By Andrew Kahn
The trade deadline brought about a lot of moves, but perhaps the most surprising came on Tuesday, when Detroit Tigers general manager and president Dave Dombrowski was fired. Dombrowski’s contract did not go past this season. He led the franchise’s resurgence—they reached the World Series in 2006 and the playoffs each of the past four seasons—but were three games under .500 and in third place when he was let go. Less stunning is Clayton Kershaw’s streak of 37 scoreless innings. He faced Mike Trout in his last start, the first time in baseball history that reigning MVPs faced each other in the regular season. He’ll pitch again tonight in Pittsburgh.
Meet the (first place) Mets
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for the Mets. Last Wednesday, the trade with the Brewers fell through. The next day, the Mets blew a three-run lead with two outs and two strikes in the ninth and nobody on base. Last Friday, Wilmer Flores made the Mets look smart for keeping him when he blasted a walk-off homer against Washington. They haven’t lost since, sweeping the Nationals and then the Marlins. New York is 1.5 games up on Washington. The reason for the winning streak is that the hitting has matched the stellar pitching. New acquisitions Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Uribe have been impactful and Lucas Duda has been on a home run tear. The Mets scored 25 runs in their three-game series in Miami. They’ll send Jacob deGrom, the red-hot Noah Syndergaard, and Bartolo Colon to the hill against the Rays this weekend. Washington faces the Rockies.
Walk-offs come in all shapes and sizes, and Wednesday was proof. Adam Eaton led off for the White Sox in the bottom of the tenth with a single and stole second. The next batter flew out, and the Rays decided to intentionally walk the next two batters. Perhaps Brad Boxberger got in the habit of throwing balls, because he walked Avisail Garcia on five pitches. Wild pitching was the theme in Anaheim, too, as Cleveland’s Cody Allen walked two batters in the bottom of the ninth before throwing a wild pitch that plated the winning run:
[mlbvideo id=”335255883″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]
In Colorado, Michael McKenry ended things in a more traditional manner: he smacked a home run in the 11th to beat Seattle.
Kendrys Morales is not known for his speed or agility. Russell Martin is a fine defensive catcher. In this particular play, Morales looks dead when he rounds third. The throw is on line and Martin handles it cleanly. Here’s what happens next:
That’s a pop-up slide from Morales, followed by a quick step on the plate despite Martin nearly tripping him up.
Adrian Beltre needed only five innings on Monday to hit for the cycle. He became the fourth player to hit for the cycle three times and first since the 1930s. The Rangers’ third baseman needed the minimum four plate appearances: he tripled in the first, doubled in the second, singled in the third, and homered in the fifth for the Rangers’ 12th run of the game. Even more impressive was that they came against three different pitchers: Houston starter Lance McCullers and relievers Josh Fields and Mike Fiers.
Jimmy Rollins returned to Philadelphia for the first time as a Dodger on Tuesday. He went 2 for 5 with a double in a 6-2 loss. Rollins played for the Phillies for the first 15 years of his career before getting dealt to the Dodgers in the offseason. Rollins’ return reminds us of how rare it is these days for a player to stay with one team exclusively for at least 10 seasons. Current Phillies Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz (who is in his tenth season) meet the criteria to be considered a baseball “lifer,” as do Yadier Molina, David Wright, Joe Mauer, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, Ryan Zimmerman, and Justin Verlander. But that’s it. Cole Hamels was there this season, but he was traded.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about baseball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn