MLB 2020: Last Week In Baseball August 10-16

(originally written 8/17/20)

  • A few big names landed on the injured list last week, none bigger than home run behemoth Aaron Judge of the Yankees. He was sidelined 8/14 by a calf injury, three days after teammate Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) went down. Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg's hand nerve issues cropped up again; he was removed from his 8/14 start after 16 pitches and soon IL'd. Strasburg's teammate Starlin Castro broke his right wrist on a dive 8/15 and will miss some time.

  • More notable injuries: the AL's two leading hitters, D.J LeMahieu (Yankees) and Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) both went down 8/16 (thumb and knee sprains, respectively). Also to the IL were Braves OF Ronald Acuna (wrist, 8/11) Padres CL Kirby Yates (elbow inflammation, 8/15) Tigers 1B C.J. Cron (knee surgery after being creamed by batted ball 8/10) and Rangers RP Edinson Volquez (oblique, to 45-day IL 8/13). We may have seen the last of the veteran Volquez after 15 seasons, 95 victories and a World Series title with KC.

  • Shaken up in a collision with the LF wall was Jeff McNeil of the Mets as he snagged a drive off the bat of Washington's Asdrubal Cabrera 8/13. McNeil left on a cart, but pinch-hit 8/16. (Cabrera himself went heels-over-head in pursuit of Pete Alonso's foul pop into the Mets dugout later in that game; Cabrera made the play and was protected from injury by dugout occupants.)

  • Returning to action FROM the IL was Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (finger) 8/11, the Mets' Robinson Cano (adductor) 8/14, and Houston's Yordan Alvarez (COVID) 8/14. Braun was 0-for-8 post-activation, but Cano went 4-for-13 with a jack while Alvarez ripped a three-run homer in his return.

  • Despite playing the week without demoted starters Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger—they violated team rules—the Indians finished up on a winning note, sweeping the Detroit Tigers and running their winning streak against them to 20 games. Helping matters: the return to action of MGR Terry Francona 8/11.

  • Tampa Bay completed a convincing sweep at free-falling Boston 8/10-13, scoring at least eight runs in all four victories (including 17 in the finale).

  • Despite getting two clutch three-run homers from ice-cold Hunter Pence, it was a rotten week for the Giants. On 8/14, they blew a five-run 9th-inning lead vs. Oakland and lost in extras (their first such loss in 91 years). 24 hours later, they blew a three-run 9th-inning lead and fell once more. CL Trevor Gott was lit up both nights, but to be fair his defense didn't help him.

  • Speaking of Oakland, OF Ramon Laureano saw his six-game suspension (for "starting" a brawl vs. the Astros) reduced to four games on appeal. His antagonist, Astros coach Alex Cintron, will sit out 20 contests.

Indians skipper Terry Francona wasn't thrilled with the actions of his pitchers Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger...and neither was his son.

  • Remember Randy Dobnak, the ex-Uber driver who started for the Twins in last season's playoffs (with poor results)? Well, he's off to a 4-1, 1.42 start to 2020. No misprint, no typo.

  • Dobnak's teammate, OF Byron Buxton, may be back on track at last. He put up a streak of five home runs in seven games during the week and is slugging .536 in 2020.

  • Though I hate to report anything good surrounding the Dodgers, I must inform you that OF Mookie Betts enjoyed his record sixth career three-homer game on 8/13 vs. San Diego. Padres SP Chris Paddack served up one bomb that night; RP Luis Perdomo allowed two.

  • On 8/12, Miami triumphed over Toronto 14-11 despite surrendering seven home runs to the Jays. It was the 4th time ever that a team lost despite seven longballs. Toronto last reached that figure on 8/7/2010.

  • Strasburg and fellow Washington SP Anibal Sanchez were tossed from separate games for arguing balls and strikes last week...from the stands.

  • Cubs SP Yu Darvish flirted with history 8/13 vs. Milwaukee, firing 6.1 hitless innings before allowing a home run to Justin Smoak. Darvish and the Cubs still came away victorious, 4-2.

  • The surprising Orioles secured an improbable win against the Phillies 8/11 on an Austin Hays inside-the-park home run past diving outfielder Roman Quinn in the 10th. Baltimore was only in position to win because Philly allowed a routine popup near the mound to fall in the 9th.

  • Check out this catch from the Reds' Shogo Akiyama (against Pittsburgh's Adam Frazier 8/13).

AT LEAST HE GOT PAID

In his MLB debut, Cardinals RP Roel Ramirez allowed four successive home runs to the White Sox—Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez delivered the 5th-inning blows.

Per ESPN: The only other RP to allow four jacks of any sort in his debut? Cleveland's Jeff Shaw, in 1990.

WELCOME BACK TO THE MAJORS

OF Clint Frazier, up and down with the Yankees since 2017, received yet another opportunity with the Bombers when Judge went down. His bat certainly responded; in four games Frazier went 8-for-15 with two home runs, and enjoyed a five-RBI game 8/15 vs. Boston.


OPTING OUT


As the COVID-ravaged Cardinals finally returned to play with a doubleheader sweep over the White Sox, 61-year-old coach Willie McGee decided to return home, citing virus concerns.

On a related note, an unnamed Cincinnati Red tested positive for the virus 8/14. In response, the Reds' 8/15-16 matchups with Pittsburgh were postponed.

Strasburg.jpg

After Stephen Strasburg (center) departed his 8/14 start at Baltimore 16 pitches in, reliever Erick Fedde chipped in 5.1 effective innings as the Nats won 15-3.