doesn’t break down in the second half.
All in all , it was a great time for the first-time All-Star:
During the first “half” — never really a half since the teams have all played more than 81 games — here’s Bregman’s line (all stats courtesy Baseball-Reference.com). By the way, the Houston Astros have the second-best record in the American League at 64-35, leading the Western Division by five games over the Seattle Mariners.
Time doesn’t permit me to go into great detail on the rest of the JMLs, but here are their records with just a comment or two…
Gabe Kapler started out slowly as the new skipper for the Philadelphia Phillies. His unorthodox (no halacha intended) manner had some calling for his ouster after just a couple of weeks. But now he’s got the Phils in first place in the NL East at 53-42, a half game ahead of the Braves.
Jeremy Bleich, Oakland A’s (55-42, third in AL West). The latest JML, the 31-year-old lefty pitcher made his debut on July 13 and it did not go well. He entered the game against the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and gave up a two-run double then hit the next batter. Bleich was then relieved and his two responsibilities came around, leaving him with no innings, one hit, one HBP, and an ERA of infinity. (By the way, during my vacation I was reading Keith Law’s fascinating book, Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball. It’s given me a whole new perspective on evaluating players. Highly recommended.)
Richard Bleier, Baltimore Orioles (28-39, fifth in AL East). Bleier was probably the best pitcher on the woeful O’s. He hit a bit of a snag shortly before an injury put him on the disabled list for the rest of the year.
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (55-43, second in NL Central). We can all agree this has been a disappointing half-season for the Hebrew Hammer, who has appeared in just 71 of the team’s 98 games, suffering through a bunch of nagging injuries and currently on the DL (20 days missed).
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves (52-42, second in NL East). The second year hurler has been up and down with the Braves. He had one brilliant game then went on the DL with blister issues on July 6 and is yet to return (14 days lost).
Ty Kelly, NY Mets (39-55, tied for last in NL East). Kelly — who played for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and has been deemed “kosher” by the powers that be — rejoined the Mets as a free agent in January. They brought him up on July 9.
Ian Kinsler, LA Angels (49-48, fourth in AL West) also spent some time (13 days) on the DL with an ab muscle problem. Some teams offer “mid-season report cards.” Here’s his (and it’s pretty harsh).
Speaking of Kinsler, on this date in 2009:
Joc Pederson, LA Dodgers (53-43, first in NL West). A slow start — when he did actually start as opposed to coming in as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement — didn’t prevent Pederson from having a great June in which he hit 10 of his 13 home runs.
Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (43-52, fourth in AL East) is the latest JML to go on the DL after jamming his shoulder just before the break. Of course it came making one of his fine defensive plays. Looks like he’s going to be out a considerable amount of time. A shande.
Ryan Sherriff, St. Louis Cardinals (48-46, third in NL Central) is also out for the year, having appeared in just five games.
Richard Stock, San Diego Padres (40-59, fifth in NL West) made his debut on June 24, striking out two and allowing one hit against the host San Frsancisco Giants. he was sent down after three more appearances.
Danny Valencia, Orioles, has had a pretty good season considering.
Zach Weiss, Cincinnati Reds (43-53, fifth in NL Central). Like Bleich, Weiss had an inauspicious debut in 2018. He gave up back-to-back home runs to the first two batters he faced against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 12 then walked two more before departing. ERA: Infinity. That was his only outing in the bigs.
Joc Pederson drove in what ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>proved to be the game-winning run for the LA Dodgers (51-42) on a single in the seventh in their 3-2 win over the host San Diego Padres. He also had a double (#16) — which broke up a no-hit bid by the Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross — in three at-bats plus a walk. The Dodgers are now in first place in the NL West.
Ian Kinsler was 3-for-5 and drove in three runs for the host LA Angels (48-46) in the9r 11-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Alex Bregman hit his 30th double and drove in half of the Houston Astros’ (62-34) runs but is wasn’t enough to prevent them from losing 6-4 to the visiting Oakland A’s. It was Bregman’s only hit in four at-bats. The hit gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the third.
Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 as the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the host Boston Red Sox, 6-4. It wa the q0th win in a row fore the Sox and gave them 66 wins, the record for most Ws prior to the All-Star break.
Danny Valencia did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (26-68) in their 5-4 loss to Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (52-40).
Heading out to New Mexico for a little vacation.
Because it’s not hot enough in New Jersey.
Danny Valencia struck out twice in three at-bats as the Baltimore Orioles (26-67) were skunked by the visiting NY Yankees, 9-0.
Ty Kelly did not appear for the NY Mets (37-53) in their 3-0, 10-inning walk-off win — courtesy of a pinch-hit home run by Brandon Nimmo — over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies (51-40), managed by Gabe Kapler.
Fun fact: this was the first time in five years that the Yankees and Mets both won shutouts on the same day.
