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Posts Tagged ‘Max Fried’

 

JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of 9/22-24/17)

Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Can it really be that we’re down to the last week of the regular season? Where did the time go?

Ian Kinsler picked a bad time to get hot. Over the weekend, the second baseman was four-13, with a double (#35) and two home runs (#22), four RBIs, and three runs scored. But the Detroit Tigers (62-94) remained true to form for the season and dropped all three games to the visiting Minnesota Twins. Friday’s shot was another solo blast but his most recent came with two out in the bottom of the ninth yesterday, a — gasp — two-run shot to make the final score 10-4. Was this Kinsler’s last hurrah in a Tigers uni?

Oh, and that talk about Brad Ausmus returning in 2018? Forget it. But the NY Mets will be looking for a new skipper… Just sayin’. Can’t really blame the front office. He was given a good team a few years ago but things never really gelled, between poor performances and injuries. Of course, those happen to every team. The evidence of a good manager is dealing with it and still managing to win. Ausmus did a nice thing here by defending Kinsler’s disappointing season.

Alex Bregman was 2-for-10 with his 17th home run, a two-run blast in yesterday’s game that gave the Houston Astros (95-60) a temporary 2-1 lead in a game they would lose to the visiting LA Angels, 7-5. It was their only loss in the three-game set.

Ryan Braun was 4-for-13 with two doubles (26), two runs scored and an RBI as the Milwaukee Brewers (82-74) hurt their post-season chances by dropping two of three to the visiting Chicago Cubs. What does the future hold for him?

Kevin Pillar was 2-11 with his 37th double and 15th stolen base as the Toronto Blue Jays (73-83) took two of three from the visiting NY Yankees, winners of one of the AL Wild Card spots.

Joc Pederson was 1-for-1 with two walks as the LA Dodgers (99-57) beat the visiting San Francisco Giants yesterday, 3-1, taking two of their three games. It was his only outing on the weekend. He also stole his fourth base of the year.

Danny Valencia entered the Saturday game between his Seattle Mariners (75-81) and the visiting Cleveland Indians as a pinch runner, remaining in the game to play right field and first base (not at the same time). He was 0-for-1 with a walk in the 11-4 loss, his only appearance in the series, which concludes today

Richard Bleier appeared in back-to-back-to-back games for the Baltimore Orioles in their series against the Tampa Bay Rays, combining for 2.1 innings, two runs (unearned), three hits, and two strikeouts as the Os (75-82) lost two of three.

Ryan Sherriff‘s only appearance: 9/22 in which he gave up a run on one hit in one-third of an inning, recording a “K” for the out the St. Louis Cardinals (81-74) held off the host Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3.

Craig Breslow did not appear for the Cleveland Indians (98-58) in their weekend set against the Mariners. He did get into a game on the 20th, walking the only batter he faced against the Angels. Prior to that, Breslow had not been on the mound since Sept. 9.

Max Fried gets the start tonight for the Atlanta Braves who visit the Mets. He has not been in a game since Sept. 16, where he struck out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect inning against the Mets in Atlanta.

 

JML Update, Weekend Edition (9/8-9/10/17)

Posted on: September 11th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

It was a weekend of highs and lows for several of the boys.

Kevin Pillar experienced both: He hit into a triple play in the sixth inning of Friday’s game for the Toronto Blue Jays (66-77) in a 5-4 loss to the visiting Detroit Tigers (60-82). He was o-for-4 in that one. But baseball is said to be a game of redemption: Kinsler was 4-for-4 on Saturday with home run #15 as Jays turned the tables with a 5-4 victory of their own. On Sunday, Pillar had two more hits and another RBI in another Toronto win, this time by a more comfortable margin of 8-2.

Ian Kinsler was in the middle of that triple play, making the throw to first to nip Pillar. His home run in that one proved to be the difference. His 17th provided all the runs for the Tigers yesterday and was the first time all season that he went deep with a runner on base.

Also on the ups: Ryan Braun, who cracked career home run #300 in the first inning on Friday, providing all the runs the Milwaukee Brewers would get in their 2-0 shutout over the host Chicago Cubs. The Brewers (75-69) swept their three-game set to move two games behind the first place Cubbies. Braun was 0-for-3 on Saturday and 1-for-4 on Sunday with stolen base #10 for the year and 191 for his career which, combined with the 300 HRs, puts him in some sort of exclusive 300/180 club to hear the announcers in the clip talk. (I probably should have led with Braun’s milestone, but I had the early shift at work and I’m too tired and lazy to rearrange.)

