April 14, 2021

1. Baseball is starting to move the pitching mounds back

The Atlantic League (minors) will be moving their mounds 12 inches back, to 61'6" — a move we can only assume might be making its way to the desk of Rob Manfred in the next few seasons.

Too many strikeouts? Give the batters just another split-second of reaction time.

2. The Royals won on a walk-off pickoff with the bases loaded in the ninth

A pitch bouncing off the dirt, off the chest guard, off the knees of the Angels batter, and Salvador Perez comes up with it, whips it down to third — and David Fletcher was caught in no man’s land, for the final out of the game.

Earlier in the game he had another great moment, with Albert Pujols at the plate going: “You don’t need to tag me!” Watch him pivot his whole head around, as if to triple check he wasn’t being messed with:

3. Blake Snell was pulled in the first inning, and he wasn’t happy

It was his third start with the Padres, and he got the first two outs with ease. And then — a single, a walk, a mound visit. A double, a double, a walk, a hit-by-pitch. And just like that, he was yanked from the game:

4. The Red Sox have just won seven games in a row

Devers is going nuts. Martinez is going nuts. The whole team is going nuts, outscoring opponents 57–27 in the last seven games. Now leading the AL East after starting the year 0–3.

5. The Mets are in first after sweeping a doubleheader with a walk-off

In one day, somehow, they leap-frogged over the Phillies and the first-place New York Mets are here, at least for one afternoon:

Bases loaded, shortened game, and deep hit into the outfield from Jonathan Villar for an eighth-inning walkoff:

6. Zack Greinke is done with sliders completely

If you’re struggling with a pitch? Get rid of it entirely. And knowing the wonderful weirdness of how his mind works, he honestly might not be kidding:

7. Today in funny baseball: Dolis, Aguilar, Astudillo

And this might be the slide of the year so far — from the great Willians “La Tortuga” Astudillo:

8. The Cubs offense is historically bad

Somehow, they’re still 5–6, they won last night, and they’re not far from first place. But it’s been bad. Very, very bad:

9. From the Japanese league: a right fielder picks off a guy at first base

We’ve probably all seen the rare plays where a runner gets thrown out at first on a hard-hit ball to right, if they stumbled out of the box. But this? A base hit, the runner rounding first, then thrown out with a tag.

Never seen this before:

10. Absolute play of the week: this kid in little league

This kid needs to find a way to frame this video and put it up on his wall for life. Well deserving of all the plaudits coming his way (and five million views on Twitter):

11. Jake Cronenworth has only swung and missed twice in 2021

As of yesterday, the Padres infielder had 77 at-bats, and just two swings and misses. Not strikeouts, just individual pitches swung and missed at. Channeling the great Tony Gwynn here:

12. On the other hand, Freddie Freeman is getting “BABIP’d”

Twenty-six balls in play, and just one hit, for the 2020 NL MVP. The stat excludes home runs (and he has four so far)— but still, deeply unlucky:

13. Things are getting tense between Willson Contreras and the Brewers

He’s gotten HBP an absurd amount of times in the past few years, by Milwaukee, and again last night. Then the Cubs threw at Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, and Contreras came out and admitted as much after the game:

But, in the eighth inning, there was a two-run homer to left, to take the lead, and the winning hit — off the bat of Contreras. Wrestling home the last laugh, for now:

“It feels good to shut them up,” he said after the game (via MLB.com). “Tonight, we sent a message. I think they picked the wrong guy to throw at. That was a message sent.”

14. First it was Rougned Odor, now the Sergio Romo beard is gone

Here he was less than a year ago:

15. It’s mid-April, and we just had a snow game in Minneapolis

You just love to see it, every time it happens — so thank you, Minnesota:

If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, send me a DM on Twitter! I’ll be doing them all year, to package the best highlights and stories from around the league — and to make baseball easier and quicker to follow. I’ll likely start an email list soon, or a Patreon, and would appreciate any and all feedback and support 🙏

Twitter: @bbletter

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