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Archive for May 15th, 2018

MLB April AL, NL Rookies of the Month: Angels’ Ohtani, Padres’ Villanueva




Shohei Ohtani (courtesy


Christian Villanueva (courtesy



Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has been voted American League Rookie of the Month for April, and San Diego Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva has been voted National League Rookie of the Month for the first month of the 2018 season.

In recognition of their Rookie of the Month Awards, Shohei Ohtani and Christian Villanueva will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.

In 16 games as designated hitter for the Angels, Ohtani batted .341 (15-for-44) with six runs scored, one double, a triple, four home runs and 12 RBI. Across four starts on the mound, the rookie two-way sensation went 2-1 with 26 strikeouts, nine walks and a 4.43 ERA over 20.1 innings pitched. With a minimum of 20 at-bats, Shohei finished his historic month among AL rookies first in slugging percentage (.682); second in home runs; tied for second in RBI; fourth in on-base percentage (.383) and runs scored; and tied for fourth in extra-base hits (6). On the mound, the Japanese native paced the Junior Circuit in strikeouts and matched Carson Fulmer of the Chicago White Sox for the second-most wins.

In his first career start at Angel Stadium on April 8th against the Oakland Athletics, Ohtani turned in one of the best pitching performances of the season thus far, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning. Registering 12 punchouts in the 6-1 victory, the 23-year-old generated 24 swings and misses. In addition, the right-handed pitcher became just the third hurler in AL history to record at least 12 strikeouts in one of the first two starts of his career, joining Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (1960) and Steve Woodard (1997). Ohtani also became the second pitcher in Club history to record 12 strikeouts, one walk and yield just one hit in a single outing, joining Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (1972). Moreover, from April 3rd-6th, the left-handed-swinging slugger homered in three consecutive contests. Ohtani is just the third player in MLB history to log a pair of wins as a pitcher and record three round-trippers in his team’s first 10 games of a season, and the first since Jim Shaw in 1919. Moreover, Shohei became the third player in history to homer in three straight games and post more than 10 strikeouts in a single outing during the same season, a feat he accomplished in just one week. Hall of Famer Babe Ruth (1916) and Ken Brett (1973) previously accomplished the feat. The hard-throwing 23-year-old established a new Angels record with 26 punchouts through his first four career games as a pitcher, eclipsing the previous mark of 24 punchouts set by Bo Belinsky (1962) and Tim Fortugno (1992).

Others receiving votes for AL Rookie of the Month included third baseman Miguel Andújar (.289, 10 R, 12 2B, 12 RBI) and first baseman Tyler Austin (.290, 12 R, 11 XBH, 15 RBI) of the New York Yankees; second baseman Joey Wendle (.329, 13 R, 8 XBH, 9 RBI) of the Tampa Bay Rays; and pitcher Hector Velázquez (4-0, 2.05 ERA, 22.0 IP, 15 SO) of the Boston Red Sox.

Villanueva posted a slash line of .321/.411/.692 with 15 runs scored, 25 hits, five doubles, eight home runs, 19 RBI and eight walks over 23 games to earn monthly honors. Christian is the first Padre to win NL Rookie of the Month since Ryan Schimpf took home rookie honors in July 2016. Among his qualified NL rookie counterparts, Villanueva finished his strong month first in runs scored, home runs, RBI, extra-base hits (13), batting average and slugging percentage; second in on-base percentage; tied for second in hits; and tied for third in walks.

On April 3rd against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park, Villanueva batted 3-for-3 with four runs scored, three home runs and five RBI. The right-handed slugger became the second Padres rookie ever to club three homers in a single game, joining his teammate Hunter Renfroe, who accomplished the feat on September 20, 2017 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Villanueva became just the third player in MLB history to post a three-homer game within his first 14 career contests, joining Bobby Estalella and Jarrett Parker. Following a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 16th in which he went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, San Diego’s rookie third baseman homered for the third time in as many games. Christian became the fifth hitter in Club history to accomplish the feat, and the first since Alex Dickerson, who homered in four consecutive games from July 24-27, 2016. In a home tilt against the New York Mets on April 28th, Villanueva batted 1-3 with a pair of runs scored, one home run and two RBI to lead the Padres to a 12-2 victory. The productive outing extended the rookie’s hitting streak to 11 games, dating back to April 13th. The 26-year-old’s streak of 11 contests was the longest by a Padres rookie since Jesus Guzman, who recorded a streak of 12 games from July 30 – August 11, 2011. Over the course of his hot stretch at the plate, the Guadalajara, Mexico native slashed .472/.578/.972 with 11 runs scored, 17 hits, three doubles, five homers and 12 RBI.