Max Fried did not fare too well in his second start for the Atlanta Braves (64-78). He allowed four runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings against the visiting Miami Marlins, giving up six hits  — including Giancarlo Stanton’s 54th home rune — and walking one while striking out three. The Braves won on a walk-off walk so Fried was not saddled with a loss. By the way, the Braves won the next night on a three-run walk-off home run, which allowed the Washington Nationals to clinch the NL East title.

Ryan Sherriff picked up the first hold off his career on Friday, giving up a hit and striking out one in two-thirds of an inning as the St. Louis Cardinals (75-68, tied with the Brewers) beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1. It was his only outing of the weekend.

Richard Bleier pitched twice for the Baltimore Orioles (71-72), who got caught in the Cleveland Indians rip saw. The Tribe (87-56) has won 18 in a row, including this weekend’s sweep of the visiting O’s. Bleier totaled 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one. Craig Breslow picked up his first hold of the year, retiring the only batter he faced in the middle game of the series.

As well as the Indians have been playing, the LA Dodgers (91-52) have been that bad. They lost their tenth straight and fifteenth out of the last 16 by dropping their series to the visiting Colorado Rockies. Joc Pederson started two consecutive games for the first time in a while, but he was 0-for-7 with a two walks (including one as a pinch-hitter yesterday). It’s only because of the huge success they had early on that the Dodgers still have the best record in the Majors.

The Houston Astros (86-57) have also struggled over the past several weeks, but not to the Dodgers’ extent. They dropped their four-game series (including a Saturday double-header) to the Oakland As with Alex Bregman sitting out Friday’s contest as he nursed a hamstring injury which some thought would mean the end of his season. But he came back for the next three, going 3-for-11 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and two RBIs.

Danny Valencia appeared in only the middle game of the Seattle Mariners’ meetings with the visiting LA Angels. He was 0-for-3 with a walk. The Mariners (71-72) took two of the three games.

 

 

JML Update, Games of 9/6/17

Posted on: September 7th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Ian Kinsler hit home run #15 to break a four-way tie for most among MOTs. It was one of the few highlights for the Detroit Tigers (59-80), who were pummeled by visiting KC Royals, 13-2. The solo shot — his only hit in three at-bats (he also walked) — came in the fifth inning. It tied the game at the time, but the Royals scored four in the seventh and seven more in the eighth. In case you were wondering, Kinsler’s lifetime total is 227, fourth on the all-time Jewish list behind Hank Greenberg, Shawn Green, and Ryan Braun, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as the Milwaukee Brewers (72-68) fell to the host Cincinnati Reds, 7-1.

Alex Bregman hit his 33rd double — his only safety in five at-bats, as the Houston Astros (86-53) beat the host Seattle Mariners (69-71), 5-3.  Danny Valencia did not appear for the Mariners.

Joc Pederson returned to Major League action last night, batting eighth and stroking a single in two at-bats as the flailing LA Dodgers (92-47) lost to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-1. He came out of the game for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, but he did make this nice catch up against the centerfield wall to save at least one run.

Ryan Sherriff picked up his first Major League win by tossing two innings of relief for the St. Louis Cardinals (72-67), who beat the host San Diego Padres, 3-1. Sherriff, who took his first loss on Saturday to the San Francisco Giants, did not allow a hit, walked two, and struck out two.

Max Fried did not appear for the Atlanta Braves (61-77), who split a doubleheader with the Texas Rangers. Fried will become a full-time starter, at least for the remainder of the season, as the Braves go to a six-man rotation. I’m waiting for the time some maverick manager decides to start a different pitcher for each game, bringing someone up from the minors as the need arises. Think of the confusion for the opposing teams. What kind of scouting reports will there be? Plus you’re paying some of these guys the ML minimum. Anyway, Fried takes the ball on Saturday against the visiting Miami Marlins.

Kevin Pillar did not appear for the Toronto Blue Jays (64-76), who lost to the host Boston Red Sox, 6-1.

Craig Breslow did not appear for the Cleveland Indians (83-56), who won their 14th in a row by beating the host Chicago White Sox, 5-1.

