Good morning, Athletics Nation!
For once, the big stories from last weekend in Major League Baseball had to do with action on the field. Sure, there was another coronavirus scare, this time in the Giants’ clubhouse, but it turned out to be a false positive so we don’t need to dwell on it. We can talk some ball.
Foremost, Albert Pujols hit his 660th career homer on Sunday, tying him with Willie Mays in one of the most hallowed numbers in MLB history. The pair are knotted for fifth all-time, behind just Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), and Alex Rodriguez (696), and ahead of Ken Griffey Jr (630). The historic dinger came after an extended wait, more than a month since Pujols’ 659th long ball on Aug. 4.
The 40-year-old has long sealed his Hall of Fame case. His 3,230 hits rank 15th, and he still has time to pass Nap Lajoie this season. In addition to the homers, his 669 doubles also rank fifth (behind Speaker, Rose, Musial, Cobb). His 101 bWAR are 30th all-time, including pitchers, currently sandwiched between Randy Johnson and Joe Morgan. Toss in three MVPs and two rings for good measure.
The day didn’t entirely belong to Pujols, though. Alec Mills of the Chicago Cubs threw a no-hitter against the Brewers, the second no-no in the majors this year. He struck out five and walked three, using 114 pitches to finish it off. Click here to watch all 27 outs.
Mills, an unheralded 28-year-old righty soft-tosser with barely 100 career innings to his name, is one of the unlikelier pitchers in no-hitter history. He was a college walk-on, a 22nd-round draft pick, acquired in a minor 2017 trade that nobody remembers, and he’s only even in the rotation right now because of an injury to someone else.
Incredibly, this isn’t the first time that Pujols has shared the stage of history. MLB’s Sarah Langs points out three other times that Pujols reached a major career milestone on the same day as a no-hitter.
Congrats to Pujols and Mills! And also a warm thank you to Pujols from A’s fans for only reaching the playoffs once in nine seasons with the Angels — really makes these milestones easier for us to enjoy.
- Slusser podcast: Guest is Dave Kaval
- Kawahara: A’s Matt Chapman injury: How other MLB players recovered from hip surgery ($)
- Hickey: Come Fly With Them: Athletics Have 4 Games, 3 Cities, 3 Time Zones in 57 Hours
- Hickey: Will Jake Lamb be the Answer to Athletics’ Third Base Quandry?
- Coffey (from February): A’s pitching prospect Daulton Jefferies brings color to his moments of darkness ($$$)
- Injury update: Matt Chapman will have season-ending hip surgery
- Injury update: A’s place Chad Pinder on injured list, call up Nate Orf
- Injury update: A.J. Puk to have shoulder surgery
- News: A’s expected to sign Jake Lamb
- Game #43: A’s hold on in Texas slugfest, win 10-6 over Rangers
- Game #44: Daulton Jefferies debut spoiled by Rangers in 5-2 A’s loss
- Game #45: A’s demolish Rangers 10-1 to split doubleheader
- Game #46: A’s can’t withstand strong Odor of Texas in 6-3 loss to Rangers
MLB News & Interest
- Schulman: Giants’ Alex Dickerson reveals stress of false-positive virus test for him, pregnant wife ($)
- Bloom: Arizona Fall League another baseball casualty as development grinds to a halt
- Norris: After A Season That Wasn’t, Minor League Teams Wait For Their Fate ($$$)
- Rome: Jose Altuve, Blake Taylor could return for Astros’ next homestand
- Franco (roundup): Reds Place Sonny Gray On Injured List (back strain)
- Szymborski: Texas’ Skinny Rebuild Isn’t Working Out
- Today in Baseball History
Yesterday Game Highlights
Friday: Win! Including another Olson grand slam!
... And I forgot to include this in the Game Recap because it was already 10-0, but Mark Canha robbed a homer
Saturday: Doubleheader split! And Chris Bassitt led the way in the win.
... And the A’s even won a replay review! Third time’s the charm for reviews of Matt Olson sliding into home plate.
The pure joy after winning a replay review pic.twitter.com/Z2eEbN4LC7— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 13, 2020
Sunday: Loss! But on the bright side, La STEEEELLLLLLAAAA!!!