Others receiving votes for NL Rookie of the Month included Christian’s teammates, outfielder Franchy Cordero (11 R, 6 HR, 13 RBI, .552 SLG) and starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi (3-1, 2.78 ERA, 32.1 IP, 35 SO), as well as third baseman Brian Anderson (.265, 13 R, 8 XBH, 16 RBI) of the Miami Marlins.


Read more: San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels


Historical highlights for Sunday, May 13, 2018: Mother’s Day and 133rd Day of the Year




(courtesy http


Although the custom of setting aside a day to honor mothers has ancient roots, our observance of Mother’s Day originated in 1907 with the efforts of a devoted daughter, Anna M. Jarvis of Philadelphia, who conceived the idea of an annual nationwide celebration. The public and the press quickly embraced the idea, and villages, towns, cities, and states soon began unofficial Mother’s Day observances. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day, and within a few years, the idea gained worldwide prominence. The day is now characterized by gift giving, sending greeting cards and flowers, and giving mother a “day off” by taking the family out to eat.













Historical highlights for Saturday, May 12, 2018: Day 132 of the Year



(courtesy http















Yankees’ Gregorius, D-Backs’ Pollock named AL, NL Player of the Month for April



Didi Gregorius in field 2015 photo Keith Allison on Flickr via wikipedia commons


A.J. Pollock on field 2015 photo By Mark Winograd - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https

New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has been voted the Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month for his play through April, and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock has been voted the Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for April.

The Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month, Didi Gregorius, and the Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month, A.J. Pollock, will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.

Gregorius posted a slash line of .327/.421/.735 with 24 runs scored, 32 hits, eight doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 30 RBI and two stolen bases to claim his first career AL Player of the Month Award. Didi’s All-Star teammate Aaron Judge won a pair of monthly awards last season, including the most recent honor last September. Among qualified AL leaders, the Amsterdam, Netherlands native finished the month first in RBI and slugging percentage; tied

for first in home runs and extra-base hits (19); tied for second in runs scored; tied for fourth in walks (18); and tied for sixth in doubles. On April 27th against the Los Angeles Angels, the 28-year-old went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a double and a solo home run. The go-ahead homer in the 10th inning was the first extra-inning home run of his career and his 10th on the season. With the blast, Didi, who earned AL Player of the Week honors for the period ending April 30th, became the fourth player in team history to club 10 round-trippers in April, joining Graig Nettles (1974), Alex Rodriguez (2007) and Judge (2017). In addition, the clutch round-tripper resulted in his 30th RBI on the season, the third-highest April RBI total in franchise history (since RBI became an official statistic in 1920). Tino Martinez recorded 34 RBI during

April of his AL MVP-runner-up season of 1997, while Rodriguez also plated 34 in April during his AL MVP-winning 2007 campaign. The round-tripper was also his fifth over a six-game stretch. From April 22nd-25th, the left-handed-hitting slugger homered in four straight games, becoming the first shortstop in Yankees lore to accomplish the feat. With his aforementioned slash line, Gregorius became just the fourth player in Major League history to slash at least .325/.420/.735 in April with at least 10 home runs and 30 RBI, joining Albert Pujols in 2006 (.346/.509/.914, 14 HR, 32 RBI), Larry Walker in 2001 (.375/.446/.852, 11 HR, 30 RBI) and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. during his AL MVP-winning 1997 season (.340/.420/.786, 13 HR, 30 RBI).

