JML update, August 22, 2018 (Games of Aug. 21)

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Ryan Braun came on a defensive substitution in the sixth inning, batting ninth. He had a single and RBI double in two at-bats, but the Milwaukee Brewers (7-58) lost to the visiting Cincinnati Reds,  9-7. That double — a two-strike bullet into the gap — tied the game at 7-7 in the eighth.

Kevin Pillar hit his 35th double, his only hit in four at-bats, as the Toronto Blue Jays (57-69) beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles, 8-2. Pillar scored one of those runs.

Ian Kinsler was 0-for-3 with an RBI as the Boston Red Sox (88-39) were doubled up by the visiting Cleveland Indians, 6-3.

Robert Stock picked up his first Major League hold on the strength of a perfect 1.1 innings of relief as the San Diego Padres (50-78) held off the host Colorado Rockies, 4-3. Nice piece on him in the San Diego Union.

Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 as the Houston Astros held off the host Seattle Mariners, 3-2, despite hitting into six double plays, including one by our boy. The Astros have lost seven of their last 10 are are deadlocked with the Oakland A’s for first in the AL West.

Joc Pederson was 1-for-5 as the LA Dodgers lost to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 5-2. The Astros have lost seven of their last 10.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (68-57) lost to the host Washington Nationals, 10-4. Like the Brewers, they are 4-6 over their last ten games. The dog days of summer are messing with “our” teams’ playoff chances.

Not Mt, but still fun:


JML update, August 21, 2018 (Games of Aug. 20)

Posted on: August 21st, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Kevin Pillar had two doubles in four at-bats, scored a run, and drove in another as the Toronto Blue Jays (56-69) beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles, 5-3. Sorry, but why is he getting so much grief over his baserunning blunder on Saturday against the Yankees? Am I just too sensitive about it? Yes, agreed, it was not a smart move. But it’s not like that one play cost the Jays the pennant. Chill.

Ryan Braun was 1-for-3 with a run scored as the Milwaukee Brewers (70-57) beat the visiting Cincinnati Reds, 5-3.

Alex Bregman had one of the Houston Astros’ five hits in their 7-4 loss to the visiting Seattle Mariners. He also scored a run. The ‘Stros (75-50) are now tied with the Oakland A’s for first place in the AL West. By the way, Bregman (38) and Pillar (34) are in the top 10 AL hitters in doubles. In addition, Braun is 18 shy of 1,000 runs scored.

Ian Kinsler was 1-for-5 as the Boston Red Sox (88-38) fell to the visiting Cleveland Indians, 5-4.

Joc Pederson walked as a pinch-hitter for the LA Dodgers (67-59) in their 5-3 loss to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies had the day off as did Robert Stock and the San Diego Padres.



JML update, Weekend Edition (Games of August 17-29, 2018)

Posted on: August 20th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Ian Kinsler returned to the lineup for the Boston Red Sox (88-37, first in the AL East with the best record in baseball), going 0-for-6 with a walk and an RBI as his team took two of three from the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

Alex Bregman was 4-for-13 including his 23rd and 24th home runs, three runs scored, three RBIs, and three walks but the Houston Astros dropped two of three to the hard-charging Oakland A’s. Prior #23, Bregman hadn’t hit a long ball in 19 days, leading arched eyebrows over the Home Run Derby “curse.” The Astros are 75-49, in first place in the AL West by one game over the A’s, having lost seven of their last nine games.

Ryan Braun struck out as a pinch hitter on Friday and was 0-for-3 yesterday after sitting out Saturday’s contest as the Milwaukee Brewers (69-57, second in the NL Central by 3.5 games) dropped two of three to the host St. Louis Cardinals.

Kevin Pillar was 4-for-12 with his 32nd double, a run scored, and two RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays (55=69, fourth in the AL East) were swept by the host NY Yankees. He took some heat from his manager John Gibbons following an ill-timed and unsuccessful stolen base attempt in Saturday’s loss.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-9 with two walks and a run scored as the LA Dodgers (67-58, third in the NL West) took two of three from the visiting Seattle Mariners.

In his only appearance on the weekend, Robert Stock struck out three, walked one, and allowed a hit in 1.1 innings on Friday for the San Diego Padres (49-78, fifth in the NL West) in their 9-4 loss to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. Scott Barancik of JewishBaseballNews.com sent this link to an emotional radio interview.

Max Fried looked a little rusty in his rehab start for the Gwinnett Stripers on Friday. He gave up three runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4.1 innings in what was ultimately an 8-0 loss to the Buffalo Bisons. He’s scheduled to make one more rehab start before a possible return to the Atlanta Braves.