Kevin Pillar grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and remained in the game in center as the Toronto Blue Jays (42-49) lost to the host Atlanta Braves (51-40), 9-2.
Ian Kinsler was 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch as the LA Angels (47-46) lost to the visiting Seattle Mariners, 3-0.
Joc Pederson appeared only as a defensive replacement for the LA Dodgers (50-42) in their 4-2 win over the host San Diego Padres.
Alex Bregman was 2-for-4 with a run scored but the Houston Astros (62-33) lost to the visiting Oakland A’s, 8-2. Bregman has been named as one of the contestants in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. Let’s hope he doesn’t have HR fatigue, as has happened to numerous hitters before. Although he does have some experience in events like this:
On the DL: Richard Bleier, (Orioles), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers), Ryan Sherriff (St. Louis Cardinals), Max Fried (Braves).
Just remembered: Robert Stock was demoted by the Padres, but I did a story about him and his brother when they were both members of the NJ Jackals a couple of years ago.
Alex Bregman hit two solo homers to raise his season total to 19, but the main story is how he was involved in the bizarre way the Houston Astros (62-32) beat the visiting Oakland A’s, 6-5, in 11 innings. Bregman was 2-for-5 with a walk.
Kevin Pillar was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays (42-48) beat the host Atlanta Braves (50-40), 6-2. Max Fried did not appear for the Braves.
Ian Kinsler was 1-for-5 with an RBI as the LA Angels (47-45) beat the visiting Seattle Mariners, 9-3.
Ty Kelly was 0-for-4 as the starting left fielder for the NY Mets (36-53) in their 7-3 loss to Gabe Kapler’s visiting Philadelphia Phillies (51-39).
Danny Valencia did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles in their 6-5 walk-off win over the visiting NY Yankees.
Joc Pederson did not appear for the LA Dodgers (49-42) in their 4-1 loss to the host San Diego Padres.
Welcome, Ty Kelly, to the “newest” JML.
This is what I wrote about Kelly when I was still with the NJ Jewish News back in 2016:
You have not heard of him, my friends, because, going by the guidelines of the Jewish Sports Review, Kelly is not a MOT: neither of his parents are Jewish nor is he a convert. But according to Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ vice-president of media relations, Kelly has Jewish grandparents, which is basically all one needs to compete for a national team. I’m not sure what the Mets would do with him, or what his choice would be, come time for the WBC games: would he still want to represent and would the Mets allow it? Would they continue to pay his pro rated Major League salary (doubt it).
In fact, Kelly’s mother, Diane, is Jewish so JSR has apparently reversed that “edict.” And here’s today’s article by Scott Barancik of JewishBaseballNews.com.
Kelley entered the first game as a defensive replacement at third base in a double switch, going 0-for-2 as the Mets (36-52) won, 5-4in 10 innings, on another walk-off home run by Wilmer Flores, 5-4. Kelly was also a double-switched defensive replacement in the nightcap, hitless in one at-bat, as the Mets lost 3-1. Both teams managed just two hits apiece, but one of them was a bases-clearing double by pitcher Aaron Nola.
Danny Valencia‘s three-run homer was the game-winner as the Baltimore Orioles beat the visiting NY Yankees 5-4 in the first game of their doubleheader. It was his ninth of the year and his only hit in three at-bats, breaking an 0-for-23 skid, as well as the O’s six-game losing streak.
Valencia was 0-for-4 in the second game, a 10-2 loss for Baltimore (25-66).
Joc Pederson was 0-for-5 with an RBI as the LA Dodgers (49-41) beat the host San Diego Padres, 8-2.
Alex Bregman had one of the Houston Astros’ (61-32) five hits in their 2-0 loss to the visiting Oakland A’s. Mazel tov is in order as he was named to his first All-Star team, as a reserve. He was only JML — at this point — to be honored thusly.
Everyone else either had the day off or is on the DL
Alex Bregman was 4-for-11 with five runs scored, three RBIs, his 29th double, and 17th home run as the Houston Astros (61-31, first in the AL West) swept the visiting Chicago White Sox. The double and homer (sixth inning) came in Saturday’s 12-6 win.
Kevin Pillar was just 2-for-10 as the Toronto Blue Jays (41-48, fourth in the AL East) dropped two of three to the visiting NY Yankees., but one of those hits was his eighth home run, good for two to put his mates on the board in the second inning of an 8-5 loss on Saturday. He drove in another on a sacrifice fly.
Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers, 54-36, first in NL Central) was 1-for 4 in Friday’s 5-4 win over the visiting Atlanta Braves on Friday and struck out as a pinch-hitter on Saturday in a 5-1 loss. He did not appear yesterday in a Brewers win. That’s because the Brewers placed him on the 10-day DL with back issues.
And it almost seemed inevitable: the Braves (50-39, second in NL East) placed Max Fried on the 10-day disabled list with a blister.
Joc Pederson was 0-7 as a starter in the first two games for the LA Dodgers (48-41, second in NL West) and 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter yesterday when he “struck out” batting for Yasiel Puig, who had to come out in mid-at-bat because of an injury. So Pederson ended the appearance with one swing, but the strikeout was actually charged to Puig’s account. The Dodgers dropped two of three to the cross-town (sort of) LA Angels (46-45, fourth in the AL West).
Ian Kinsler was 2-for-9 with a run scored for the Angels.
Danny Valencia was 0-for-8 in starts on Saturday and Sunday for the Baltimore Orioles (23-55, last in the AL East). He didn’t appear in Friday’s game. All losses to the host Minnesota Twins.
The San Diego Padres (39-53, last in the NL West) sent pitcher Robert Stock back to the minors.
And look who’s atop the NL East: Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies. They took two out of three against the host Pittsburgh Pirates to improve to 49-38 after winning eight of their last 10.
Atlanta Braves (49-37) starter Max Fried didn’t fare as well as his previous outing, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks and taking the 7-2 loss against the host Milwaukee Brewers (52-35) in a battle of first-place teams. He struck out one and unleashed a wild pitch. Blisters are the culprit here, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ryan Braun was 0-for-4.
Danny Valencia was also 0-for-4 as the Baltimore Orioles (24-62) lost to the host Minnesota Twins, 5-2.
Alex Bregman‘s 28th double (second in the AL) was his only hit in four at-bats. he also scored a run as the Houston Astros (58-31) plated two in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 win over the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Ian Kinsler was 1-for-4 and scored the only run for the LA Angels (44-44) in their 4-1 loss to the host Seattle Mariners.
Robert Stock did not appear for the San Diego Padres (38-51) in their 6-3 win over the host Arizona Diamondbacks.
Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI as the Houston Astros (57-31) beat the host Texas Rangers in 10 innings, 5-4.
Joc Pederson was 0-for-4 with a walk as the LA Dodgers 47-39) beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-4.
Ryan Braun entered the game as a pinch-hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers (51-35), striking out in the eight. He remained in the 3-2 win over the isiting Minnesota Twins without another trip to the plate.
Ian Kinsler did not appear for the LA Angels (44-43) in their 7-4 win over the host Seattle Mariners.
Kevin Pillar did not appear for the Toronto Blue Jays (40-46) in their 6-3 loss to the visiting NY Mets.
Robert Stock did not appear for the San Diego Padres (37-51) in their 4-2 loss to the host Oakland A’s.
Max Fried did not pitch for the Atlanta Braves (49-36) in their 6-2 loss to the host NY Yankees. He’s scheduled to make the start tonight against the Brewers.
Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (47-37) beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles (24-61), 4-1. Danny Valencia lined out as a pinch-hitter to lead off the ninth. Considering their start, could Kapler really be a candidate for Manager of the Year?
Remember when they used to have holiday doubleheaders? Two of the first games I ever went to were comprised of a July 4 twinbill at Yankee Stadium against the Cleveland Indians. This was a reward for perfect attendance at Hebrew school at the Woodruff Avenue Temple in Brooklyn, so I must have been 11 or 12. The seats were in the bleachers, next to the visiting bullpen. I recall one of their pitchers, maybe it was Mike Paul, making faces at us. Anyway…
And again. Joc Pederson led off the game for the LA Dodgers (46-39) by hitting the first pitch he saw for his 13th home run of the year and second of this young month. The Dodgers beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-3. According to those new-fangled stats, it was the hardest home run hit by a Dodger since 2015 and traveled an estimated 437-feet.
Alex Bregman was 2-for-5 with a run scored as the Houston Astros (56-31) beat the host Texas Rangers, 5-3. Is an All-Star Game in his immediate future? After all, he was named AL Player of the Month for June.
Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 for the Toronto Blue Jays (40-45), who overcame a 6-1 deficit to beat the visiting NY Mets, 8-6.
Ian Kinsler was 0-for-3, batting in the seventh slot, as the LA Angels (43-43) lost to the host Seattle Mariners, 4-1.
Ryan Braun struck out twice in three at bats before coming out of the game with the visiting Minnesota Twins in the sixth with lower back tightness…again. The Milwaukee Brewers (50-35) won the game, 2-0.
Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (46-37) beat the Baltimore Orioles (24-60), 3-2. Danny Valencia struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Max Fried did not appear for the Atlanta Braves (49-35) in their 8-5 loss to the host NY Yankees. He takes the hill tomorrow against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Robert Stock did not appear for the San Diego Padres in their 6-2 loss to the host Oakland A’s.
Getting closer: Craig Breslow was promoted from the Jays’ AA affiliate in New Hampshire to AAA Buffalo.