Richard Bleier and the Baltimore Orioles (71-68) saw their game against the visiting NY Yankees postponed by rain.

 

 

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JML Update, Games of 7/5/17

Posted on: September 6th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Kevin Pillar had a single and double (#34) and scored a run in seven at-bats as the Toronto Blue Jays (64-75) lost to the host Boston Red Sox, 3-2, in 19 innings. The winning single was hit in Pillar’s direction but there was no superhuman effort in this story and his throw was unable to nab the game-winner at the plate. I was actually watching the last several innings, the product of insomnia.

Alex Bregman got the Houston Astros (85-53) on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly in the third inning and was hitless in three official at-bats. The outfield fly didn’t miss being a rand slam by much in Justin Verlander’s debut for the Astros, who held off the host Seattle Mariners (69-70), 3-1. Danny Valencia did not appear for the Ms.

kinslerIan Kinsler (left) was 1-for-4 with a run scored as the Detroit Tigers (59-79) crossed the plate seven times in the second en route to a 13-2 drubbing of the visiting KC Royals. He came out for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. Kinsler’s future with the Tigers is up in their air. Reports are that he wants to be back in 2018, but the team seems to be willing to part with the 35-year-old second baseman as they rebuild. On the other hand, they could use his veteran leadership as they do. One also has to wonder about the future of manager Brad Ausmus, who has not had great success since he was hired.

Same box score line for Ryan Braun with a different result: the Milwaukee Brewers (72-67) lost to the host Cincinnati Reds, 9-2. He also walked and stole his ninth base. Braun remains one home run shy of the 300 mark.

Richard Bleier gave up an unearned run on one hit as the Baltimore Orioles (71-68) came back from a 6-1 deficit to beat the visiting NY Yankees, 7-6, on Manny Machado’s two-run walk off homer. It was his second long-ball of the night in a game that was delayed by rain for more than two hours because of rain.

Craig Breslow did not appear for the Cleveland Indians (82-56) who beat the host Chicago White Sox, 9-4, for their 13th consecutive victory. Ryan Sherriff did not appear for the St. Louis cardinals (71-67) in their 8-4 win over the host San Diego Padres. The meeting between the Texas Rangers and host Atlanta Braves was postponed by rain so nothing for Max Fried, who’s already being touted as the next Tom Glavine? Please.

The LA Dodgers (92-46) recalled beleaguered outfielder Joc Pederson yesterday. They lost, 3-1, to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, their fifth straight defeat and ninth in their last 10.

JML Update, Games of 9/4/17

Posted on: September 5th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Welcome back, folks. Hope you had a great Labor Day holiday despite weather conditions and sundry global events.

Since most teams begin a new series on Mondays, I’m going to dispense with the usual long-weekend wrap. Too complicated. However I just wanted to give a shout-out to Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried. He returned to the team after the September 1 call-up by which Major League rosters can expand to 40. Fried won his big-league first start by pitching five strong innings on Sunday against the first-place host Chicago Cubs. He gave up one run on a homer, one of four hits he allowed to go along with three walks and four strikeouts in a 5-1 victory.

Now on to our regularly scheduled program..

Ryan Braun had three hits, including his 14th home run (what, no clip?), as the Milwaukee Brewers (72-66) fell to the host Cincinnati Reds on a walk-off home run by Billy Hamilton. That puts Braun one shy of the 300 circuit milestone.

Alex Bregman drove in two runs with his 32nd double to help the Houston Astros (84-53) beat the host Seattle Mariners (69-69), 6-2. It was his only hit in five at-bats. He also scored a run. Danny Valencia was 0-for-3 for the Mariners and came out of the game for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

Kevin Pillar was 1-for-5 with an RBI (#38), as the Toronto Blue Jays (64-74) beat the host Boston Red Sox. This clip erroneously credits him with a double, a solid blast off the Monster hit so hard it rebounded right to the leftfielder who was able to hold Pillar at first.

The Detroit Tigers (58-79) scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough to keep from losing to the visiting KC Royals, 7-6. Ian Kinsler was 0-for-4.

Craig Breslow did not appear for the Cleveland Indians (81-56), who beat the host Chicago White Sox, 8-5.

Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (70-68) who lost to the visiting NY Yankees, 7-4.

Ryan Sherriff did not appear for the St. Louis Cardinals (70-67) who shut out the host San Diego Padres, 2-0.

JML Update, Games of 8/23/17

Posted on: August 24th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

The descendants of Samson put on a power display last night with three of the five hits accrued going for home runs.

Alex Bregman hit his MOT-leading 16th — a three-run shot in the eighth inning to put the icing on the cake give the Houston Astros (77-48) a 6-1 win over the visiting Washington Nationals. Bregman, who also also singled, has gone yard in three of his last five games.

Kevin Pillar‘s #13 was indeed lucky. His only hit in four at-bats broke a 7-7 tie and gave the Toronto Blue Jays (60-66) an 8-7 win over the host Tampa Bay Rays. Somewhat shocked that MLB.com didn’t deem the blow worthy enough to include as a highlight clip for the game. What were they thinking? Pillar was still smarting from the previous game’s ejection.

Ian Kinsler matched Pillar’s total but it wasn’t lucky for the Detroit Tigers (54-71) who once again gave up double-digit runs to the visiting NY Yankees in a 10-2 loss. It was Kinsler’s only hit in four at-bats. He came out for a defensive replacement late in the laugher. At least it broke up the shut-out. Some are still talking about his ejection.

Not getting in on the fun: Ryan Braun, who was 0-for-4 for the Milwaukee Brewers (66-62) in their 4-2 loss to the host San Francisco Giants. Although he also has 13 “Braun blastsfor 2017 and is two shy of the “magic” 300 number, the Hammer has just one round-tripper since July 23. Not to worry, he still has his fans (read this story; it’s very charming).

Danny Valencia started in right field and batted cleanup for the Seattle Mariners (65-63) in their 9-6 win over the Atlanta Braves. He was 1-for-5 with a run scored. The Braves farmed out pitcher Max Fried, who had appeared in four games during since his MLB debut on August 8.

Richard Bleier walked the only batter he faced as the Baltimore Orioles (62-65) beat the visiting Oakland As in 12 innings, 8-7, on walk-off home run by Manny Macachdo.

And as I suggested recently, Scott Feldman is done for the year as he goes under the knife for knee surgery. He ends the season with a lot of sevens and ones in his record: 7-7 with a 4.77 ERA, giving up 21 home runs in 111.1 innings. He did manage to throw one shutout in there somehow.

Image result for Ryan SherriffFried and Chicago White Sox property Brad Goldberg may be gone, but there’s a new Sherriff in town: Ryan Sherriff to be precise. He was called up Tuesday by the St. Louis Cardinals. The 27-year-old, 6’1″, 215-pound lefty reliever from Culver City, California, was 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 48 appearances for the Memphis Redbirds. Mazel tov, Ryan.

Speaking of home runs…although the only MOT connection is that the LA Dodgers recently sent down Joc Pederson, they lost in stunning fashion after Rich Hill had pitched no-hit ball for nine innings, only to give up a walk-off, lead-off homer to Josh Harrison in the 10th for a 1-0 loss. The feat is worthy of a mention here, don’t you think? As the announcer said, “No-hitter gone, shut out gone, and now the game is gone.”

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JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of 8/18-8/20, 2017)

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Ian Kinsler was 2-for-10 with his 20th double, three walks, and a stolen base as the Detroit Tigers (54-69) dropped two of three to the visiting LA Dodgers (87-35). Despite the token handshake with umpire Angel Hernandez, as well as a fine, Kinsler stood by his comments that the arbiter might do better in another line of work. Steve Phillips, former GM of the NY Mets, criticized the ballplayer, saying on his MLB Network radio show that, “An umpire can’t say that a guy should be sent to the minor leagues to find a new job, that he’s not good enough to play in the league. It would be completely inappropriate.” I’m just putting that out there for the oppositionist point of view. Hernandez’s associates wore wristbands in solidarity:

“This week, a player publicly and harshly impugned the character and integrity of Angel Hernandez — a veteran umpire who has dedicated his career to baseball and the community,” the World Umpires Association (WUA) said in a statement. “The verbal attack on Angel denigrated the entire MLB umpiring staff and is unacceptable.”

Kinsler, speaking after the Tigers’ 3-0 loss to the Dodgers in Detroit on Saturday, said he didn’t care much at all about the umpires’ protest.

“I really don’t think too deeply into it. I hope they wear the white wristbands for the rest of their careers. I don’t care. I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, that’s their problem.”

