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August 8, 2017

What You Need to Know

Unhappy Birthday

by Stacey Gotsulias


The Monday Takeaway

Mike Trout did Mike Trout things on Monday, and Monday just so happened to be his 26th birthday. The first thing he did was collect the 1,000th hit of his career, a double in the fourth inning off Orioles starter Dylan Bundy. The second thing he did was bash the 191st home run of his career. Now, you may be thinking, why is this such a big deal? Well, it’s a big deal because this is the fourth time that Trout has hit a homer on his birthday. He also did it on his 21st, 22nd, and 24th birthdays.

Here’s his double for hit 1,000:

Trout scored after he hit his double—he trotted home on a Kole Calhoun sac fly to make it 1-0 Angels in the bottom of the fourth. Then the Orioles came back and scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning on a single by Joey Rickard and by a sac fly by Adam Jones. In the bottom of the sixth, Trout hit a ball, just foul to left. He got a little too far ahead of it and as you were watching it, you thought, “Damn, he just missed it.”

Then, he didn’t miss the next pitch.

It was his 23rd home run of the season. Remember, he missed a bunch of time with that torn ligament in his thumb.

Trout now has those four home runs on his birthday. But in a cruel twist by the baseball gods, the Angels are only 2-4 on Trout’s birthday since 2012. And last night was no exception.

As exciting as it was for Trout to tie the game on his homer in the sixth, the Orioles came right back and broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the seventh inning on a Manny Machado grand slam off Angels starter J.C. Ramirez, who was probably in there one batter too long. Ramirez had hit Adam Jones to load the bases and you could see this grand slam coming from a mile away.

Then Ramirez hung a pitch and boom.

Way to spoil Mike’s birthday, Manny. It was Machado’s fifth grand slam of his career and his first in 2017.

And not to be outdone/ignored, Dylan Bundy. Sure, he gave up those milestone hits to Trout, but the O’s starter also pitched seven strong innings and finished his outing with a career-high 10 strikeouts. He picked up his 11th win of the season.

Before the game, Trout’s teammates celebrated his birthday by pouring nearly every substance known to man, including coffee creamer, over his head.

Why do they do this?

And here’s a bit of information that definitely makes it seem as if the baseball gods do really have a hand in what’s actually happening.

Baylor, who played for the Angels from 1977-1982 and won the AL MVP award with the team in 1979, passed away Monday at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer.

***

Bryce Harper hit his 150th career homer last night against the Marlins. It was his 29th of 2017.

In some news that may make you hear the Twilight Zone music, if you’re of a certain age, Harper’s age at the time of his 150th home run: 24 years, 295 days. Mike Trout’s age at the time of his 150th career home run: 24 years, 295 days on May 28, 2016.

Yep. You can shiver because it’s very strange. But it’s also very cool. They are both incredible players and baseball fans should consider themselves very lucky to be witnessing their careers at the same time. If only MLB would do a better at marketing them. Hmmm. That’s a rant for another day.

Miami starter Chris O’Grady was removed from the game after only 18 pitches. He strained his right oblique and left the game two batters into the second inning. Odrisamer Despaigne came in and pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his fourth home run in four days, off Nats starter Max Scherzer.

It tied the game at two in the sixth inning. It was Stanton’s league-leading 37th of the season, which also ties his career-high from 2014—he will shatter that mark this season.

Washington pulled ahead for good on an Adam Lind RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning and won 3-2.

***

The Cubs and Giants played a game in San Francisco on the 10th anniversary of Barry Bonds hitting his 756th home run. Cubs second baseman Javy Baez thought, “Hey, I know, I’ll hit a two-run, inside-the-park homer to celebrate this wonderful occasion!”

The Cubs won the game 5-3, which means the Giants are now 36.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West standings. They are the furthest back of any last-place team in baseball. The Phillies, the team the Giants have been battling against for the worst record in baseball, are next at 25.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East.

***

The Cardinals beat the Royals behind eight strong innings from Carlos Martinez and reached .500 (56-56) for the first time since they were 26-26 way back on June 2.

The Cardinals' hitters jumped all over Ian Kennedy in the fourth inning, scoring six runs off the Royals’ starter.

With the win, St. Louis also moved to within three-and-a-half games of the National League Central lead.

***

Joey Votto hit his 30th home run of the season. (You will be hearing that about a lot of guys this season.)

Votto became the all-time leader at Great American Ballpark with 136 dingers. The Reds pounded the Padres, 11-3. Votto also hit an RBI single.

He went 2-for-3.

Defensive Play of the Day

Andrew McCutchen laid out for this one. Nice play on a Mikie Mahtook line drive.

What To Watch On Tuesday

In the AL East, the Rays and Red Sox start a three-game series, while the Yankees and Blue Jays also start a three-game series. The Rays are looking to leapfrog over the Yankees into second place. This week as a whole should be interesting, because after these series end, New York and Boston face off against each other. As for Tuesday’s matchups, Chris Sale (13-4) will be facing off against Austin Pruitt (6-2) (7:10 pm ET) while CC Sabathia (9-4) will be matched up against JA Happ (4-8) (7:07 pm ET).

Out on the west coast, Jose Quintana (2-1) will be making his fifth start as a Cub and looking to rebound after his abysmal performance on August 3 against Arizona. He’ll be matched up against Giants starter Ty Blach (7-7), who pitched eight strong innings and picked up the win his last time out (10:15 pm ET).

Stacey Gotsulias is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Stacey's other articles. You can contact Stacey by clicking here

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