The weekly baseball roundup 

5 quick facts to get you caught up

May 12th, 2021
Tom Forget /

Baseball is perfect because it's every day. Once spring rolls around, the game is as constant as breathing. But, just as you can't possibly focus on every breath you take -- despite The Police saying otherwise -- you can't possibly keep up with everything that happens in the baseball world. You've got kids to take care of, dinners to cook, sleep to catch up on, we get it! So, if you need a quick refresher on the last week, these five quick hits are for you.

1. The year of the no-hitter

Forget the year of the pitcher, we just may set a record for the most no-hitters in a single season. Eight of them were tossed in 1884, but in the era since electric horses -- sorry, I mean cars -- have been around, the record is seven. That's happened three times, in 1990, '91, and 2012. Well, we're just six weeks into the 2021 season and there have already been four tossed. Wade Miley, a journeyman starter who is with his seventh team, just threw the latest with a 3-0 win over Cleveland on Friday night.

What powered Miley? Why, an Incredible Hulk tattoo, of course.

While the spate of no-hitters is fun if you're a fan of pitchers, they have been much less so for Cleveland fan. It was the second time Cleveland has been no-hit this season after the White Sox Carlos Rodón no-hit it on April 14. Even worse, if you stretch the definition to include its Minor League affiliates, it's been no-hit three times this year.

While the bats have been silenced this year, it hasn't hurt them in the standings much. Cleveland is currently in second place in the AL Central, close behind the White Sox.

2. Everyone's wearing pink

If you turned on MLB.TV on Sunday, I hope you didn't think your screen settings were off. And no, the Red Sox didn't accidentally leave their socks in with the white laundry. Teams across the league were wearing pink in honor of Mother's Day.

What started with a few players swinging pink bats in 2006 has blossomed into a pink explosion out on the field, kind of like when cherry blossoms are in bloom. Players rocked pink shoes, socks, and caps with pink in them. They had arm bands and eye black that said "Thanks Mom."

Vlad Guerrero Jr. wore some pretty great shoes for his mom:

Marcell Ozuna even skipped giving a ball to a kid in the stands to instead hand it over to the kid's mother.

And yes, if you're wondering, players will be rocking blue accessories for Father's Day next month.

3. Raccoons and rats?

Things have been pretty hectic at Citi Field, where the New York Mets play. With the team off to a slow start at the dish -- and superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor struggling with his new team -- there was bound to be a shakeup. At first, the team tried to rally behind Donnie Stevenson, a fictional "hitting/approach coach." (It was later revealed to be slugger Pete Alonso himself -- shock of shocks!)

Sadly, that wasn't enough, either, and soon the Mets dismissed coaches Chili Davis and Tom Slater. But even that wasn't the end of the week in Queens.

In the seventh inning on Saturday night, there was some commotion in the Mets dugout following some sloppy infield play. At first, viewers assumed it was a kerfuffle between Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil after a miscommunication at second base, but in the postgame Zoom, it was revealed to be a very different fight. Lindor claims it was an argument over just what kind of critter was hanging in the tunnel.

“It was funny because I told him, I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve never seen a New York rat,'” Lindor said, laughing as he recanted the tale. “So, we went down sprinting about to go see a New York rat, and [McNeil] got mad at me. He was like, ‘No, it’s not a rat. It’s a raccoon.’ I’m like, ‘Hell no, man. It’s a damn rat. It’s a New York rat, man.’ I was just crazy because we were going back and forth debating if it was a rat or a raccoon. Crazy, man. Insane.”

Despite the slow start and the possible team bickering, it hasn't affected their play much. The Mets enter Wednesday a game up for first place in the NL East. The bigger issue is that two-time Cy Young Award winner and staff ace Jacob deGrom just went on the injured list for a mysterious injury to his side.

4. The end of a Hall of Fame career?

Few players can match the resume that Albert Pujols has put together: Three MVP Awards, a Rookie of the Year, a batting title, 667 career home runs, 3,253 hits -- and he even holds the all-time record for most times grounding into a double play with 403. No matter how you look at it, Pujols will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he's eligible five years after his playing career is over.

Sadly for Pujols, time comes for all of us, even great ballplayers, and the Angels released him. If no other team signs him, it will be a quiet and abrupt end for the slugger.

While he'll always be remembered as a legend in St. Louis, where he played for his first 11 seasons and bashed 445 home runs along with a 1.037 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) -- a truly elite number -- his numbers paled in comparison after joining the Angels in 2012, posting an OPS nearly 300 points lower.

No matter what happens with Pujols next, he'll be remembered for generations after this one. Happy trails, Albert.

5. Mustache May

The NL West was the division to watch this season as many expected the Dodgers and Padres to battling neck-and-neck for the top spot. And when the teams met for two early-season series, they didn't disappoint, providing constant back-and-forth excitement and a stressful postseason atmosphere.

But look at the standings now and it's the Giants who sit atop. The team is benefitting from catcher Buster Posey hitting like it was a decade ago when he won the MVP in 2012, former top prospects Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood pitching like a three-headed (armed?) ace and ... mustaches?

Yeah, that's right: Mustaches.

It's a trend that caught on years ago at the Giants' Minor League affiliate in Sacramento when former Giants farmhand Zach Green broke out of a slump after growing a mustache. Giants outfielders Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski -- grandson of the Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski -- were on that team and remembered it well.

So, when Slater hit a speed bump this season, he decided to bring back the tradition. So far, only he and Yaz -- along with youngster Mauricio Dubon who has tried valiantly and failed -- have grown out the fuzz, but if the team keeps hitting and winning ballgames, you can expect the rest of the roster won't be far behind. After all, things worked out pretty well when "Fear the Beard" led San Francisco to the World Series title in 2010.

Just don't expect the 'staches to stick around that long.

“It’s strictly a May thing,” Yastrzemski said. “You can’t overwork it. You can’t abuse it. It’s here for the month of May and that’s it, no matter how it goes.”