MLB News & Moments You Should Know: 6/23/2024

Philly Domination; Kwan to Leaderboards Soon.

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The San Diego Padres beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 to move their record to 41-40 after 81 games. No Fernando Tatis Jr. No Xander Bogaerts. No Jurickson ProfarYu Darvish, or Joe MusgroveManny Machado played but went 0-for-4. Yet San Diego enters today in the last wildcard spot while averaging just under 40,000 fans per game at Petco Park. The Padres are a mad science experiment in baseball culture, a mix that already knows they can take out the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers in a short series if they can just get onto the field. A.J. Preller keeps going all-in, collecting big market stars on a small market roster. I’m fascinated by how the Padres will try to collect enough wins to stay in the National League’s top six after 162.


Today’s Headlines


Phillies Win 50th in Route of D-backs

The Philadelphia Phillies fell in the NLCS rematch on Friday but asserted dominance over the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 12-1 win on Saturday. Bryce Harper went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, two runs, and a 427-foot second-deck shot. Nick Castellanos knocked in five and clubbed a 428-foot drive to deep left field. Zack Wheeler struck out eight and gave up two hits in 7.0 IP. Philadelphia became the first NL team to reach 50 wins.

Kwan the Way Up

Steven Kwan missed most of May with a hamstring injury, but he should soon appear alongside regular MVP candidates on the statistics leaderboards. The Cleveland Guardians left fielder is hitting .390/.449/.564 after a 2-for-4 day yesterday. He also tied his career high with his sixth home run, and Cleveland beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3. An AL MVP race that involves debating the merits of Kwan alongside Juan Soto and Aaron Judge sounds like a fun way to spend the next few months.

Judge Blasts 28th, Yankees Win

With the way Aaron Judge is hitting, Kwan will still trail the Yankee outfielder in OPS for the foreseeable future. Judge gave the New York Yankees a 2-1 lead over Charlie Morton and Atlanta with his league-leading 28th home run. New York never looked back on their way to an 8-3 victory.

Third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Second baseman Gleyber Torres and left fielder Alex Verdugo returned to the Yankee lineup, but designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton left the game with left hamstring tightness.

Ohtani’s Supporting Cast Comes Through

On Friday, Shohei Ohtani hit a 455-foot, two-run homer, and the Dodgers lost to the Los Angeles Angels 3-2. On Saturday, Ohtani hit a 459-foot, two-run homer, and the Dodgers won 7-2. Most of the difference came from the bottom of the order, a weak spot for the Dodgers this season. Miguel Rojas, Gavin Lux, and Cavan Biggio went 6-for-12 and scored five runs from the seven through nine spots.


Blanco Shuts Down Orioles

Ronel Blanco started the season with a no-hitter. He threw seven no-hit innings on June 16 and held the slugging Baltimore Orioles to one run over seven innings in a 5-1 Houston Astros win yesterday. Blanco’s strong rookie season is helping the Astros navigate a subpar start and get to the midway point with a chance to continue Houston’s playoff streak. The Astros are three games under .500, seven back in the AL West, and 4.5 back in the Wild Card race. They have plenty of time to make a move, which would surprise no one.

Max is Back

Max Scherzer will make his 2024 debut for the Texas Rangers against the Kansas City Royals today. The defending champs are treading water right below Houston in the standings, but they have hope in healthy stars returning during the second half of the season. Scherzer’s return allows the Rangers to shuffle Dane Dunning to the bullpen while they wait for reinforcements from their roster to get healthy.


Best Moments From Yesterday


Milestone Homer for Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt hit career home run No. 350 in yesterday. This was his 141st with the St. Louis Cardinals. He hit 209 in eight seasons in Arizona. The 2022 NL MVP is fourth on the active HR list behind Giancarlo Stanton (420), Mike Trout (378), and Joey Votto (356).

Go ’84 Cubs, Go

The 1984 Cubs reunited at Wrigley Field on Saturday. This squad returned the franchise to the playoffs after a 39-year absence. They won 96 games and the NL East but lost to the Padres 3-2 in the five-game NLCS. Forty years later, the team gathered for a weekend of celebration.  Jameson Taillon struck out 10 and walked none to help the Cubs win 8-1. The Mets and Cubs will play a rubber match on Sunday Night Baseball after Chicago fell 11-1 on Friday, and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg will get a statue at Wrigley this afternoon. He joins the inner circle of Cubs with such an honor: Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Harry Caray.

Cruz Shipped

Step 1: Build a ballpark by water. Step 2: Develop a player with 80-grade power to send balls into the water. Step 3: Count the balls that fly into the water.

City Connect 2: Funfetti in LA

The Dodgers swapped out their blue pajamas set for an updated City Connect uniform, the first team with an update as a part of the City Connect project. An upgrade? Yeah, I’ll say that. These look like a modernized, alternate timeline version of the classic set Los Angeles has worn for years. They look like they’d be worn by a team inspired by the Dodgers in a movie, which makes sense for Hollywood.

Diamond in the Sun

The Midnight Sun game started on Friday night, ended early on Saturday, and was played without artificial lights. Every year, the Alaska Goldpanners host a day game in the middle of the night near the top of the world in Fairbanks, Alaska. The ‘Panners won their fourth straight midnight contest this year.

Thoroughly Modern Walk-off

A walk-off made possible by recent baseball evolution. This feels so strange. Every once in a while, a friend who casually follows baseball asks me about the clock. I say I barely notice it. And then this happens. The Colorado Rockies (wearing a top-tier City Connect set) beat the Washington Nationals on a pitch clock violation. Time violations are normal in other sports, but they’ve had clocks forever.


Injuries and Other Moves


⚾ The Philadelphia Phillies and left-handed starter Cristopher Sánchez agreed to a four-year extension.

⚾ The Houston Astros placed right-handed starter Jake Bloss on the 15-day IL a day after he made his MLB debut.

⚾ The Miami Marlins placed left-handed starter Jesús Luzardo on the 15-day IL. They also scratched left-handed starter Braxton Garrett after a bullpen session yesterday.

⚾ The Arizona Diamondbacks placed catcher Gabriel Moreno on the 10-day IL.

⚾ The San Francisco Giants placed outfielder Mike Yastrzemski on the 10-day IL and right-handed pitcher Keaton Winn on the 15-day IL.

⚾ The Kansas City Royals activated right-handed starter Michael Wacha from the 15-day IL.

Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed starter Jared Jones plunked designated hitter Brandon Lowe on the foot, resulting in a broken pinky toe. Jones also hit Amed Rosario in the head with a 100-mph fastball. Both players left the game, but manager Kevin Cash indicated neither was headed for the IL.


Articles You Should Read


40 years later, let’s celebrate the 1984 Cubs — Al Yellon, Bleed Cubbie Blue

‘You don’t know how much this means.’ Winfield gets statue in Alaska — Matt Monagan, MLB.com


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


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Scott Appleman

Scott Appleman is a utility infielder with a master's degree in sports journalism from St. Bonaventure, a JV MVP award and two career home runs. He writes Thrill Shot, a Substack newsletter about champions and contenders.

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