5 Things: Choo's Cycle and First Trades
By Andrew Kahn
Is it the sign of the apocalypse? On Sunday, it rained in California, stopping a Padres home game for the first time since 2006 and washing out an Angels home game for the first time since 1995. If that doesn’t make you jealous of SoCal weather, nothing will. San Diego and Colorado were in the top of the fifth when play was stopped. They will make up the game, from the beginning, in September. In Anaheim, the Angels and Red Sox never got started. A police helicopter helped dry the field—you don’t see that every day—and they played a double-header the following day, which the Angels swept. Keep reading for some other notable happenings around baseball this past week.
Karns does it all for Rays
Baseball is a team sport, but Nathan Karns carried the Rays on Tuesday. The young right-hander threw five shutout innings and drove in the game’s only run in a 1-0 victory over the Phillies. Karns hit the first pitch of the third inning over the fence for his first career hit. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was the first interleague game decided 1-0 on a homer by the American League pitcher. It was also just the sixth time in history that an AL pitcher homered in a 1-0 game, and the last homer by an AL pitcher since 2011.
Shin-Soo Choo also had a historic night on Tuesday, becoming the second player to hit for the cycle in 2015. Playing in Colorado, the Rangers outfielder drove in the game’s first run with a second-inning double and followed it up with a solo blast to right in the fourth. He added an RBI single in the fifth, all against Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick. After a seventh-inning groundout, Choo led off the ninth with a rope off the base of the wall in center and used his speed to get to third. Texas won 9-0. The last Rangers player to hit for the cycle was Alex Rios in September 2013. Choo is having his second straight disappointing season after signing a seven-year, $130-million deal before the 2014 season. Tuesday was another example of him hitting well against righties, but his inability to hit lefties this season could turn him into a platoon player.
Let’s play two, sort of
The Cardinals and Mets have two of the best pitching staffs in baseball, and the Mets have scored the fewest runs in the National League. So maybe Sunday’s game shouldn’t have been all that surprising. The game was scoreless heading into the 13th, when the Mets finally broke through. Two pitches into the bottom of the inning, with Mets standout closer Jeurys Familia on the mound, the game was tied on Kolton Wong homer. Four more scoreless innings followed until the Mets got two in the 18th to win 3-1. That was despite New York leaving going 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position. The Cards went 0 for 8 (a pitiful number of chances given the length of the game) and Yadier Moline hit into three double plays, though he and opposing catcher Kevin Plawecki should be applauded for playing all 18 innings. The game lasted 5 hours and 55 minutes.
Have you ever seen a double play like this? I don’t think I have. Take it away, Troy Tulowitzki:
On Friday, a rocket one-hopper by Justin Upton pushed Tulowitzki towards the outfield grass, and he decided to jump in that direction to execute his throw to second. It looks so unnatural, but it was probably the fastest way to make that play, and All-Star second baseman D.J. LeMahieu completed the double play on the speedy Upton. It’s hard not to watch it over and over again, and not just because Vines are made that way.
The dominoes have started to fall as next Friday’s trade deadline looms. The Astros solidified their rotation by acquiring Scott Kazmir from Oakland for two minor leaguers. The lefty has a 2.38 ERA and 1.085 WHIP in 18 starts this season. And 12 years to the day after Pittsburgh traded him (to Chicago), Aramis Ramirez returned to the Pirates. The Brewers received a minor league pitcher. Pittsburgh third baseman Josh Harrison and shortstop Jordy Mercer are injured, and while Jung Ho Kang can play short, the Pirates clearly felt they needed infield help. Ramirez has been average at the plate this season, but that will still be an upgrade for the wild card leaders.
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
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