JML update, June 20, 2018 (Games of June 19)

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy Jewishbaseballnews.com

Joc Pederson got the LA Dodgers off on the right foot when he knocked the second pitch of their first game of a twinbill with the host Chicago Cubs out of the park for a home run, his ninth of the season and eighth this month. It was his only hit in three at-bats (plus a walk) before coming out for a pinch-hitter in the ninth. The Dodgers (38-34) took the opener, 4-3. He entered the nightcap as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and was walked intentionally when he came to bat in the ninth. The Cubs won 2-1 in 10.

In a weird coincidence, Ian Kinsler also hit a lead-off home run (on the third pitch) for an LA franchise. No. 10 on the year and seventh in June (joining Alex Bregman as the only MOTs in double digits) was the 48th such opener of his career and was the margin of difference as the Angels (39-35) held off the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-4. Like Pederson, the dinger was Kinsler’s only hit in three at-bats plus a walk, but he also had an additional run scored.

Alex Bregman drove in the only run for the Houston Astros (49-26) in their 2-1 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. His RBI in the third tied the game at 1-1 as he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Bregman was 1-for-2 with two walks. The ‘Stros’ 12-game winning streak came to an end.

Kevin Pillar poked double #22, his only hit in four at-bats (run scored), as the Toronto Blue Jays (33-39) were chopped by the Atlanta Braves, 11-4.

Ryan Braun grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers (43-40) beat the host Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-2.

Danny Valencia was 0-f0r-3 with a walk and a run scored as the Baltimore Orioles (20-51) fell to the host Washington Nationals, 9-7. According to thesportsdaily.com, “Danny Valencia (119 wRC+), Adam Jones (108), and Mark Trumbo (103) join [Manny] Machado as the only players on the roster with an above-average wRC+ so far this season.” For the uninitiated among you, according the MLB.com’s glossary, “wRC+ takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for important external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.” Uh-huh. That clears that up, thanks.

Image result for wrc+

As was feared, Richard Bleier, who was having a fantastic season with a lousy team, is done for the year. He underwent “successful” surgery on Tuesday to repair an injured lat. Don’t mean to be a downer, but wouldn’t you have to wait until he tries throwing again to see if was truly successful?

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (38-33) lost to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 7-6.


JML update, June 19, 2018 (Games of June 18)

Posted on: June 19th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Alex Bregman does it again! He had just one hit in five at-bats but he made it count. Bregman’s two-run double (#22) with one out in the bottom of the ninth gave the Houston Astros (49-25) their 12th straight win, a come-from-behind 5-4 decision over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

Ian Kinsler had a single and his 14th double in five at-bats, but the LA Angels (38-35) lost to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-4.

The Milwaukee Brewers (42-30) managed just two hits in their 1-0 loss to the host Pittsburgh Pirates and neither of them were by Ryan Braun who was o-for-4 with two strikeouts. Scott Barancik of JewishBaseballNews.com pointed out that Braun became just the 24th player in MLB history to amass 300 home runs and 200 stolen bases. Kinsler has 232 steals but trails with 243 homers.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (38-32) beat the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 6-5, in 10 innings.

The game between Joc Pederson‘s LA Dodger and the host Chicago Cubs was postponed by weather.

Kevin Pillar and the Toronto Blue Jays had the day off, as did Danny Valencia and the Baltimore Orioles.


JML update, Weekend Edition (Games of June 15-17, 2018)

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Not quite the fireworks we had last weekend

One of the very few bright spots for the Baltimore Orioles, Richard Bleier is probably done for the year, the victim of a lat strain he suffered June 13. Here’s wishing him well.

But the show must go one. The O’s — with the worst record in the Majors at 20-50 (fifth/last in the AL East) — lost two of three to the visiting Miami Marlins. Danny Valencia was 0-for-3 in Friday’s 2-0 loss; had two singles and an RBI in four at-bats in Saturday’s 5-4 loss; and did not appear in yesterday’s 10-4 win.

Kevin Pillar was hitless in the first two games as the Toronto Blue Jays (33-38, fourth in the AL East) hosted the Washington Nationals. But he had two hits, including his 23 double, plus a run scored, an RBI, and his 10th stolen base in yesterday’s 6-5 win over the former Montreal Expos to complete a three-game sweep.

Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 on Friday as the host Milwaukee Brewers (42-29, first in the NL Central) beat up on Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (37-32, third in the NL East), 13-5. He had two singles in four AB’s in Saturday’s 4-1 loss in which he also picked up the 200th stolen base of his career, making him a member of what I have to assume is one of those “elite clubs” with his 300 homers and 200 swipes, the third-highest in Brewers’ franchise history. Braun was o-for-2 yesterday as the Brewer’s dropped the rubber game, 10-9, coming up one run short when they scored four in the bottom of the ninth. Braun struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and struck out. He remained in the game and fanned the following inning. This article on MLB.com cites Braun as “the Brewers’ unluckiest hitter.”

