MLB — Real or Not? Shohei Ohtani gives Mike Trout a birthday blast

MLB


Mike Trout sat out on his birthday party, so Shohei Ohtani partied all on his own. Trout was on hand for the Los Angeles Angels‘ 11-5 win over the Detroit Tigers on the 27th anniversary of his birth, but for the first time in his MLB career, he wasn’t in the lineup on his celebratory day. Trout missed his sixth straight game with a lingering jammed wrist suffered on a slide last week.

Meanwhile, Ohtani hit his 12th homer to pace the L.A. attack, launching a three-run shot to the opposite field off Detroit’s Jacob Turner. It was his first three-run dinger since April 3.

With the home run, Ohtani joined Babe Ruth as the only players to hit at least 12 homers and throw at least 40 innings from the mound in the same season.

Since Ohtani returned from the disabled list, where he landed because of pitching-related elbow trouble, he has hit .250 with six homers and 12 RBIs in 28 games as a DH. But his days as a boring, run-of-the-mill one-way player might be coming to a close. The club announced Tuesday that Ohtani will throw a bullpen session on Saturday.

As for Trout, these missing games are not aiding is quest to win his third MVP award. Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez once again has nearly passed Trout in the FanGraphs version of WAR, and Boston’s Mookie Betts shows no sign of letting up. With the Angels out of contention, thus lowering the pennant-related leverage of Trout’s accomplishments, he needs to build up a buffer against his competitors.

However it turns out, this is high-level stuff in the American League. Plus, let’s face it, baseball is just more fun when Trout is in the lineup, whether or not it’s his birthday.

For old time’s sake: It has been a dismal season for the Rangers, but when Bartolo Colon takes the mound, it’s still a Texas-sized good time.

Colon went seven innings to earn the win in the Texas Rangers ‘ 11-4 victory over Seattle for his 246th career win. It was a milestone occasion as Colon broke a tie with Dennis Martinez for the most wins ever for a Latin American-born pitcher.

It hasn’t been a great season for the game’s oldest player. Colon is 6-10 with a 5.18 ERA. But with the Rangers going nowhere, there may be no better reason to watch them than when Colon takes the mound.

Not that it was the only fun stuff going on in that game. Check out the reaction of King Felix Hernandez, who made future Rangers Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre look silly on a strikeout:

Beltre is Cooperstown-bound for a reason, though, and he got even.

Hernandez ended up allowing a career high 11 runs, seven earned, as his season ERA soared to 5.73. As it was, there has been talk that Hernandez’s hold on a rotation spot was slipping. Tuesday’s outing could not have helped.

Crazy Joe: I’m not sure what has gotten into Braves announcer Joe Simpson lately, but in the first game of the Braves-Nationals doubleheader, there was a pretty nutso play. Watch it first, then I’ll explain how it came out.

The initial call was that Ender Inciarte deflected the ball directly into the glove of Adam Duvall. Thus Soto was out on a fly ball scored 8-7. But before you could even ring up Elias to see if that had happened before, the review crew in New York got involved.

As it turns out, Soto was credited with a single. But in the confusion, he passed Trea Turner on the base paths. So the single was erased and Soto was out, finally and officially, 3-unassisted.

A joyous matchup: In a sense, it was just another regular-season game with two tough righties facing off for teams that both harbor postseason hopes. But it was so much more than that.

Pittsburgh sent Jameson Taillon to the mound against Colorado’s Chad Bettis, a matchup of two pitchers who battled testicular cancer last season.

Taillon got the better in this one, a 10-2 Pirates win that improved Pittsburgh’s distant playoff probabilities. Bettis allowed nine runs in 4⅔ innings.

Meanwhile, Taillon went the distance for the Pirates. He has two complete games this season. That wouldn’t seem to merit a note but here’s the thing: Taillon is the only National League hurler this season with more than one complete game.

A sign of the times.

Yankees, Red Sox go extras: The Yankees and Red Sox both worked overtime successfully to maintain the status quo in an AL East race that has turned lopsided in Boston’s favor.

The Red Sox put up a five-spot in the 10th and held on for a 10-7 win over Toronto. Boston wouldn’t have gotten that far if not for a four-run eighth that featured J.D. Martinez‘s 34th homer. Martinez drove in four runs and has already reached 97 RBIs on the season.

It was Boston’s 80th win this season in its 114th game. Only four teams have racked up 80 W’s that fast: The 1998 Yankees, the 2001 Mariners and the 2017 Dodgers.

That is why a Yankee team that is still on pace to threaten 100 wins sits nine games back in the division race. It was nearly worse — the Yankees blew a two-run lead in the 10th inning at Chicago when Jose Abreu tied the match with a two-out, two-run shot off Zach Britton.

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the Yankees had not allowed a game-tying, two-out home run in extra innings in nearly 87 years. You read that right: eighty-seven years. The last time it happened was on Aug. 15, 1931, when Detroit’s Billy Rowell did it with a solo shot off New York’s Lefty Gomez.

However, the Yankees won that long-ago game with a two-run rally in the 16th that featured a Babe Ruth home run. Sure enough, they pulled Tuesday’s game out as well, with Miguel Andujar singling in Didi Gregorius with the winner.

Um, no: A quick note on something from Monday night. You probably read about this. The Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies’ High-A affiliate, lost a game in which they allowed zero hits and zero walks.

This was possible because of the new extra-inning rule in minor-league baseball, which places a runner on second base to begin an extra frame. In this case, it happened in the eighth inning because it was the first game of a doubleheader.

The bonus runner, or whatever you want to call it, went to third on an error and scored on a fielder’s choice for the only run of the game.

There has been some whispers that higher-ups around the majors are warming to the idea of this structure to quickly resolve games tied after nine innings.

Let’s hope it never, never, never, never, never happens in the big leagues.





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