Others receiving votes for AL Player of the Month included All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts (.344, 29 R, 11 2B, 8 HR) of the Boston Red Sox; outfielder Mitch Haniger (.309, 6 2B, 10 HR, 27 RBI) of the Seattle Mariners; and infielder Daniel Robertson (.333, 14 R, 9 XBH, .561 SLG) of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Pollock batted .291 (30-for-103) with 20 runs scored, eight doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 24 RBI and six stolen bases over 27 games to claim his first career Player of the Month Award, and the second consecutive monthly honor for the D-backs, following J.D. Martinez last September. Among his qualified NL counterparts, A.J. finished the month tied for first in home runs; second in extra-base hits (19) and slugging percentage (.670); third in RBI and stolen bases; tied for third in triples; and tied for seventh in doubles.

Pollock finished his award-winning month of April with his first career three-home run game at Chase Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 30th. The Notre Dame product became the 12th player in Club history to accomplish the feat, and the first since the aforementioned Martinez on September 4th of last season during his award-winning month. Following his prolific output, A.J.’s nine round-trippers in April matched Steve Finley (2000), Richie Sexson (2004) and Kelly Johnson (2010) for the second-most in team history, trailing just Luis Gonzalez (13 HR, 2001). Moreover, Arizona’s first round selection in the 2009 (17th overall) MLB Draft became the first player in D-backs history to post at least nine homers and six stolen bases in March/April. Led by their All-Star outfielder, Arizona entered May with 20 victories on the season and matched the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers and the 2008 D-backs for the most wins by an NL Club in March/April in MLB history. This year’s Boston Red Sox and the 2003 New York Yankees each recorded 21 wins following the month of April. In addition, for the first time in franchise history, Arizona went the entire month of April without losing back-to-back games. Entering play today, Arizona paces the NL West by 6.0 games with a 21-8 record.

Second baseman Ozzie Albies (29 R, 12 2B, 9 HR, 20 RBI) was also outstanding for the Atlanta Braves as the 2018 season got underway. The 21-year-old established a new franchise record for the most extra-base hits (22) by the end of April, eclipsing the previous mark of 19 set by Dale Murphy, Hall of Fame electee Chipper Jones and Justin Upton. Led by their dynamic second baseman, the Braves finished the month of April pacing the NL in runs scored (151), hits (260), doubles (66), batting average (.268), on-base percentage (.342) and slugging percentage (.440), and entered May with a winning record for the first time since 2014. Others receiving votes for NL Player of the Month included NL Rookie of the Month Christian Villanueva (.321, 15 R, 8 HR, 19 RBI) of the San Diego Padres; infielder Javier Báez (.280, 20 R, 18 XBH, 26 RBI) of the Chicago Cubs; two-time All-Star Asdrúbal Cabrera (.340, 20 R, 14 XBH, 17 RBI) of the New York Mets; outfielders Odúbel Herrera (.343, 16 R, 9 XBH, 13 RBI) and Rhys Hoskins (.303, 16 R, 12 XBH, 19 RBI) of the Philadelphia Phillies; All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman (.314, 19 R, 11 2B, 19 RBI) of the Braves; and five-time All-Star Bryce Harper (23 R, 8 HR, 19 RBI, .458 OBP) of the Washington Nationals.


A’s Manaea, Nationals’ Scherzer named AL, NL Pitchers of the Month for April


Sean Maaea pitching to the plate 2016 photo By Jrchun - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https

Max Scherzer throwing plateward 2015 photo by David on Flickr via wikipedia commons


Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for his efforts in March and April, and Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for the opening month-plus of the 2018 season.

In recognition of their Pitcher of the Month Awards, Sean Manaea and Max Scherzer will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.

Manaea compiled a 4-2 record with a 1.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts over six starts to earn his first career AL Pitcher of the Month Award and the first for an A’s hurler since southpaw Rich Hill in May 2016. Sean tossed his first career no-hitter and permitted just 20 hits, four home runs and seven free passes across 43.2 innings pitched. Among qualified AL starting pitchers, the 26-year-old finished his outstanding month first in ERA, tied for first in wins and second in innings pitched, while also limiting opposing batters to the fewest hits.

