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August 23, 2017

What You Need to Know

The Business

by Nicolas Stellini


Doug Fister, who entered Tuesday with 43 2/3 innings under his belt for the season, and had a 4.64 ERA last year, allowed a leadoff home run to Francisco Lindor.

He also walked two batters, and struck out six. He did not allow another hit.

Fister recorded 27 outs without allowing a hit, if you take away that first batter. You can’t do that, because baseball doesn’t work that way. Lindor’s homer counts. But Fister kind-of-sort-of-not-really-but-sort-of threw a no-hitter against the reigning AL champs on Tuesday night, and that’s wild.

This is Doug Fister, who didn’t get a job until May. He didn’t look like anything more than a depth option, and now he’s out here shoving against Cleveland. Baseball is a funny game, a wild game, a game often without reason or sensibility. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes Clayton Kershaw is beaten up and barely escapes the fifth inning, and sometimes Phillip Humber throws a perfect game. Sometimes Doug Fister emerges from the ether to give Cleveland the business.


You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn. You just can’t. You can predict the larger things, like the Dodgers being an unstoppable perfectly fine-tuned baseball-killing machine, and the Phillies being bad. But you can’t predict Fister doing this to a team this good on a certain given night. Needless to say, the Red Sox won.

Quick Hits from Tuesday

It was about this time a year ago that we all learned just how good Gary Sanchez is at hitting baseballs with a piece of lumber. As it turned out, he’s really good at that. Sanchez hit 20 bombs to finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting. After missing a month of the 2017 season, he’s on a roll again. Poor Matt Boyd was tasked with keeping Sanchez off the board on Tuesday. And to be fair, he didn’t let Sanchez smack a ball off the scoreboard. But he did come quite close.

That’s 493 feet of dinger, second only to Aaron Judge’s mind-bending 495-foot blast from earlier this year. Also, speaking of Judge, Mighty Casey did not strike out today, which broke a streak of 37 straight games with a punchout.

***

Are you seated? Are there no fragile objects or uncovered containers of liquid near you?

I’ll give you a moment.

Ready?

First of all, let’s try to take our jaws off the floor from that display of bad fundies. Ozzie Albies was almost out coming home despite the throw ricocheting off of Kyle Seager’s glove. Yonder Alsonso didn’t simply tag Ender Inciarte out, even though he was standing right in front of him. He threw over to the catcher, who tagged Lane Adams.

This was, by definition, a baseball play. They were playing baseball. I think. Some bastardized and gloriously defective form of baseball. But baseball nonetheless.

***

Nobody has a better record than Father Time. He is undefeated, a totally relentless force. He has come for Albert Pujols.

Even in his bad seasons, when he was dealing with all sorts of physical ailments, Pujols still managed to be an above-average hitter. After Tuesday’s game, Pujols is slashing .231/.277/.384. His production against fastballs is virtually nonexistent. He is a husk of the player he once was. And the player he once was was something to behold.

He may be slipping now, but Pujols has had a fine career. He is now the all-time leader in home runs among foreign-born players. If there’s a single slam-dunk, no-doubt-about-it Hall of Famer playing today, it’s Pujols. We are lucky to have been able to watch him play.

Defensive Play of the Day

In a stunning turn of events, Giancarlo Stanton went deep again. But his homer wasn’t even the longest one by a Marlin. He was bested by Ichiro Suzuki, of all people. For shame, Giancarlo. So we’ll recognize his defense instead.

Do better, Giancarlo. Do better.

What to Watch on Wednesday

For those of you into day baseball, you have two games to chose from. We’re going to recommend the one at 3:05 EST between the Orioles and A’s, because the other one involves the Giants and they just don’t make for good viewing right now. Plus the O’s game lets you take a gander at Dylan Bundy and Sean Manaea. The other game is being started by Matt Moore and Matt Garza. Yeah, watch the one with the decent young starters and the dingers.

Corey Kluber is pitching tomorrow. He’s doing it against the Red Sox. You have your orders.

Then at 8:10, two of the best teams in baseball go head to head when the Nationals and Astros play. The starters are Edwin Jackson and Mike Fiers. You’ll never guess which of them has a lower ERA. Alternatively, you could watch the Rockies and Royals, who start at the same time. The Rockies are fun, and this Royals team is only going to exist in its current form for another month or so. Enjoy it while you can.

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

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (08/23)
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What You Need to Know:... (08/22)
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Short Relief: A Broadc... (08/23)

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