Musings and notes from Saturday in baseball.
Help On the Way
It's been a good news weekend for the Yankees. On Friday, the team got second baseman Starlin Castro back after more than a month on the DL. Castro, who had been dealing with a bum hamstring, went 1 for 5 in a 2-1 loss against Seattle last night. With Castro in and out of the lineup since June, the Yanks have done a good job of withstanding his absence, but Castro is a key part of their lineup. The 27-year-old is batting .306/.340/.470 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs.
On Saturday, the Yankees got Greg Bird back. The first baseman has been out since May with an ankle injury. Bird, who was the star of spring training with eight home runs and a ridiculous .451/.556/1.098, got off to a 6 for 60 start in the regular season before hitting the DL. Ironically, it was Bird that many observers expected to have a breakout year, not Aaron Judge.
Bird went 1-for-2 with two walks in the Yankees's 6-3 win over Seattle on Saturday afternoon. If the Yankees (69-59) can get good productivity out of Bird and Castro, they will be even more dangerous in the postseason. After losing four straight to start August, the Yanks are 12-8 for the rest of the month. With Sonny Gray pitching well, and the return of some offensive punch with Bird and Castro, the Yanks could run into October with some momentum.
Here Come the Cubs?
Tommy La Stella has carved out a nice career as a reliable utility player. He can play multiple positions and has a career .263 average. He's a nice bench player.
He's not a power hitter. He entered today's game against the Phillies with three home runs, and seven career dingers. In the Cubs's 17-2 drubbing of the the woeful Phils, La Stella hit two homers and had four RBI. It was the first two-homer game of his career. the Cubs also got two homers from Anthony Rizzo, and bombs from Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist. Pitcher Kyle Hendricks had two hits in the seventh inning, including a two-run double.
Remember how the Cubs started the season off so poorly? Google "Cubs Panic 2017" and you can find a number of articles about how it was all over for the defending champs. Well, the Cubs are 69-59 now. They're solidly in the playoffs. They might not be Dodgers-good (who is?) but they are largely the same team from last year. Counting out the Cubs was so June.
This whole nickname thing is nice and all, a good way to show that baseball is fun, but there should be a limit here, some sort of rule-based system.
But really, Dustin "Laser Show" Pedroia? Really, Jake "Big Fudge" Marisnick? (although big props to Welington "Beef" Castro)
Nicknames are fine, a good way to show some character, but take a look at most of the nicknames on the list, and they seem like nothing but a weird inside joke. Keep it to nicknames most fans know--otherwise it just seems weird.