Another late-night edition. The vagaries of real life get in the way sometimes.
Gotta love Estrada: Giants utilityman Thairo Estrada is making his presence known, slugging .727 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI over the past week. On September 6 at Colorado, he went 3-for-5 with a couple dingers and 3 RBI. He was a .214 career hitter before this season; he’s hitting .277 this year.
Yoshi’s cranking: The Pirates’ Yoshi Tsutsugo was a slugger in Japan, smashing 45 homers for the Yokohama Bay Stars in 2016 and 38 in 2018. His time stateside hasn’t worked out so well, as he owns a .199/.301/.396 slash line in 111 games over two years here. He started 2021 with a .120 average in 25 at-bats for the Dodgers, who released him August 14. Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needed—since joining Pittsburgh on August 16, he has 7 home runs, 15 RBI and a .286/.349/.768 line.
A.J. is A-OK: Diamondbacks rookie hurler A.J. Alexy has started off on the right foot, allowing just two hits and no runs in 11 frames over two starts so far. His 5 walks are a little disconcerting, but not unexpected—he averaged 4.4 per 9 frames in the minor leagues.
Effross is a winner: Relief pitchers usually don’t rack up too many decisions, but that didn’t stop Cubs rookie Scott Effross from winning 2 of his first 4 outings with Chicago. In 5 2/3 frames in his short career, he has 7 strikeouts and no walks allowed.
The ballad of Matt Harvey: It astonishes me how far current Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey has fallen. He was nicknamed “The Dark Knight of Gotham” and (most gallingly) “the Real Deal.” In his first full season, 2013, he had a 2.27 ERA and 157 ERA+, while averaging 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. After missing 2014 to injury, he returned in 2015 and posted a 2.71 mark in 29 starts. Ahh, his glory years with the Mets. Look at him now: In 28 starts this year, he is 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA; he averages about 4 2/3 innings per outing. Since 2017, he is 21-38 with a 6.15 ERA.
Keuchel has underwhelmed: The rise of current White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel was swift, and so was his decline. In the three years prior to his Cy Young Award-winning 2015 campaign, when he went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts for Houston, he was 21-27 with a 4.16 ERA. Since that excellent season, he’s posted a 3.74 ERA and this year, he’s 8-9 with a mark of 5.33.
Losing All-Star: The last time a pitcher made the All-Star team the same year he led his league in losses was 2019. That season, the Marlins Sandy Alcantara lost 14 games for that 57-105 club. On the bright side, he led the league in complete games and shutouts, with 2 each.
Winner, loser: And the last hurler to lead the league in wins one year then losses the next? Miles Mikolas. After pacing the NL with 18 victories in 2018, he went the opposite direction and led the loop with 14 losses the next year. It wasn’t a horrible season, as he walked less than 2 batters per 9 innings, on average, and posted a higher strikeout rate than the previous campaign, but it was no 2018. That year, he finished 6th in Cy Young voting.
Wore two legendary numbers: Babe Ruth wore number 3, Mickey Mantle wore number 7. Which Yankee wore both? Outfielder Cliff Mapes. He wore the Bambino’s number in 1948 and the Mick’s number from 1949 to 1951.
That’s a lot of ejections: You think umpires eject too many players nowadays? On July 19, 1946, the White Sox were playing Boston at Fenway Park when umpire Red Jones kicked all fourteen Chicago players and coaches from the bench. Jones was known for having a short fuse, leading American League umpires in ejections in both 1946 and 1948.