Joc Pederson started the first game of that series, going 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. It was his only appearance since the team sent him to the minors when they acquired Curtis Granderson from the NY Mets. Disappointing but understandable: Pederson was hitting just .215 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 87 games. Hope to see him back soon.

Alex Bregman had himself a fine weekend: 5-for-13 with home runs in Friday’s and Saturday‘s games (15 on the year) along with his 30th double as the Houston Astros (76-48) took two of three from the visiting Oakland As. He drove in one run in each contest, bumping him up to 48. He also made a couple nice defensive moves on Friday.

Kevin Pillar also had a fine time with two hits in each game of the Toronto Blue Jays’ set against the host Chicago Cubs. Like Bregman, Pillar drove one across the plate in each game (32), but the Jays (59-65) lost all three games. He had two double’s in Friday’s loss, matching him with Bregman’s total.

Danny Valencia played in two of the three games between his Seattle Mariners (63-62) and the host Tampa Bay Rays. He was two-for-seven with his 61st RBI.

Ryan Braun started all three games for the Milwaukee Brewers (65-60) against the host Colorado Rockies, going 2-for-11 with a walk and two RBI (39). An article about a deal that was almost made with the Dodgers reminded me of a joke my boss told when a colleague of mine tried to alibi his way out of a situation: “And if my mother had wheels, she’d be a bus.” You had to be there.

More bad news for Scott Feldman: the Cincinnati Reds (53-72) put him back on the DL after just one appearance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was done for the year.

Max Fried allowed a run on two hits in an inning of an 8-1 win by the Atlanta Braves (55-67) against the Reds yesterday for his only showing of the weekend.

After a couple of shaky outings, Richard Bleier appeared twice for the Baltimore Orioles (60-64) against the visiting LA Angels over the weekend: .2 innings with a walk in a 9-7 win on Friday followed by 1.1 innings the next day when he pitched a full scoreless inning in a 5-1 loss.

The Chicago White Sox (47-74) keep giving Brad Goldberg opportunities and he’s not making the best of them. His only appearance added to his ugly record: one run on one hit and two walks in Saturday’s 17-7 loss to the host Texas Rangers. Goldberg has a horrible WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) of 2.53. In 10.2 innings, he’s given up 13 hits and 14 walks while striking out just two. Sorry to say, but I know if I was on his team and saw him coming in from the bullpen, I would not be too happy.

 

JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of 8/11-8/13, 2017)

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Scott Feldman returned to action, as it were, when he started for the Cincinnati Reds (49-69) on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers (61-59). Feldman pitched just four innings, giving up three runs on a walk and seven hits including a home run. On the plus side, he also struck out six. Feldman did not figure in the decision as Milwaukee won in 10 innings, 6-5.

Ryan Braun hit his 13th homer in that one, but it didn’t come off his landsman. All told, Braun was 5-for-12 with the home run, two doubles, two walks, four runs scored, and two RBI, inching closer to the coveted — if out-of-favor — .300 batting average. It was his first long-ball in more than a dozen games and puts him two shy of the 300-club.

Kevin Pillar was 1-for-7 with two walks, a run scored, a stolen base, and two RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays (56-61) took two of three from the visiting Pittsburgh Pirate.

Ian Kinsler was 1-for-9 in the first two games of the series between the Detroit Tigers (53-64) and the visiting Minnesota Twins. He did not play in yesterday’s finale — won by the Twins to take the set, 2-1 — as an aftereffect of being hit on the hand by a pitch the previous day.

Alex Bregman was 2-for-11 with two runs scored and an RBI as the Houston Astros continue to struggle, even though they still have the best record in the AL at 72-45. Prior to yesterday’s win against the host Arizona Diamondbacks, they had lost five in a row and seven of their last 10.

Max Fried threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Atlanta Braves (52-63) in Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the host St. Louis Cardinals, walking one and striking out one.

Brad Goldberg had another sloppy showing on Sunday as the Chicago White Sox (45-70) lost to the visiting KC Royals, 14-6. Goldberg pitched the final two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and three walks. It was his only appearance for the weekend.

Richard Bleier retired the only batter he faced for the Baltimore Orioles (58-60) in their 5-4 loss to the host Oakland As on Friday. Yesterday he endured a rare bad outing, giving up a two-run homer in 1.1 innings in another loss.

