The Upper Deck
Welcome to The Upper Deck, Baseball America's daily look at the biggest stories around the game and some lighter fare.
PRETTY, PRETTY, PRETTY GOOD DEAL
As far as trade deadline acquisitions go, it'll be tough to beat J.D. Martinez this season for impact. Martinez became the 18th player in MLB history—and second this season (Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett)—to hit four home runs in one game. Acquired from the Tigers on July 18 for third baseman Dawel Lugo and shortstops Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, Martinez has 18 homers in 144 at-bats for Arizona and 34 overall. And he'll be a free agent after the season. That's some good timing right there.
Meanwhile, the D-Backs have won 11 in a row and sent the Dodgers to their fourth loss in a row and ninth in 10 games. L.A.'s still leads the NL West by 12 1/2 games over Arizona.
53 AND COUNTING
There’s no stopping @Giancarlo818. pic.twitter.com/RC5IruCJ6k— MLB (@MLB) September 5, 2017
The runaway train known as Giancarlo Stanton struck again Monday. Stanton cracked his 53rd homer—and 32nd in the past 54 games—in a loss to the Nationals. In the past 65 games, Stanton is hitting .303/.414/.798 with 35 homers and 65 RBIs.
CAN'T CATCH A BREAKMaybe Mikie Mahtook is like Bobby Brady when he found that ancient Tiki idol in Hawaii, bringing bad luck to the whole Brady clan. OK, maybe not the timeliest analogy, but still, Mahtook has run into some bad fortune of late. After accidentally swatting Jose Ramirez's long drive over the fence Sunday for a home run, he found himself on the other end Monday.
Mahtook belted a ball to deep left at Comerica Field Monday, only to see the Royals' Alex Gordon rob him blind. Wait for Mahtook's reaction in that video, which comes after the first base coach congratulates him.
Trevor Bauer: Telling Avisail Garcia to get Back in the Box...then Telling him to go sit down. 😳 pic.twitter.com/t3vTk5L2ui— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 4, 2017
Much has been made of Trevor Bauer's unique pregame routines. But it was his in-game actions Monday that drew attention. The Indians righthander objected to Avisail Garcia stepping out of the box, and he let the White Sox outfielder know that in no uncertain terms.
"He likes to run his mouth," Bauer told reporters. "You start sitting there talking, 'Oh, they don't throw me fastballs. Why do they just throw me breaking balls?' He's said it before. Not sure he knows that the rules of this game say you can throw whatever pitch you want. He started yapping at me. I threw him a first-pitch slider. He fouled it off, stared right at me, said something while he was nodding his head, like I'm right on you or something. I told him, `If you're that confident, step back in the box. Let's go. Get back in the box. And then he fouled off a pitch—another one that he should have hit. It was right down the middle and he missed it. And then he looked at me and started nodding again. I threw him a curveball. He swung and missed. I decided to remind him of the rules of the game. Three strikes, you're out. You can go sit back in the dugout. To his credit, he took it like a champ. He put his head down, he shut his mouth and he walked himself back to the dugout. Good for him."
DAT DUDE'S DEFENSE
.@DatDudeBP makes starting a double play look effortlessly cool. pic.twitter.com/m0HGfMNnlm— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 4, 2017
Brandon Phillips is 3-for-15 since his trade to the Angels, but defense never slumps. He flashed the leather Sunday in the seventh inning when he snagged Bruce Maxwell's grounder and flipped the ball behind his back to start a double play. He even held the pose for effect.
NO FOWL PLAY
There aren't many cases of a goose delay, unless you're talking about the 1970s-80s, when Goose Gossage was warming up to enter a game. On Saturday night–in a game involving the Delmarva Shorebirds of all teams—a goose landed in center field, causing the franchise's first-ever "goose delay."
The goose was motionless, until a ball was thrown its way. The goose took off but appeared to be hurt and was scooped up by the Shorebirds' groundskeeper. Delmarva's general manager said the bird was was taken to an animal shelter in Clayton, Del., to be treated.
We're the first team with win streaks of 12 games or more in consecutive seasons since the Orioles in 1970-71. #WWWWWWWWWWWWindians pic.twitter.com/RVAtZm2BKK— #WWWWWWWWWWWWindians (@Indians) September 4, 2017
The Shape Of Baseball Is Changing In 2021
The game is getting younger—and in some cases shorter and lighter.
The Indians won their 12th in a row Monday, the longest win streak this season. They officially eliminated the White Sox, who waved the white flag long ago, but now the AL champs are just three games behind Houston for best record in the league.