Bethancourt livens up a lousy day, the Cubs lose behind Arrieta, and Mookie gets... three homers.
The Tuesday Takeaway James Shields added another chapter to a sadly long story of soul-crushing outings Tuesday—his fifth career game with 10 or more runs allowed, tying him for the most of any pitcher since 1940, as BP author Aaron Gleeman pointed out on Twitter. The first and second innings began by following the same pattern, with Shields getting two quick outs to start each one before falling apart as he let walks and singles pile up. At the end of the second, though, the pattern broke, as Kyle Seager introduced the first piece of power to the game with a three-run homer, and things only went downhill from there.
Clayton Kershaw is peaking, Pujols hits a sort of a milestone, and the Cubs are slumping, relatively speaking.
The Monday Takeaway
The Warriors are actually bad at basketball, as they take too many jump shots and don’t have a strong enough game in the post. Their once-in-a-lifetime shooter is overrated, and their records mean nothing in the face of grit and Russell Westbrook.
Sometimes, doing the right thing means not taking another agent's client. Sometimes, though, doing the right thing means the opposite.
I just spent three days in Miami with Jeremy Jeffress and ran into several agents I knew. Many of them I quite like. A few I do not. One told me it’s "dumb" to tweet about clients because it makes it that much easier for other agents to "poach" my guys. I agree, but I feel like I am an outlier (or crazy, or both). I mean, I’m public enough that everyone knows my guys, and really I stopped caring in 2010. If guys are going to leave me, then they're going to leave. Twitter will not change that. I am going to promote the hell out of my clients and do right by all of them. I can’t live my life worrying about what other agents do.
Don't forget how great Joe Nathan was. And as he prepares for a comeback, don't forget what he's still working toward.
The last big-league pitch Joe Nathan threw was an 86 mph, 1-2 slider to Torii Hunter on Opening Day of last season. Hunter checked his swing, got rung up by umpire Joe West for a game-ending strikeout, and argued his way into a meaningless ejection (followed by several days of the usual “Joe West is the worst” headlines). Detroit beat Minnesota, Nathan got his 377th career save, and two days later he was placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery.
It was the second Tommy John surgery and third major arm surgery of Nathan’s career and at age 41 it seemed like the end of the line for the six-time All-Star closer, with a headline-grabbing one-out save against his former team and former teammate serving as a memorable final act. Instead, he rested and rehabbed, and last week Nathan signed a major-league contract with the Cubs that includes a spot on the 60-day disabled list until he’s ready to pitch again. As of now he’s aiming for early July.
Nathan wasn’t great for the Tigers before blowing out his elbow—posting a 4.78 ERA and 55/29 K/BB ratio in 58 innings—but having closely watched his entire Twins career it’s my duty to remind everyone of how great he was for a long time in Minnesota and later in Texas. Nathan at his best was as dominant as nearly any reliever in baseball history, and Nathan was at his best a lot. For instance, here’s a list of the pitchers since 1920 with the most seasons in which they threw at least 50 innings and posted an ERA below 2.00:
The 2010 Giants are back, sort of. Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard continues his takeover of the world, while Joe Kelly flashes great stuff.
The Weekend Takeaway
The ghost of the 2010 Giants was resurrected on Saturday when Matt Cain delivered his first win of 2016. Yes, yes, the baseball-god-defying Giants did lay claim to championship titles in 2012 and 2014, but the last time Cain’s cFIP dipped under 100 in a winning Giants season, he was headlining the rotation with Tim Lincecum and sporting a career-high 6.1 WARP while the club marched to their its World Series in San Francisco.
On August 30, 2015, Jake Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On September 1, 2015, liking Arrieta quite a bit, and bobbleheads more, I set up an eBay email alert for “Jake Arrieta Bobblehead.”
Chase Anderson (almost) shuts down the Cubs, Scherzer vs. Syndergaard lives up to the billing, and Kershaw vs. Trout lives up to Kershaw.
The Tuesday Takeaway
Milwaukee’s pitching has offered little excitement this year (except, perhaps, excitement about the fact that the Reds exist, which allows the Brewers to be second to last for most pitching stats instead of the worst in baseball). The Cubs’ hitting, on the other hand, has offered excitement near nonstop. And because baseball is weird, when the two met Tuesday night, the excitement was all Milwaukee’s—though the Cubs did their best to spoil that up until the very end.