Best of A’s Twitter
This qualifies as good news in 2020
Scott Boras tells me that Chapman's injury is a torn hip labrum, procedure will be virtually identical to the one Sean Manaea had the day he was drafted. Recovery expected to be straightforward, he should return to full strength.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 12, 2020
Potential recovery timeline
Buster Posey had surgery for a torn labrum and to repair an impingement on Aug. 27, 2018 and was in the lineup for the Giants on Opening Day in 2019, so hopefully that's a realistic timeline for Chapman.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) September 12, 2020
O Chaptain my chaptain
Bob Melvin on losing Matt Chapman for the season: "He's been a leader since the moment he arrived here. It's one thing to look at the numbers, but there are also intangibles that we miss. This is quite a blow for us."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) September 12, 2020
Friday’s seven-run 1st inning was historic
2nd time in Oakland #Athletics history they go Walk, Walk, Walk, Slam in the 1st inning.— David Feldman (@dfeldy) September 12, 2020
First time was June 6, 2000 vs Padres
Long - Walk
Velarde - Walk
Jason Giambi - Walk
Matt Stairs - Slam
(Off Rodrigo Lopez)
That 2016 draft class is already looking good, other than Puk getting hurt
Jefferies is the 5th member of the A’s 2016 draft class to reach the majors and the third to debut this season (Brandon Bailey and Eli White are the other two).— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) September 11, 2020
Always love hearing the fun and creative ways managers use to tell prospects they’ve been called up!
Daulton Jefferies said he learned he was making his first ML start when Bob Melvin called him into his office and showed him both lineups for the doubleheader and said, “I need a starter. Do you know any?”— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 13, 2020
Go get ‘em next time, kid
Bob Melvin thinks Jefferies probably had some nerves going based on the fact he seldom walks batters, and walked two, and he might have been a little amped up and throwing changeup (two HRs) harder than he usually would.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 12, 2020
Enjoy the top plays of the week!
Best of MLB Twitter
Postseason bubble has been announced
Baseball's bubble plan is set. Now all baseball needs is an agreement on how to integrate families.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 12, 2020
News at ESPN on all the playoff locations, what the hold-ups are and why there is growing confidence that a deal to codify it could be struck next week: https://t.co/hZ2Y4GPAkt pic.twitter.com/cWqDwildFT
Giants (Alex Dickerson) had a positive coronavirus test this weekend but it turned out to be a false positive and they’ve already resumed play
Update from Major League Baseball: pic.twitter.com/OfDMePo4fs— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 13, 2020
Confirmed: Padres are good at hitting
This was a first in MLB history
At least he’s fun to watch while he’s shutting your team down
Was trying to figure out what Zack Greinke was saying last night....— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 14, 2020
Maldonado sets up inside
Smith looks jammed on the pitch, even though Greinke missed his spot a bit, over the plate.
Looks like Greinke says to Maldando:
"Is that why you wanted to throw him inside?"
Ace of Baseball
Shout out to the organist at Dodgers stadium playing Ace of Base “I Saw the Sign” during Dodgers/Astros game.— Tom Clark (@tomclarkcomedy) September 13, 2020
Many more presidential names mentioned in the replies
The full name of the Nats’ winning pitcher tonight is James Buchanan Bourque. I know of Grover Cleveland Alexander, Theodore Roosevelt Lilly. Anyone else in MLB have a first+middle name of a POTUS? (My name is John Tyler Kepner, so I notice this stuff.)— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) September 12, 2020
We mourn the loss of an amazing human being tonight. Charles Peterson, 46, Scout with the @Cardinals, passed away today from Covid-19. Anybody who knew Charles knew that every time you talked to him, you were talking to somebody genuine. RIP Charles. You will be greatly missed.— Pro Edge Sports Management (@ProEdgeBaseball) September 14, 2020
This isn’t baseball, but if you’re a Warriors fan you’ll understand
The Boston Celtics have just accomplished the impossible — they are the first team to ever beat Patrick McCaw in the playoffs.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) September 12, 2020