MLB PITCH: 6/21/21
(originally written 6/21/21)
MLB PITCH = (PREDICTIONS, INFO, TRANSACTIONS, COMMENTARY, HIGHLIGHTS)
(San Francisco Giants PITCH covered in separate article)
Earlier in June, MLB promised a crackdown on illegal substance use by pitchers was imminent, and last week a date was given: beginning Monday, 6/21, umpires will begin inspecting pitchers for "Spider Tack" or anything similar which could prove advantageous to them.
And opposing managers can request checks, as well!
This, my friends, is not going to go over well with anybody. I give it about a month or two before either MLB comes to its senses, or the players full-on revolt. Especially when you consider that...
⦁ ...in the 15 days since the league first raised the issue of Spider Tack affecting spin rates and their intent to police it, FOUR DUDES HAVE BEEN BEANED. That's four more than had previously been beaned all season. But hey, at least those spin rates dropped.
⦁ The victims of the wayward fastballs: Austin Hedges of the Indians 6/11, Kike Hernandez of the Red Sox 6/12, Pete Alonso of the Mets 6/13, and last week Chad Pinder of the Athletics 6/14. Pinder was the only player immediately forced from the field; as he ducked the Junior Guerra (Angels) heater, his helmet bounced off, exposing his head to a direct hit.
Athletics UT Chad Pinder was the last of four major leaguers beaned between June 11 and June 14, 2021. And he was probably the worse off.
⦁ Arizona ran off a "perfect" 0-7 record last week, running their streak of overall losses to 17 and their streak of road losses to a record 23 with a loss to my Giants 6/17. They allowed 9+ runs in five of those seven losses.
⦁ The Rangers also went winless last week (0-5), while 230 miles to the south, the Astros were going 6-0 last week—all at home.
⦁ After opening the week with a win, Tampa Bay's losing streak reached six games when Seattle's Shed Long walked them off with a grand slam 6/20. Houston 2B Jose Altuve also smoked a walk-off slam last week, on 6/15 vs. the Rangers.
⦁ Nationals lefty Jon Lester finally earned his first win of 2021, beating the Mets in the 6/19 nightcap. He's up to 194 career victories.
⦁ Lester's past and present teammate Kyle Schwarber belted five home runs in two games 6/19-20 (against the Mets) and walked away as NL Player Of The Week. DH/P Shohei Ohtani took AL POTW honors after six of his eight hits last week left the ballpark.
⦁ Mets lefty Joey Lucchesi left his 6/18 start with elbow inflammation and was immediately IL'd. He had thrown 5.1 shutout innings at Washington.
⦁ On 6/19, Jays rookie SP Alek Manoah earned a thumb after drilling a highly displeased Maikel Franco of the Orioles immediately following two Baltimore home runs. Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo also was tossed.
⦁ Not ALL was rosy for the 6-0 Astros last week. Star 3B Alex Bregman hit the IL with a quad injury 6/17. Bregman was hitting .275 with seven homers and 34 RBI.
⦁ Other notables to visit the IL last week included Philadelphia 2B Jean Segura (groin) Detroit SP Matthew Boyd (arm discomfort), Dodgers OF/1B Cody Bellinger (hamstring) Rays SP Tyler Glasnow (UCL tear) and Cleveland SP Shane Bieber (shoulder strain).
⦁ Tigers C Wilson Ramos, the AL home run leader in mid-April, was designated for assignment 6/15. He had hit .153 in his final 18 games before going on the IL 5/24 with a lumbar spine strain.
⦁ On 6/16, Phillies 1B Rhys Hoskins finally snapped his 0-for-33 skid, then went 3-for-6 with two HR and six RBI against my Giants three days later...bastard.
⦁ On 6/15, Tigers DH/1B Miguel Cabrera doubled against Kansas City to become the 22nd with 5,000 total bases.
⦁ Baby Shark doo-doo-do-do-doo! Yes, OF Gerardo Parra is back from Japan and back on Washington's roster as of 6/20. The 34-year-old, a popular member of the World Series Champion 2019 Nationals, was signed to a MiLB deal back in early May.
