August 16, 2021
1. Fernando Tatis Jr. is back, healthy, played right field, and hit two home runs in his first game
In case you missed it, baseball’s biggest star (or, shall we say, “Star 1A” deadlocked with Ohtani at “Star 1B”) took no time to readjust to the lineup, no time to adjust to his new position in right field — and returned to baseball exactly where he left off:
At the top of the mountain.
2. Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter in his first career start
Just imagine that. The nerves, going out there for the first time, your first major-league chance to get your reputation going, your career, making sure you don’t get shelled or blow up but just pitch and get through it all.
And then, you roll through the lineup without giving up a single hit.
A beautiful baseball moment, as Tyler Gilbert enters the history books alongside the likes of “Bobo Holloman” for one of the most obscure-but-coolest stats there can be.
Holloman didn’t last more than three months in the majors after his feat, so let’s hope for a little more luck for our guy Tyler Gilbert:
3. In related news, Triston McKenzie took a perfect game into the 8th inning
There hasn’t been a perfect game since Felix Hernandez in 2012, and this one came pretty close.
4. News update (12:30 ET) • Jake Arrieta is going to the Padres
Days after the Cubs released him, sadly but necessarily (given his numbers all season), the Padres decide to take a chance, to fill out some depth in their rotation. Glad to see him back in a major-league uniform.
5. The Dodgers swept the Mets in New York, with a blowout win in the third game
This might’ve been the weekend a giant fork was jabbed right into in the Mets’ season. They’d held on to first place all season until a week ago, just barely, and with each passing game the idea of recovering it becomes more and more farfetched. These guys are, as they say, “cooked”.
It got so bad last night that a position player came in to pitch, on a primetime Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN:
6. In the Friday game, play stopped because of a green laser beam shining into Max Muncy’s eyes
Looked like something out of a sci-fi movie, Muncy getting his ocular barcodes scanned just before alien invasion (or, less dramatically, a kid shining a laser pointer in the bleachers 400 feet away, as it turned out):
7. Chris Sale, at long last, is back
And he got to make his grand return at home, at Fenway:
8. The play of the weekend: This Little League kid
What a tag, what a play overall — brilliant from Team Connecticut.
9. More Little League highlights from the weekend
This might be the best “about me” answer we’ve ever seen.
Favorite school subject: lunch.
And then, out of Hawaii, a switch pitcher:
10. The White Sox and Yankees series was a classic
First, the “Field of Dreams” game (see previous newsletter), one of the best, most beautiful baseball occasions in many years — ending with a walk-off home run from Tim Anderson.
And then, the Saturday game. Electric atmosphere all night in Chicago, a packed house, fans on their feet every inning, and a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike HR from Jose Abreu to tie it and go to extras:
Then in the tenth, the Yankees took it right back with a deep shot to right, from Joey Gallo. And they went on to just hang on, win, and then won the Sunday game to stay right there in the AL East chase.
Also, Tona La Russa got ejected, Justin Fields threw out the first pitch — and the whole weekend (plus cornfield game) was summer baseball at its best.
11. Quote of the weekend: Max Scherzer (via Dave Roberts)
12. The Cubs are on another 11-game losing streak
This “rebuild” is not fun, you guys.
At least we can look at it this way?
13. Kyle Schwarber is off the IL, debuts with the Red Sox
14. The only silver lining for the Mets this weekend, a bit of (meaningless but still fun) wizardry on the base paths
15. And lastly, an update to the Trevor Bauer situation
After being silent for a month, he took to Twitter to chime in on his accusations. The crowd online has generally been ripping him, which generally feels unfair (Twitter tends to form itself into mobs, as you’ve likely seen) — but in any case, if you click around on that tweet and the thread beneath it, you’ll get Bauer’s take, including long recordings/screenshots of conversations between him and one of the women.
Personally, not a fan of the guy, the entire situation is very off-putting at best (and obviously much worse, at worst) but it also feels wise to simply let the legal process play out, and then assess exactly what happened and how we should feel about him.