We had to use our government funding for beer, so it's back to the ten most powerful forces in Major League Baseball in the weekly unscientific ranking.
1. Juan Uribe's Junk (Last Week: Not Rated)
No, Mr. Announcer, the ball didn't bounce off his glove, or his stomach. It got him right in the meat and two bits. Juan Uribe, the Cleveland Indians third baseman (third sacker, if you will), sustained a testicular contusion on this groinder—uh, grounder Monday night. It might surprise you but Uribe, like many other baseball players, doesn't wear a protective cup. Adrian Beltre admitted as much years ago; he said that cups were restrictive, which is less blunt than Uribe's reasoning:
Juan Uribe (testicular contusion) said no BP today. Asked why he doesn't use a cup, he said: "I don't think the trainers have my size." Oh.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 13, 2016
Jeepers. To think that everyone figured the scouts were talking about Uribe's arm when they used the word "hose" to describe his tools in their reports. No matter. To all you little leaguers out there: wear a cup anyway, and that's final.
2. Jayson Werth's Hairy Booty (LW: NR)
Injuries have taken a toll on Jayson Werth's potency at the plate, and he's long been a focal point for media and fans who don't think the Washington Nationals have been getting their $126 million worth. But Werth has been swinging better over the past several weeks, and that production has come in handy for the Nationals with Bryce Harper mired in a long slump. After Werth drove in the winning run in extra inningsagainst the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, he used the platform of the MASN postgame show to tell critics what he thinks of their opinions.
"Thank you, Jayson!" replied MASN's Dan Kolko, and, really, what else can you say?
T-3. Mike Trout and Manny Machado (No Change)
That's right, no more Bryce Harper, who drops out of the No. 3 spot for the first time all season. Harper's slugging percentage dipped below .500 as of Thursday morning, and he's batting .215/.339/.312 in his past 115 plate appearances since May 14. The good news for the Washington Nationals? They have a 17-11 record in that span.
And so then there were two: Trout and Machado might have to wrestle for who's better, just like Machado and Yordano Ventura recently wrestled for supremacy thanks to Dan Szymborski, of ESPN:
But wait! Here comes Dayton "Danger" Moore from the crowd!
If only that were real life.
5. Ichiro's Greatest Hits (LW: NR)
Pissing off Pete Rose is fun, so it was a doubly special moment Wednesday when Ichiro Suzuki connected for a double, giving him 4,257 hits between MLB and Japan. Rose had 4,256 hits over his career, rightly called himself the Hit King and probably assumed no one ever would approach his record. Suzuki has 2,979 hits in the majors and is 42 years old, so Rose's MLB record is safe. But we still could call Ichiro the International Hit King in order to irritate Rose, who deserves to be checked for this comment:
"It sounds like in Japan,'' Rose told USA TODAY, "they're trying to make me the Hit Queen. I'm not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he's had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they'll be counting his high-school hits."
I'm not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, but here's a putdown that implies Japanese baseball is less masculine than North American ball so I can feel better about myself.
It's one thing to assert that MLB is better than baseball in Japan, but it's another thing to totally dismiss the game they play there.
If you really want to fairly compare Pete Rose and Ichiro, take away Pete Rose's first full 7 years in MLB (Ichiro was MLB ready at age 20).
— SoftbanKC Royawks.my (@PeraKCnRoyals) June 14, 2016
Imagine if Mike Trout or Bryce Harper's stats didn't count until age 26-27. That's what happened to Ichiro.
— SoftbanKC Royawks.my (@PeraKCnRoyals) June 16, 2016
Had Ichiro started his career in the States, Rose's hit record might actually be in jeopardy—it's easy to imagine Suzuki chasing 4,000 hits.
6. Madison Bumgarner and His Fellow Pitchers in an All-Star Home Run Derby (LW: 3)
7. Clayton Kershaw's Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio (NC)
It's 133-to-seven over 108 innings. It's down to 19-to-one from sitting at 22-to-one a month ago, but that pace is still killing Phil Hughes' record of 11.6-to-one. (Phil Hughes?) Kershaw really could use two or three clean starts with no walks. It's the only way to put his inconsistencies behind him and climb the rankings.
8. Minnesota Twins Chasing History (LW: NR)
Do the 2001 Mariners, like the '72 Dolphins, gather around in their teal jackets and wish the worst to teams chasing 116 wins?
9. James Shields' Scoreless Streak (LW: 1)
Shields has gone two innings in a row without allowing a run! He had allowed at least one run in ten straight innings over four starts, including a pair of massively embarrassing outings: one for the San Diego Padres that preceded a trade, and one for his new team, the Chicago White Sox. Shields busted his Sox cherry by posting a scoreless fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, though he left the bases loaded. His fifth inning was clean, 1-2-3, proving that the scoreless fourth was not just some fluke.
10. Yordano Ventura's Temper (NC)
Only it's a good temper now! Making chicken salad out of chicken bleep, or some such similar metaphor, Ventura improved his local image in Kansas City after sparking that on-field fracas with Machado the previous week. The Royals pitcher was going for a walk in his suburban hood when he happened upon a small business being operated by two youths. Via Fox 4 in KC:
The boys were selling baseball cards, sweet tea, and lemonade, and they say their superstar customer kept a low profile. But Ventura couldn't hide from these Royals fans.
"My brother had no idea who he was, and then I looked at him, I stared at him, and I said, 'Yordano Ventura?' And he was like yeah, and he gave me a fist bump," Rahmeen Hirsch recounted.
The boys say they're even bigger fans now because Ventura was so nice. He signed a baseball and posed for photos. Rahmeen and his brother say Ventura's bad boy image is clearly only seen on the field, because they say he paid way over the asking price for the lemonade he bought.
Ventura also pitched better in his most recent start than he had in weeks. Way to make lemonade out of some lemons, dude.
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