The visiting NY Mets took two of three contests against Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (68-56, second in the NL East by a half game) following a doubleheader split on Aug. 16.


JML update, August 17, 2018 (Games of Aug. 16)

Posted on: August 17th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Not much action, as is not unusual for a Thursday…

Kevin Pillar was 2-for-4 with his 30th double of the year but the Toronto Blue Jays (55-66) fell to the host KC Royals, 6-2.

Robert Stock threw one shutout inning of relief (two walks, two strikeouts) as the San Diego Padres lost to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies had an epic game in the opener of their doubleheader with the visiting NY Mets, and not in a good way. In fact, things were so bad in a 24-4 loss (A Mets record for most runs in a game)  that a) the leadoff batter for the opposition homered on the first pitch of the game; b)one pitcher game up seven runs in one inning and none of them were earned; and c) they had not one but two position players take a turn on the mound. The Phillies (67-54) won the night cap, 9-6.

The Boston Red Sox are expected to reinstate Ian Kinsler from the disabled list for tonight’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. Meanwhile it was hopeful that the Milwaukee Brewers will not have to put Ryan Braun on the DL following the rib injury he sustained trying to make a catch. Max Fried makes a rehab start tonight for the Atlanta Braves’ AAA affiliate.

Former JML Nate Freiman is now serving as ex-Major Leaguer in residence for FanGraphs.com.

Finally, here’s something you don’t see every day.


JML update, August 16, 2018 (Games of Aug. 15)

Posted on: August 16th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Here we go again. Just when things were improving, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun had to leave yesterday’s 8-4 loss to the visiting Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning after injury his rib cage on this play. He was 0-for-2 before coming out for a pinch hitter in the fifth.

I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Braun was DL- bound…again. In the meantime, this food for thought: should the Brewers (68-55) retire his number 8 when the time comes? Personally, I think that’s a tad premature.

Alex Bregman hit his 38th double in four at-bats, scoring one run and driving in another on a sacrifice fly as the Houston Astros (74-47) beat up the visiting  Colorado Rockies, 12-1. With 74 ribbies, he has a legitimate shot at 100.

Kevin Pillar was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and drove in the first two runs — one in the second inning and another in the fourth — as the Toronto Blue Jays (55-65) beat the host KC Royals, 6-5. Hard to believe, but Pillar is currently the longest-serving player on his team.

Joc Pederson drove in a run the first fun of the game on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter as the LA Dodgers beat the visiting San Fransisco Giants, 4-3, in 12 innings.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (66-53) beat the visiting Boston Red Sox (86-36), 7-4. Look for the Sox to activate Ian Kinsler from the DL tomorrow.

Robert Stock did not appear for the San Diego Padres (48-75) in their 3-2 loss to the visiting LA Angels.

Five days after designating him for assignment, the Baltimore Orioles released Danny Valencia, making him a free agent. At least two sources suggest the Yankees snatch him up quickly.

Baltimore Orioles' Danny Valencia connects for a single against the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 27, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo | Gail Burton)


JML update, August 15, 2018 (Games of Aug. 14)

Posted on: August 15th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Unfortunately, these things are getting easier between the MOTs designated for assignment (Ty Kelly, Danny Valencia) and the disabled list (Ian Kinsler, Max Fried, Richard Bleier, Ryan Sherriff).

Braun bops! Ryan Braun hit two home runs in his first two at-bats to help the Milwaukee Brewers (68-54) beat the host Chicago Cubs, 7-0. The first blast came in the first with a runner on. The next — giving Braun 14 on the year and 35th at Wrigley over his career — came in the third, also with one on.

Kevin Pillar hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning that gave the Toronto Blue Jays (54-65) the come-from-behind 6-5 win over the host Kansas City Royals. He also had a two- RBI single in the third.

Alex Bregman was 0-for-3 with a walk as the Houston Astros (73-47) continue to sputter, losing to the visiting Colorado Rockies, 5-1.

Robert Stock gave up an unearned run on one hit, a walk, and a strikeout in two innings as the San Diego Padres (48-74) lost to the visiting LA Angels, 7-3.

Joc Pederson came on as a defensive replacement as was 0-for-1 one as the LA Dodgers (64-57) were edged, 2-1, by the visiting San Francisco Giants.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (65-53) lost to the visiting Boston Red Sox, 2-1.


JML update, August 14, 2018 (Games of Aug. 13)

Posted on: August 14th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

In limited MOT action…

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-3 as the Toronto Blue Jays (53-65) lost to the host KC Royals, 3-1.