Danny Valencia did not get a single at-bat over the weekend for the Seattle Mariners (59-60), who were swept by the visiting LA Angels in a series that began Thursday. No injury, just supplanted by their new first-base acquisition in Yonder Alonso.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-7 for the LA Dodgers (83-34) who took two of three from the visiting San Diego Padres. He has just one hit in his last 32 at-bats. But the only game they lost was the one in which Pederson did not appear (Friday night).

 

JML Update, Games of 8/8/17

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

 

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Welcome to the club: Max Fried made his major league debut last night, tossing the final two innings in the Atlanta Braves’ 5-2 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies. He walked two and gave up two hits while striking out one. Mazel tov, Max!

Alex Bregman had a two-out, game-tying, three-run triple (#4) for the Houston Astros (71-41) but the host Chicago White Sox (42-68) came back for an 8-5 win. Bregman, batting in the leadoff spot, was 1-for-3 with two walks. According to RotoBaller, he has 13 extra-base hits over his last 14 games. He wasn’t so great on the basepaths, however, getting picked off as well as caught stealing. Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Sox.

Ryan Braun, still batting in the second slot in the order, hit his first three-bagger of the year to go along with his 17th double and a single, but the Milwaukee Brewers (59-56) lost to the host Minnesota Twins, 11-4.

Danny Valencia hit a game-tying, pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as the Seattle Mariners (58-56) beat the host Oakland As, 8-7, in 10 innings. Ryan Lavarnway, whom the As had designated for assignment, cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Nashville.

Ian Kinsler was 1-for-4 with a run scored but the Detroit Tigers (51-61) lost to the host Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-3. Here’s an interesting take on how players market themselves from FanGraphs.com:

MLB players haven’t become ubiquitous in popular culture the way stars in other sports have. While the players themselves have remarkable talent, and fans already watching the game will know the names Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Miguel Cabrera, but a casual observer or non-fan on the street would be hard pressed to pick those players out of a lineup. Whether it’s the structural problems the sport presents — star players are involved in a fraction of a Major League game, unlike in other sports, where teams can make sure their best players are involved on nearly every play — or the failings of the teams and the league itself to market their stars, baseball players just aren’t the marketing behemoths that basketball and football players often are.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there for players interested in marketing themselves, rather than leaving the heavy lifting to the league or their organization. What former Cubs catcher David Ross and Detroit Tigers second-baseman Ian Kinsler have done recently is demonstrate what happens when a player takes control of their own story, and uses the power of social media, television, and a bounty of available resources to help sell themselves (and perhaps a few products as well).

Kinsler has done well for himself on the field over the last several years, but has the kind of skills that often fly under the radar. He’s a career .275/.343/.448 hitter, a four-time All-Star, and a 2016 Gold Glove winner, but he’s not usually been regarded as a franchise player, despite performing like one. He’s precisely the kind of player who is beloved on his own team but gets little notice beyond that, in spite of turning highlight-reel double plays, or textbook perfect ball-drops.

Ian Kinsler is not a typical magnet for marketers. Because his appeal doesn’t have the same reach as bigger-name guys on the team like Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander, Kinsler is not the first choice for most companies. In spite of that, he has managed to craft an image for himself that mirrors his on-field persona.

In 2016, Warstic, the baseball bat company Kinsler co-owns with Ben Jenkins and White Stripes frontman Jack White, were approved for use in the MLB. Soon the bats were being sported by Kinsler and teammate Nick Castellanos in Tigers games and their popularity spread to other teams. Leading into the 2017 season, Kinsler and White loaned their individual talents to the promotion of Warstic by putting out a series of videos featuring Kinsler preparing for games as if he were a warrior heading into battle, while White’s music accompanied in the background. Kinsler, Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris, and Ben Jenkins were also featured in a short film ahead of the season in which the men learned sniper rifle techniques from Navy SEALs as a means to find their focus in the pressure of a game.

Even in a commercial where Kinsler promoted Beats by Dre headphones, his persona was the same. He is always careful about how he is portrayed, manipulating the medium to create a brand for himself. In every one of these ads he is the serious, contemplative warrior, preparing himself to face off against his enemies. The image crafted is that of a man who takes his sport and himself seriously. It is an effective method to maintain the image of a fierce competitor on the field, and a man whose life beyond the baseball diamond is a mystery, but one can almost picture him climbing onto a horse after the game and riding off into the sunset now that the battle is over.