Joc Pederson was 0-for-3 out of the leadoff spot for the LA Dodgers in a 4-1 loss to the visiting San Francisco Giants yesterday, their only loss in the three-game series. Pederson appeared in the other two games as a defensive replacement. The Dodgers have quietly moved into second place in the NL West with their record of 37-33.

Ian Kinsler hit home run #9 on Friday, a solo shot in the fourth to help the LA Angels (38-34, third in the AL West) beat the host Oakland As, 8-4. After going hitless in four at-bats in Saturday’s 6-4 loss, he had a single and his 13th double in a 6-5, 11-inning loss yesterday.

Alex Bregman gets MOT of the Weekend honors. He was 5-for-13 including a double and two home runs (a solo shot on Friday and a three-run blast in the ninth on Saturday), making him the first JML to reach double figures in that category. He collected fivr RBIs and scored five runs in the three games as the Houston Astros swept the host KC Royals, extending their winning streak to 11 games. The ‘Stros have the best record in the Majors with a mark of 48-25 and lead the AL West.

You can catch up on the doings of the minor league MOTs here.


JML Update, June 15, 2018 (Games of June 14)

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

In the only MOT player action yesterday, Alex Bregman, batting in the leadoff spot, was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored as the Houston Astros (45-25) completed a three-game sweep of the host Oakland As with a 7-3 win. In fact, it was the eighth straight win for Houston.

Baltimore Orioles reliever Richard Bleier, who left Wednesday’s game with lat injury, is listed as “day-to-day” (aren’t we all?), but I’m willing to be he’ll go on the disabled list soon.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (35-31) beat the visiting Colorado Rockies, 9-3.

All the other boys had the day off. Here are a couple of articles about Joc Pederson‘s improvement over the last few weeks. But consistency is the key.

And finally, remember Nate Freiman?



JML Update, June 14, 2018 (Games of June 13)

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

That’s just great. Richard Bleier was having a great season — minus that momentary blip — for the Baltimore Orioles (19-48), perhaps the one bright spot in a disappointing season. But in yesterday’s 5-1 loss to the visiting Boston Red Sox, the lefty reliever left the game with an apparent lat injury after retiring the two batters he faced. Danny Valencia, again batting cleanup, had one of the team’s four hits. Hey, Mr. Announcer, how about paying attention instead of talking about hats: the ball did not hit him in the ankle, as you proclaimed. Bleier was scheduled to undergo an MRI today. According to EutawStreetReports.com (an Orioles-centric blog), “With just under seven weeks until the trade deadline, there’s virtually no chance a team will be able to deal for the injured left-hander now.”

Ian Kinsler hit his 12th double, his only hit in four at-bats as the host Seattle Mariners scopred two in the ninth to beat the LA Angels (37-32), 8-6. Kinsler also walked a scored a run.LA Angels

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 as the Toronto Blue Jays (30-38 ) lost to the host Tampa Bay Rays, 1-0, on a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth.

Ryan Braun was 0-for-3 for the Milwaukee Brewers (41-27), who also enjoyed a 1-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Joc Pederson entered the game for the LA Dodgers when Matt Kemp was ejected after this play at the plate. Pederson went 0-for-3 but the Dodgers (35-32) won the affair, 3-2, in 11 innings. According to JewishBaseballNews.com, for the moment Pederson has more home runs in June with seven than any other player

Alex Bregman was given a rare day off as the Houston Astros (44-25) beat the host Oakland As, 13-5.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (34-31), lost to the visiting Colorado Rockies, 7-2. Now that the Phils are having some problems again, there are impatient concerns about Kapler’s methods, although he did get this vote of confidence from the team’s general manager.

The Atlanta Braves swept the bumbling NY Mets yesterday and there’s no immediate need, but I’m hoping to see Max Fried back in the bigs soon. Yesterday he matched a career-high with seven innings and set a career best with 11 strikeouts, allowing just three hits and one earned run as the Gwinnett Stripers beat the Norfolk Tides, 10-2..

And finally, we’re all excited about the prospect of a new JML, but with all dues respect to the St. Louis Jewish Light, their headline — “Size didn’t prevent baseball whiz from making Major League” — is inaccurate. Michael Wielansky, the young man in question, hasn’t made anything yet; he was simply drafted in the 18th round of the MLB draft by the Houston Astros. And since the shortstop is currently 6’2″, 175,  I wonder where the size factor plays in on this. Yes, at one point he was quite short and small — weren’t we all? — but that’s no longer the case, making the “David and Goliath” theme a bit moot.