Joc Pederson grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and remained in the game in left as the LA Dodgers lost to the visiting San Francisco Giants, 5-2.

Robert Stock did not appear for the San Diego Padres in their 10-inning, 6-3 loss to the visiting LA Angels.

Max Fried is nearing a rehab assignment for the Atlanta Braves, who swept a doubleheader from the Miami Marlins, 9-1 and 6-1.


JML update, weekend edition (Games of August 10-12, 2018)

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (73-46, first in the AL West) was 2-for-4 with his 37th double and one of the two runs his team scored in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Seattle Mariners. The next day he was 1-for-3 with a walk in a 3-2 loss. On Sunday, Bregman — who participated in this meet and greet —  singled twice in four official at-bats (he also walked), scored one run and drove in another as the Mariners completed a series sweep that began on Thursday. Their lead over the Seattle is down to 2.5 games.

Joc Pederson, LA Dodgers (64-55, second in the NL West) was 0-for-5 on Friday in a 5-4 loss and 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter a 4-3 loss on Sunday to the host Colorado Rockies. He did not play on Saturday.

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (67-54, second in NL Central) did not play in Friday’s 10-1 loss to the host Atlanta Braves. He was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI the next day in a 4-2 win and made this catch, which the announcer opined it might be the best of Braun’s career (note the “catch probability” stat). He was 2-for-5 with a double (#18) on Sunday in an 8-7 loss.

Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (53-64, fourth in AL East), was 0-for-3 in a 7-0 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Friday; 0-for-3 in a 3-1 loss on Saturday; and had a pinch-hit double (#29) and scored what proved to the the deciding run  — upheld upon review — in a 2-1 win on Sunday. He was unsuccessful in a subsequent at bat.

Robert Stock, San Diego Padres  (48-72, fifth in NL West) gave up two hits and struck out four in 2.2 shutout innings on Saturday in a 5-1 loss to  Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (65-52, tied for first NL East)

Ian Kinsler remains on the DL for the Boston Red Sox. Likewise for Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves. Not mentioning the other two MOTs who are out for the rest of the year. Oh, all right: Richard Bleier (Baltimore Orioles) and Ryan Sherriff (St. Louis Cardinals).

Finally, the Orioles designated utility man Danny Valencia for assignment on Sunday. He had nine hone runs and 28 RBIs in 282 plate appearances over 78 games during which time he played third base, right field, first base, designated hitter, and even had a turn on the mound. If Valencia  gets picked up, he could be playing for his eighth team in nine seasons. What does that say about him? That no team wants to hold on to him for an extended period, or that so many want him?

Image result for danny valencia pitch


What’s in a name?

Posted on: August 10th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

One of MLB’s newer attempts to separate fans from their money is this “Player’s Weekend” thing in which the athletes wear jerseys with their nicknames. Some are inventive, others are just lazy. Here are the one’s we’re interested in:

  • Richard Bleier: Dickie-B
  • Ryan Braun: Ocho (I assume because he wears number 8)
  • Alex Bregman: A-Breg
  • Max Fried: Maximus
  • Ian Kinsler: Boostie (I like that one; old school)
  • Joc Pederson: King
  • Kevin Pillar: KP (eye roll)
  • Robert Stock: Crecth
  • Danny Valencia: Slugger (eye roll redux)


JML update, August 10, 2018 (Games of Aug. 9)

Posted on: August 10th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Joc Pederson‘s pinch-hit home run gave the LA Dodgers (64-52) a 2-1 lead over the host Colorado Rockies in the seventh. It was the 18th long-ball for Pederson who remained in the game and struck out to end the ninth after the Dodgers scored three for the 8-5 win.

Kevin Pillar was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base as the Toronto Blue Jays (52-62) broke the visiting Boston Red Sox’s (81-35) winning streak with an 8-5 win.

Alex Bregman was 1-for-5 out of the lead-off spot as the Houston Astros (73-43) lost to the Seattle Mariners, 8-6. Here’s a nice story on “Astros’ Leader In Helping Others? The Alex Bregman He Won’t Let You See.”

Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 as the Milwaukee Brewers (66-52) lost to the visiting San Diego Padres, 8-4. Robert Stock did not appear for the Padres (46-71). Here’s a not-so-nice story asking if Braun should be reduced to a part-time player. Sad.

Danny Valencia did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (35-80) who lost to the host Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies were off yesterday.

On the DL:

  • Ian Kinsler, Boston
  • Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
  • Richard  Bleier, Orioles
  • Ryan Sherriff, St. Louis Cardinals



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