By Andrew Kahn
Baseball is a funny game. On Monday, for the first time in modern Major League history, a starting pitcher recorded double-digit strikeouts, allowed double-digit hits, and lasted fewer than five innings. The next night, it happened again, with the same teams involved. The Padres’ Andrew Cashner first pulled off the feat against the Mets, and then Noah Syndergaard had a similar stat line the following night against the Pads. Neither pitcher walked a batter either. Baseball is funny, and weird, and you’ll see more evidence of that below.
Lloyd the lovable lunatic
Remember when Lloyd McClendon, then managing the Pirates, argued a call and ended up leaving his hat on the field but took first base? His tirade on Tuesday wasn’t nearly as epic, but he did get a three-for-one special. After two Yankees hitters drew walks on check swings, McClendon stormed out of the dugout and yelled at the first base, home plate, and third base umpires (the check swings occurred from both sides of the plate, so all three umps were involved). He throws and kicks his hat, walking off the field without it but declining to trade it for a base this time.
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It’s been a while since Grady Sizemore was tearing it up for the Indians, so let’s revisit his early years. From 2005, his first full season, through 2008, he made three All Star teams, won two Gold Gloves in center field, and finished in the top 12 of the MVP voting three times. He hit 107 homers and stole 115 bases over those four seasons, when he was 22 to 25 years old. But injuries derailed his career and, on Monday, the Phillies released him. Sizemore had a .245 batting average with no homers in 104 plate appearances this season. Traded from the Expos organization along with Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips in exchange for Bartolo Colon in 2002, Sizemore was an exciting five-tool player before the surgeries began in 2009. He missed all of 2012 and 2013 before signing with Boston and eventually Philadelphia. It’s hard to imagine his career might be over at 32 years old.
Stop, drop, and roll
Covering first isn’t always easy for a pitcher, especially locating the base while fielding a throw and avoiding the runner. Gio Gonzalez couldn’t afford to think about that last night as he raced Kris Bryant to the bag in the third inning. The throw from first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was behind him, causing Gonzalez to reach back with his right hand to make the catch before rolling towards the base. It appears that while Bryant beats him there, he misses the base, so Gonzalez’s left shin is what eventually prompts the out call. The play helped the Nationals keep the Cubs off the board in the third, but Chicago’s two runs in the first proved to be enough in a 2-1 win.
Give me a break
There may be no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, but as Giancarlo Stanton showed, there is a wrong way to eat a Kit-Kat. The slugger took one big bite out of a four-bar Kit-Kat instead of snapping off the bars and consuming them individually. We know this because Stanton’s teammate Dee Gordon posted a photo—and his disapproval—Monday on Twitter:
Stanton looks very pleased, but Gordon and most of the commenters are somewhere on the spectrum between bemused and repulsed. And while we’re making a big deal out of nothing, it should be mentioned that Gordon’s Twitter background photos show him in a Dodgers jersey.
The Tigers have won the American League Central four straight years and got off to a good start this season—they were nine games over .500 on May 22. But they’ve lost seven in a row and their 28-27 record has them in third place, five games back of the Royals and just 2.5 games in front of last place. Miguel Cabrera doesn’t have a home run during the skid but has been hitting well; he’s not the problem. The starting pitching has been. The Detroit staff has recorded just one quality start during the losing streak. After three terrific starts to open the season, Shane Greene’s ERA is now 5.40; Anibel Sanchez’s is at 5.69. The good news for Detroit? Justin Verlander could make his season debut next week. Kyle Ryan will make his second career start for the Tigers tonight as they begin a three -game series with the White Sox in Chicago.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about baseball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn