April 19, 2021

1. Joey Votto turned a triple play

And he could’ve very easily done it unassisted, if he’d thought to run the ball over to third base himself — a sequence that definitely would never have happened before in baseball:

There have only been 15 unassisted triple plays in MLB history — how great would it have been to see Votto of all people tacked onto that list?

2. Mookie Betts made the most dramatic catch of the year

On Saturday, episode 2 of the Dodgers vs. Padres show. The ongoing must-watch 19-game series of the season, this new Southern California rivalry (that Dodger fans insist is no rivalry, yet), with the first game on Friday a perfect ten — and now, the ending of the second game:

Two-run game. Runners on second and third for the Padres, two outs. If the ball drops, the game is tied — and then, that catch.

We’re spoiled, baseball fans.

3. In the same game, Darvish walked Kershaw for the winning run after things got heated again

Pitchers’ duel, tie game, 0–0. Kershaw and Darvish — former throwing partners in the offseason until they got on opposite sides of the rivalry. And now, facing each other with all the greatness of no-D.H. National League baseball.

Kershaw fought his way into the game-winning RBI:

And minutes before, there was this — Profar inducing a questionable catcher’s interference play, getting first base, and both of them getting into it.

This series was as good as it gets.

4. Jacob deGrom struck out nine batters in a row

He was just one short of tying the record, by Tom “The Franchise” Seaver:

5. The A’s win eight in a row, the Yankees lose five in a row

Oakland started the year in a 1–7 abyss, the kind of place you wonder if they’ll get back out of at all, maybe by mid-May at the earliest — and here we are a week later, they’re 9–7, a game back in the AL West.

Another walk-off winner, from Mitch Moreland:

And then, in New York, the Yankees continue to slide:

6. Error of the week: Josh Naylor

Bottom of the ninth, two outs, one-run lead for Cleveland. And then, Josh Naylor does an homage to the Bill Buckner play, and the Reds have a man on second base. A minute later, the Reds tied it, and an inning after that, they clinched the walk-off win.

Must-watch — the yikes factor is off the charts:

7. Salvador Perez hit a 459-foot walk-off HR, and the Royals are good

Waterfall shot for the win, Kauffman Stadium:

8. Max Scherzer passed Cy Young on the all-time strikeouts list

He’s now 22nd in baseball history:

9. Shane Bieber is doing unbelievable things on the mound

Ten strikeouts in each of his first four starts in 2021.

10. The Red Sox wore bright yellow uniforms

A tribute to the Boston Marathon, and call me crazy but something about the particular shade/fabric of that yellow just pops. And normally these kinds of things teams go for just look awful:

11. Jay Bruce decides to retire from baseball

He’s been underperforming for the Yankees, so he went and called it a day (13+ seasons, 20 WAR). Here’s what’s probably his best-ever MLB moment, in 2010:

12. Kyle Hendricks got rocked in the first inning on Sunday Night Baseball

Among Cub fans, we love the guy, but this team continues to look ugly — the day after they broke out, finally, with thirteen runs, six HRs, they go out and give up four home runs in the first inning:

13. Sean Kazmar Jr. (Braves) made his first MLB appearance in thirteen years

His last appearance? September 23, 2008.

This’ll make you feel old — Ronald Acuña Jr. was just four months old in 2008. Kidding, but still — wow:

14. James McCann threw a runner out at second to end the game

The Mets are now 7–4, first place in the NL East.

15. Lastly, this play in the Marlins game was wild

Never seen anything quite like this — the bobble, then palming it with a millisecond to spare, to end the top of the tenth inning:

And then in the bottom half of the inning, Jorge Alfaro hit the winner. Two runs score, Marlins win 7–6:

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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The Baseball Newsletter

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