The First 7-Man Outfield and 4 Entertaining Things From Monday

Here are the best moments and stories from around the league on Monday.

While yesterday was a travel day for many teams, and others sat due to virus precautions or inclement weather, baseball was still played and with it came more weird and awesome moments! Let’s get you caught up with what happened around the league on Monday:


Detroit Honors Mr. Tiger


Before Monday night’s home opener, the Detroit Tigers honored their legendary outfielder, the late Al Kaline, with a special ceremony and video tribute celebrating the Hall of Famer’s life and legacy. Kaline had passed away April 6, but because of the season shutdown, the Tigers were forced to wait until Monday to properly pay tribute to the Detroit lifer.



The pregame ceremonies included a flag-raising homage, a moment of silence, and a special rendition of the national anthem by José Feliciano. The Tigers will also be sporting a memorial patch on their jerseys this season in honor of Kaline.



Royals Deploy the First Seven-Man Outfield


Later that evening, the Royals and manager Mike Matheny employed an unorthodox shift on modern-era Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera. The Royals infield of Maikel Franco, Adalberto Mondesi, Whit Merrifield, and Ryan O’Hearn positioned itself just beyond the infield clay in the shallow outfield grass, perhaps becoming the first team to utilize seven fielders in the outfield.



The bizarre strategy was aimed at taking advantage of Cabrera’s declining speed, trading longer throws and less time to make the play in exchange for the chance to cover more ground and make extra outs on balls that would have otherwise been hits.



The experimental alignment had mixed results, as Cabrera went 1-for-3 with two walks and a single. His base hit came in his first at-bat against the shift, and he lifted a 3-1 fastball over the glove of Mondesi into left field. The displaced defense was able to contain Cabrera when he came up to the plate in subsequent at-bats however, as he lined sharp ground balls and was retired by the fielders with more than enough time to spare.


Acuña and Choi Are Up To No Good


Can baseball truly be back without the fun-loving antics of Ronald Acuña? Right on schedule, the magnetic outfielder got caught messing with Rays switch-hitting sensation Ji-Man Choi Monday night. It appears they were fighting over first base territory, and Acuña had trespassed briefly before being put back in place by the stalwart Choi.


Perhaps Choi was just trying to reestablish a safe distance from Acuña. They are at least wearing their masks, but if they keep it up home plate umpire Ryan Additon will have to separate them. Come on, guys.


One benefit to Tropicana Field’s dome is the sweet overhead camera angles. More of these, please.

Meanwhile, Blue Jays infielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. made his rounds throughout the dugout ensuring his teammates were adequately protected against infections.


He kept his mask on too. Way to be, Piña.


The Rays Steamroll Atlanta… Historically


Speaking of the Rays, they were firing on all cylinders in their rout of Atlanta Monday night. Tampa Bay pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Jalen Beeks combined for a whopping 16 strikeouts in only seven innings of work, averaging roughly 2.3 an inning. The final total for Rays pitchers was 19 strikeouts, a franchise record for a nine inning game.

The Rays hitters also showed up to The Trop on Monday, and bullied the Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz for 6 earned runs (including 3 home runs) in only 3.1 innings. They then battered his relief, and torched Touki Toussaint for an additional 6 runs in an even more abbreviated 2.2 inning outing. The Rays had already scored double-digit runs and it was only the bottom of the 6th. The final score came out to a lopsided 14-5 victory for Tampa Bay, and the Rays became the first team to score 14 and strikeout 19 since the foundation of the American League.


Noah Scott

Noah Scott is a long-suffering baseball writer and knuckleball connoisseur. If you want to talk old timey baseball names, traffic on the 405, or lukewarm hip-hop opinions you can find him on Twitter @noahascott6

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