This is a special installment of About Last Weekend. Last weekend was the entire week. That's it, that's all the real baseball that was played. Sure, there were dingers in a controlled setting, and that one guy had the hit off the other guy to change where the World Series will be played. But from Monday through Thursday, there wasn't any baseball that mattered.
That puts extra pressure on you to figure out what happened. You might have missed an entire week of baseball! Here's an attempt to catch you up ...
The Mariners scored four runs (possible franchise high) on one hit (wait …)
I'm not sure if that's more of a Mariners thing or an Astros thing. Probably both. But the Seattle Mariners scored four runs on one hit on Saturday, getting to old friend Erik Bedard. And by "old friend," I mean, "person whose existence damaged said franchise for decades." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
The Mariners scored first in the sixth inning on two walks, a passed ball, a sac fly, and another passed ball. In the seventh inning, the Astros walked two before Michael Saunders doubled home the third and fourth runs of the game with the Mariners' first hit. I'd say it was a very Astros inning, except the passed balls were courtesy of Jason Castro, who is a pretty solid defensive catcher. It was just one of those days rather than a organizational statement of incompetence.
An aside: Do you realize that Justin Smoak has a .371 on-base percentage this year? Seems important.
Now for the question that's been bugging you. Is this the first time that a team has scored four runs with just one hit? Yes. But only because in 1990, the White Sox scored four runs despite being no-hit. Here's what the box score reads:
R. Ventura/A. Hawkins - Reached on E7 (Fly Ball); Sosa scores; Guillen scores; Johnson scores; Ventura to 2B
I. Calderon/A. Hawkins - Reached on E9 (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Ventura scores; Calderon to 2B
That happened on consecutive plays. The Times records the disbelief of no-hit loser Andy Hawkins:
Hawkins wasn't certain how to separate his emotions afterward. Fans cheered him when the game was over and his teammates applauded him when he entered the clubhouse, but he never allowed himself to smile.
The Mariners had a hit. So it wasn't the all-time weirdest performance. But it was an all-time weird performance. One hit, four runs. That happens about twice every 100 years.
Also, that up there is why Yankees fans who grew up in the '80s and early '90s are so entitled.
The Dodgers and Rays will never lose again
It's going to be a Rays/Dodgers World Series, everyone. They just have to get into first place, but that shouldn't be a big deal if they never lose another game. The Rays swept the Blue Jays to pull within a game-and-a-half of the Red Sox, and the Dodgers swept the Nationals in Washington to get within a half-game of the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers haven't missed Yasiel Puig, who is in the middle of the first slump of his career. Puig doesn't have a hit in the second half, and he's hit .222/.259/.259 since his last three-hit game on July 2. It's like Lex Luthor learned how to throw a slider instead of screwing around with rocks. But the Dodgers haven't stumbled at all, winning nine of their last 11 games. They haven't lost a series since the beginning of June. It was a lot funnier when they were spending a squillion dollars to hang out in last place. And a reminder: They were in last place 17 games ago.
They're getting along without Puig being a demigod because of their starting pitching; since the Fourth of July, the Dodgers have allowed five runs once, four runs once, and three runs or fewer in their other 11 games. They also got a boost with Matt Kemp coming back from the disabled list on Sunday, hitting a big home run, and tweaking his ankle before anyone could finish their "What Are the Dodgers Going to Do With The Outfield Logjam?" column. So goes the recent history of one Matt Kemp.
The Rays are streaking because of their pitching, which wouldn't have been a surprising prediction before the season, but the Rays' pitching had been shaky from top (David Price) to bottom (Fernando Rodney). Since July 1, though, the staff is 15-2 with a 2.16 ERA, 143 strikeouts, and just 37 walks in 158 innings. Or in other words, the entire staff has been a unanimous Cy Young winner for the entire month. That'll do.
Good night, sweet Blue Jays
The corollary to the Rays: The Blue Jays are done after the sweep. They were probably done before. They are certainly done now, falling 10 games back of the wild card and 13½ back in the East. Feels like we should do one of those in-memorium videos with sad music and photos of various ex-Marlins. Rest in peace, sweet Canadian hopes and dreams.
There will be months and months for proper postmortems, but here's a quick one: It was a little strange that the Marlins were awful, then the Blue Jays took 16 percent of the awful team's roster, and then everyone expected something different. That's obviously an over-simplification, but maybe there was a hint that Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes weren't a panacea, and that hint sold tickets as the Miami Marlins Baseball Club last year. Well, they didn't sell tickets, but they offered them.
The Marlins didn't score this weekend
Three games, nary a run. They haven't scored since the fourth inning of their last game before the All-Star break. If you want to make it sound extra-impressive, you can say that they haven't scored a run since July 14. Three games without a run is the longest streak since ... the Marlins last year. But this year's streak is more impressive when you add in that they played an extra four innings on Sunday without scoring.
The record is four games without a run, which has been done eight different times. The last four-game scoreless streak was the 1992 Cubs, so the Marlins are chasing something that's pretty hard to do. They're facing Drew Pomeranz on Monday, and he's sporting an 8.76 ERA. Irresistible suck vs. immovable breaking pitches. Should be interesting, except for all the parts that are completely uninteresting.
Henry Urrutia made his debut
Oh. Your pops had urrutia when he was a midshipman in the South Pacific, but nothing a little penicillin couldn't cure. Never heard of a baseball player with that name.
Urrutia wasn't a top-ten prospect before the season according to Baseball America, and he was #16 on John Sickels' list for a pretty good reason: He hadn't played a game in the States since defecting from Cuba, and he was going to be 26 before the 2013 season. That's the kind of player who has to contribute right away if he's going to contribute at all, and Urrutia started his professional career rather impressively:
The preseason concerns are all there: limited power and average speed. But it'll be interesting to see if he's Jose Tabata or … you know, I'm not sure I can think of an average-dependent player who maintained his offensive value for an extended period of time. Michael Young? Ichiro? Probably Ichiro. I'm going to take a gamble and suggest that Henry Urrutia is not Ichiro. But as a spare part for the Orioles' playoff run, he's almost like a deadline deal.
Check out what Sickels has to say about the call-up here, if you're so inclined.
It's the "c'mon we're all busy here" glove wave from Fielder that makes it. C'mon, Lorenzo. Quit screwing around and tag yourself out.