Welcome to The Upper Deck, Baseball America’s daily look at the biggest stories around the game and some lighter fare.
CATCH OF THE YEAR?
Last month, Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox made his bid for catch of the year when he robbed the Yankees’ Aaron Judge of a home run in the triangle at Fenway Park. On Tuesday, the Indians’ Austin Jackson might have outdone JBJ as he scaled the short wall in right center to rob Hanley Ramirez. Umpires reviewed the play but upheld the catch. Boston came out on top anyway, winning a wild game in the ninth on Christian Vazquez’s three-run, walk-off homer.
A FIRST FOR LESTER
Jon Lester hit his 1st career home run. We have officially seen everything in the books. pic.twitter.com/FHCPPFoGZg
— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) August 2, 2017
Jon Lester’s been an All-Star and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting three times. He even picked off a batter this season, although throwing to first has long been known as his bete noire. But one thing Lester can’t do is hit. Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Cubs lefthander was batting .072 in 196 at-bats, with 87 strikeouts. So of course—and with this buildup, what would you expect?—he hit a home run against Diamondbacks lefthander Patrick Corbin. On top of that, Lester also recorded strikeout No. 2,000, although he did not qualify for a win in the Cubs’ 16-4 victory.
AND A FIRST FOR SCHERZER
Scherzer’s a bit more accomplished as a hitter than Lester, even driving in 12 runs last season. But home runs had been elusive for him as well, until Tuesday of course. The Nats ace closed his eyes, swung as hard as he could and belted a three-run homer off the Marlins’ Chris O’Grady. The rest of his night didn’t go as well as Lester’s, however. Scherzer came out of the game after throwing one warmup pitch in the bottom of the second. The Nats said Scherzer had a neck spasm and was removed as a precaution.
GOING, GOING, GALLO
— Today in the MLB (@TodayintheMLB) August 2, 2017
Joey Gallo is known for his majestic home runs, and he hit a blast Tuesday that Statcast estimated at 456 feet. Problem is, it sure looked like it went further than that. What can’t be disputed? That it was a bomb.
— S-K Volcanoes 🌋? (@SKVolcanoes) August 1, 2017
Salem-Keizer, the short-season affiliate of the Giants, unveiled jerseys they will wear on Aug. 7 to commemorate the solar eclipse. The jerseys, as you can see, have a black hole sun kind of vibe.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) August 2, 2017
Evan Longoria was a double short of just the second cycle in Rays history when he came to bat in the ninth inning Tuesday against the Astros. He hit a line drive into the left corner and a made a dash toward second, and Rays history. He slid to try to avoid the tag of Jose Altuve, but was called out. No cycle, right? Well, an umpire crew chief review overturned the call, Longoria was called safe and the Rays’ dugout erupted in cheers.