In a home contest on April 21st against the 17-2 (.895) Boston Red Sox, Manaea tossed the seventh no-hitter in Oakland history and the 12th in franchise history. It was the first no-hitter in the Majors since Edinson Vólquez recorded his no-no for the Miami Marlins on June 3rd of last season, and the first for the A’s since Dallas Braden’s Mother’s Day perfect game on May 9, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Entering their tilt against the A’s, the Red Sox paced the Majors in runs per game (6.5). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Oakland’s Dave Stewart, who shut down the Toronto Blue Jays on June 29, 1990, was the last pitcher to log a no-hitter against a team that led MLB in runs per game. In addition, Boston possessed the highest winning percentage of any team to be no-hit in Major League history (minimum: five games played). The Indiana native needed just 108 pitches to complete his outing and logged a season-best 10 punchouts. The left-hander became the third pitcher in franchise history to log at least 10 strikeouts in a no-hitter, joining Stewart (1990) and Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter (1968). Manaea followed up his brilliant performance by limiting the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros to zero earned runs to go along with seven punchouts on April 27th at Minute Maid Park. The 34th overall selection in the 2013 MLB Draft (by Kansas City) enters play today having not allowed more than two earned runs in any start this season.

Six-time All-Star Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.36 ERA, 39.2 IP, 48 SO) of the Houston Astros also posted a strong month of April. In 11 regular season starts with Houston dating back to last September, the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner has compiled a 9-0 record with a 1.22 ERA and 91 strikeouts across 73.2 innings. The 2017 American League Championship Series MVP is the second pitcher in Club history to start his Houston career with a nine-game regular season winning streak, joining Roger Clemens, who began his Astros career 9-0 during his National League Cy Young Award-winning 2004 season. Others receiving votes for AL Pitcher of the Month included two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (4-1, 2.18 ERA, 45.1 IP, 47 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; All-Star Gerrit Cole (2-1, 1.73 ERA, 41.2 IP, 61 SO) and Charlie Morton (4-0, 1.72 ERA, 36.2 IP, 45 SO) of the Astros; and closers Craig Kimbrel (1-1, 0.77 ERA, 12 G, 15 SO) of the Boston Red Sox and the American League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford Edwin Díaz (14 G, 0.63 ERA, 14 SV, 27 SO) of the Seattle Mariners.

Scherzer compiled a 5-1 record with 57 strikeouts, nine walks and a 1.62 ERA to claim his fourth career NL Pitcher of the Month Award, last winning with the Nationals in June 2017. The right-handed pitcher limited opposing batters to just two home runs and 23 hits across 39.0 innings pitched in six starts. Among qualified NL starters, Max finished the month first in strikeouts and wins, second in innings pitched, and third in ERA.

On April 9th against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park, Scherzer tossed his fifth career complete-game shutout and the first of the 2018 season. The five-time All-Star logged 10 strikeouts, did not permit a walk and surrendered just two hits to lead the Nationals to a 2-0 victory over Atlanta. It was the 19th outing of his career in which he registered at least 10 strikeouts and did not allow an earned run. Those 19 starts are tied for ninth all-time, and second among active Major Leaguers, trailing only fellow three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (23) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his home start against the Colorado Rockies on April 14th, the 33-year-old veteran earned his third win of the season with 7.0 innings of two-run ball. The hard-throwing right-hander retired his final 20 batters in a row and limited the Rockies to just one hit and two walks while recording 11 punchouts. Since making his Major League debut in 2008, Scherzer, who also notched 10 punchouts in his final start of the month on April 25th, paces all Major League hurlers in games with at least 10 punchouts. The 11th overall selection of the 2006 MLB Draft has done so four times thus far this season, and has 68 such outings over the course of his storied career. In addition, the Missouri native was the 13th pitcher in MLB history to record at least 10 strikeouts in three of the Club’s first 15 games of a season. Overall, Washington’s ace is off to the most prolific start in Nationals/Expos history, becoming the first starter to record at least 57 strikeouts and a sub-2.00 ERA in the season’s opening month.

Others receiving votes for NL Pitcher of the Month included All-Star starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (3-0, 0.84 ERA, 32.0 IP, 26 SO) of the San Francisco Giants; the National League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford Josh Hader (18.0 IP, 1.00 ERA, 4 SV, 39 SO) of the Milwaukee Brewers; and starter Patrick Corbin (4-0, 2.25 ERA, 40.0 IP, 55 SO) of the Arizona Diamondbacks.


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