Back to business…

Joc Pederson was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as the LA Dodgers (79-33) lost to the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-3.

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 as the Toronto Blue Jays (53-59) beat the visiting NY Yankees, 4-2.

Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (56-57) who lost to the host LA Angels, 3-2.

Conflicting info re: Scott Feldman‘s return. One source says the Cincinnati Reds’ starter should be back by Saturday while another says he’s not as far along in his progress as had been hoped.

Correction: Yesterday I said that early 20th-century Pittsburgh Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss was the only Jew besides Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to have a plaque in Cooperstown. Add former commissioner Bud Selig to the list. Selig was among the latest batch of inductees to go into the Hall. HT to Bob Wechsler for the reminder.

 

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JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of 8/4-8/5, 2017)

Posted on: August 7th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Kevin Pillar was 3-for-9 in two games (he missed Friday’s opener) with two runs scored as the Toronto Blue Jays (52-59) lost two of three to the host Houston Astros (71-40). Alex Bregman had one hit in each game, all for extra bases: his 13th home run on Friday, 28th double on Saturday, and third triple yesterday. The homer — a two-run shot to the opposite field — was part of a nine-run eruption by the ‘Stros in the fourth inning. Bregman’s record for the weekend included three walks, two runs scored, and four RBIs.

Danny Valencia also hit lucky #13. His two-run bomb opened the scoring in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday which was necessitated by a rainout on Saturday against between his Seattle Mariners (57-56) and the host KC Royals (he sat out the nightcap). He also had his third triple and a single in this one, so he was just one double shy of a cycle. On Friday, Valencia was 0-for-2 with two sac flies. Is he in danger of losing playing time now that the Mariners have acquired Yonder Alonso?

Ian Kinsler was 4-for-12 with a double and a run scored as the Detroit Tigers (51-59) lost two of the last three games in a four-game set to the host Baltimore Orioles (55-56). Three of those hits came in yesterday’s 12-3 loss. Richard Bleier had another scoreless outing in that one, going 2.1 innings and allowing two hits. In his last 10 appearances, Bleier has given up just two earned runs (three total) in 17 innings.

Ryan Braun split his time between left field and DH as the Milwaukee Brewers (59-54) took two of three from the host Tampa Bay Rays. Braun had two singles in 11 at-bats with two Ks and a walk. The two teams combined for just eight runs over the three meetings with the Brewers winning the first two by shutouts.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-6 as the LA Dodgers (79-32) swept the host NY Mets, a series that also included two shutouts. He walked twice in the Friday game and stole just his second base of the season. Pederson is hitless in his late eight games.

Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Chicago White Sox (41-68) who suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the host Boston Red Sox .

Used to be, years ago, that we would read about these things in the “agate” section of the sports page, the tiny fonts that gave us information about who was traded or injured or released. In the on-line version we have the Oakland As designated Ryan Lavarnway for assignment late last week. Lavarnway — a pillar of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic — had two cups of coffee for  the As: 11 at-bats over six games with two singles, a double, and two RBI. Here’s hoping he lands somewhere soon, especially since today is his 30th birthday!

Looks like Craig Breslow may have found a new home: The Cleveland Indians signed him to a minor league contract over the weekend. Mazel tov! And Scott Feldman will supposedly be returning soon to the Cincinnati Reds.

In another agate move, the Atlanta Braves called up pitcher Max Fried, one of those “highly touted” prospects who finds himself struggling in the pros. The 23-year-old lefty was just 2-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 starts for the team’s Mississippi affiliate in the Southern League (AA) where he walked 43 and struck out 85 in 86.2 innings. Fried has yet to appear in a major league game and until he does he’s not official.

I wonder if the Mets will bring up Cody Decker? The heart and soul of Team Israel is with their AAA affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s after spending some time with their AA club in Binghamton. Don’t know how I feel about this description from AmazinAveue.com, announcing a recent accomplishment in a game against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday: “The new pitcher, Jacob Rhame, left a big fat one for Cody Decker down and away, and the Jew bid adieu to that miscue, socking it over the left field wall for a game-tying three-run homer.” Between the two teams, Decker has 10 doubles and 10 homers in 68 games.

   
 

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