Michael Wielansky


JML Update, June 13, 2018 (Games of June 12)

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Where have all the home runs gone? Long time asking. After Friday’s glut, only one.

That was #8 for Joc Pederson, who blasted his seventh of June and fifth in his last seven games. This time it was a two-run, two-out job off the Ageless Wonder, Bartolo Colon, in the second inning. The LA Dodgers beat the visiting Texas Rangers, 12-5. Pederson, batting out of the eighth spot in the lineup, also cracked two doubles and scored an additional run.

Danny Valencia — batting cleanup and playing third — was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI as the Baltimore orioles (19-47) lost to the visiting Boston Red Sox, 6-4. Richard Bleier did not appear in the game for Baltimore.

Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 with a walk as the Houston Astros (43-25) beat the host Oakland A’s, 6-3.

Kevin Pillar had one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ (30-37) five hits in their 4-1 loss to the host Tampa Bay Rays.

Ian Kinsler was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored as the LA Angels (37-31) fell to the host Seattle Mariners, 6-3.

Ryan Braun did not appear for the Milwaukee Brewers (40-27) in their 4-0 shutout of the visiting Chicago Cubs. Just a day of rest.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies beat the visiting Colorado Rockies, 5-4.


Cleaning out my inbox

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

So I have a bunch of Google alerts set up to bring me the latest news on what the MOTs are up to in various sports. Unfortunately, I’ve been letting time slip away and it’s been building up. So in an effort to get clean again, here goes…


Hard to believe training camps are close to opening again. Should be an interesting season, if for no other reason than to see what the players and teams will do about the whole National Anthem business. It’s not within the purview of this blog to get deep into politics; if you want to know my feelings you can find them on Facebook, where I probably spend too much time.

Suffice it to say the biggest news on the field as far as we’re concerned will center around new Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Maybe we’re just being overly sensitive, but there already seems to be a lot of attention — relatively speaking, of course — paid to his religion, in a way that other players do not have to face, even the Jewish ones who are already in the league. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here are a few items on Rosen to chew on:

Of course, Rosen is not the only MOT in the NFL. There’s Nate Ebner, a special teams specialist for the New England Patriots who’s coming off a season-ending injury sustained in the ninth game last season. There’s Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now entering his fourth season (“Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy“). There Adam Bisnowaty, who signed with but never played for the NY Giants last season. They placed him on waivers and the Detroit Lions picked him up last month. And, arguably the best of the bunch, Mitchell Schwartz, another O-Man for the Kansas City Chiefs.

David Tepper became the ninth current Jewish NFL owner when he bought the Carolina Panthers in May, joining Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Robert Kraft (New England Patriots), Jeffrey Laurie (Philadelphia Eagles), Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins), Daniel Snyder ( Washington Redskins), Steven Tisch (NY Giants), and Zygi Wilf (Minnesota Vikings). Last month, Blank was named Sports Executive of the Year by The Sports Business Journal.

By the way, in case you were wondering, former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman returned to the Canadian Football League where he led the Toronto Argonauts to the Grey Cup, Canada’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.


If you consider Andre Burakovsky to be Jewish, then fine, there was a Jew on the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitols.

Other Jews in the League during the 2017-18 season included

  • Jason Zucker (Minnesota Wild) who enjoyed career highs in goals (33) and points (64)
  • Josh Ho-Sang (NY Islanders) who had more than his share of issues with his team
  • Brendan Leipsic, (Vancouver Canucks), who missed his chance to appear in the Cup finals when the Vegas Golden Knights traded him away
  • Jacob Chychrun (Arizona Coyotes), who missed time due to injuries.
  • Jason Demers (Arizona Coyotes)
  • Michael Cammalleri (Edmonton Oilers, the dean of Jewish hockey players with more than 900 games in the NHL
  • Zach Hyman (Toronto Maple Leafs), who may have a career in children’s literature waiting for him when he retires

And mazel tov to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who celebrated his 25th anniversary in that office.


I think we can all agree that the Golden State Warriors really screwed Omri Casspi when they released him with just two games remaining in the regular season. Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s a business. Here’s hoping the first Israeli to play in the NBA will find a new home. For awhile it looked as though that would be in Portland with the Trailblazers, but now I’m not so sure.

The other football

Sigh. Soccer.

In the MSL, we have

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (2-6-3, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (7-4-3, third in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (2-9-2, 12th — last — in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (6-7-2, eighth in West)

Sadly, most of the international soccer news seems to be anti-Semitic and/or anti-Zionist in nature.


Finally, here are a few items that fall under the general heading of “Jewish sports”:

There, all caught up. Now that there’s only baseball to worry about, things should be a little easier.


JML update, June 12, 2018 (Games of June 11)

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Danny Valencia returned to action after missing Sunday’s game because of illness. His double (#6) in five at-bats was one of five hits for the Baltimore Orioles (19-46) in a 2-0, 12-inning loss to the visiting Boston Red Sox. Richard Bleier struck out two in a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 1.97.

Ryan Braun was 1-for-4 with a walk as the Milwaukee Brewers fell out of a first-place tie with their 7-2 loss to the visiting Chicago Cubs. More important were the two great defensive plays he made.

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 as the Toronto Blue Jays  (30-36) fell to the host Tampa Bay Rays, 8-4.

Ian Kinsler was hitless in five trips to the plate as the LA Angels (37-30) lost to the host Seattle Mariners, 5-3.

Alex Bregman, Joc Pederson, Gabe Kapler and their respective teams had the day off.


JML update, Weekend edition, June 11, 2018 (Games of June 8-10)

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

What is going on with all these home runs? Not that any JML fan will be complaining…

On Friday, Ryan Braun had two in four at bats — one for three runs to start the scoring in the first, the other for two to make it 11-0; both came with two outs — as the visiting Milwaukee Brewers beat up Gabe Kapler‘s  slumping Philadelphia Phillies, 12-4. According to Statcast, the second was the hardest ball Braun has hit in three years, leaving the ballpark at 112.9 MPH. Amazing what they can keep track of these days, isn’t it? Braun — who now has eight home runs — was 4-for-8 in the two other games, including his 11th double and first triple, with an RBI in each game on Saturday (a 12-3 win) and Sunday (a 4-3 loss. This one was deemed the “Badger Mutual Insurance RBI of the Game”).  His good play carried over to the field with plays like the one below on Sunday. The Brewers are 39-26, first in the NL Central with the best record in the league. The Phillies, who have lost seven of their last 10, are 33-30, third in the NL East.

Also on Friday, Kevin Pillar hit his sixth of the year and third in his last seven games, a solo shot in the eighth that gave the host Toronto Blue Jays (30-35, third in the AL East) the final run in a 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles (19-44, last in the division). Two days later he hit #7 (solo) as the Jays crushed, 13-3. He also singled, scored another run, and drove in another.  In the in-between game on Saturday, Pillar was 2-for-5 in a 4-3, 10-inning win.

Danny Valencia was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the first game; 2-for-4 with a walk in the second game; and did not play in the finale due to illnes. Richard Bleier retired the one batter he faced for the weekend in the Saturday O’s win.

Also on Friday, Alex Bregman hit his eighth and second in his last seven games, a solo shot in the Houston Astros’ 7-3 win over the host Texas Rangers. He had a double (#20) the next day in a 4-3 win and his first triple on Sunday’s 8-7 controversial victory on a “retroactive balk,” so he missed a “cycle” for the weekend by a lousy single. The Astros are 42-25, tied with the Seattle Mariners for the top spot in the AL West.

Also on Friday, Ian Kinsler‘s seventh homer — into the second deck and good for two runs in the seventh inning — gave the visiting LA Angels the cushion they needed in their 4-2 win over the host Minnesota Twins on Prince Night. His eighth home run — and fifth so far in June — came the next day to give the Angels their first run in a 2-1 win, their sixth straight. On Sunday, he “rested” with just three singles and two runs scored in a 7-5 loss. The Angels are 37-29, third in the AL West.

And finally — also on Friday — Joc Pederson launched lucky #7 — his sixth in June — as the LA Dodgers beat the visiting Atlanta Braves, 7-3. He had a double in Saturday’s  5-3 loss and did not appear in Sunday’s 7-2 win. The Dodgers are 33-32, second in the NL West.

I’ve consulted with my experts, and the consensus is that Friday accounted for the most home runs by different Jews on a single day, as well as the most in total. Mazel tov, boychicks.


Jice-men finale: Caps win Stanley Cup

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

For the first time in their 43-year history, the Washington Capitols have won the NHL Championship, beating the upstart expansion Vegas Golden Knights last night, 4-3.

Andre Burakovsky — who had 9:38 of ice time — assisted on the game-winner by Lars Eller at 12:53 in the third period. It was his fourth assist in the championship round, whiuch Washington won, four games to one.

There’s still a question as to his Jewish identity. He has said he was not, but the Jewish Sports Review maintains he is. Robert Wechsler sent me this email regarding Jews on Stanley Cup-winning teams:

If we’re accepting Burakovsky as Jewish …


Sam Rothschild — 1926 Montreal Maroons

Alex Levinsky — 1932 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1938 Chicago Black Hawks
Larry Zeidel — 1952 Detroit Red Wings
Mathieu Schneider — 1993 Montreal Canadiens
Mike Hartman — 1994 New York Rangers
Andre Burakovsky — 2018 Washington Capitals
Cecil Hart — 1930 and 1931 Montreal Canadiens

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