Now-former Detroit Tigers C Wilson Ramos led the AL in home runs (6) on April 13. He was designated for assignment June 15.
⦁ On 6/19, Dodgers SP Walker Buehler fired seven no-hit innings at Arizona before David Peralta's single led off the 8th inning. Los Angeles still won 9-3.
⦁ Mets ace Jacob deGrom threw three perfect innings against the Cubs 6/16 before leaving with a sore shoulder.
⦁ Cincinnati OF Jesse Winker executed perhaps last week's best catch when he robbed Padres 1B Eric Hosmer of an oppo homer 6/18. It's worth watching just for Winker's post-catch reaction alone, by the way. Despite that, San Diego still won 8-2.
⦁ High to low: Padres SS Fernando Tatis Jr. blasted a 477-foot homer off Colorado's Kyle Freeland 6/16. Three days later, he exited with another injury to his shoulder.
⦁ On 6/20, the Yankees turned a game-ending triple play vs. Oakland—their record-tying third of the season. This was three days after Yankee RF Aaron Judge stole a home run from Toronto's Cavan Biggio, and also three days after New York's second TP of 2021 (a 1-3-6-2-5-6 number aided by some rotten Toronto baserunning).
⦁ After Boyd's injury 6/14, eight more Tigers pitchers completed the final six-plus innings; Detroit walked away with the 10-3 win over the Royals.
⦁ Speaking of the Royals, their SS Adalberto Mondesi came off the IL 6/18 and promptly ripped a 464-foot home run vs. the Red Sox!
⦁ Speaking of the Red Sox, their UT Christian Arroyo—who entered the week slugging .528 in June—belted a 467-foot grand slam at Atlanta 6/16.
⦁ On 6/19, Orioles 1B/OF Ryan Mountcastle belted three home runs vs. Toronto...but his team still fell 10-7.
⦁ You've got to see Cleveland OF Eddie Rosario's accidental single against Baltimore 6/16, as well as his teammate Jose Ramirez taking an unmanned third base that same day. No breaks for the Orioles at all, are there?
⦁ On 6/18, Pittsburgh's rough year nearly got rougher when its 11-1 lead over Cleveland entering the 7th was almost completely erased. They hung on for the 11-10 triumph, however, snapping a 10-game skid.
⦁ Cubs 3B Patrick Wisdom closed out a 15-pitch AB against Miami's Ross Detwiler with an infield 1B 6/20.
⦁ On 6/18, Miami beat the Cubs 10-2. On 6/19, Miami beat the Cubs 11-1. On 6/20, Miami fell to the Cubs 2-0. Baseball, eh? (Also, Cubs CL Craig Kimbrel recorded his 20th save of 2021 and the 368th of his career, tying him with Jonathan Papelbon for 9th all-time.
⦁ On 6/20, Atlanta sunk the Cardinals 1-0 on the 100th career home run hit by OF Ronald Acuna.
COMPLETE GAME WATCH
Miami ace Sandy Alcantara took the rare CG loss 6/16; he went 8.1 innings before allowing a walk-off hit to C Yadier Molina of the Cardinals. Four days later, Molina guided batterymate Adam Wainwright through a seven-inning CG win at Atlanta.
Washington's Patrick Corbin couldn't quite finish off the Pirates 6/15, going 8.1 innings for the 3-1 win.
MAJOR LEAGUE LEADERS THRU 6/20
HOME RUNS: Vlad Guerrero Jr., TOR/Shohei Ohtani, LAA (23)
AVERAGE: Nick Castellanos, CIN (.344)
RBI: Vlad Guerrero Jr., TOR (59)
STEALS: Whit Merrifield, KC (20)
WINS: Aaron Civale, CLE (10)
ERA: Jacob deGrom, NYM (0.50)
STRIKEOUTS: Shane Bieber CLE (130)
SAVES: Mark Melancon, SD (21)
Here, the special "Re-Opening Day" uniform worn by the Dodgers against Philadelphia 6/15 is "modeled by" 1B Albert Pujols.