San Francisco's All-Star catcher has been on fire over the past week, and that's not even counting…
National League All-Stars
1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
2. Carlos Beltran, RF
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. David Wright, 3B
5. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
8. Michael Cuddyer, DH
9. Bryce Harper, CF
Starting Pitcher: Matt Harvey
American League All-Stars
1. Mike Trout, LF
2. Robinson Cano, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Chris Davis, 1B
5. Jose Bautista, RF
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. Adam Jones, CF
8. Joe Mauer, C
9. J.J. Hardy, SS
Starting Pitcher: Max Scherzer
Baltimore's Chris Davis capped off his first half with his 37th home run on Sunday, tying him with Reggie Jackson for the most by an American League player before the All-Star break. In 1969, Jackson finished that season with just 47 homers. Davis' teammate, Adam Jones, hit his 19th homer for Baltimore on Sunday as well. It was the 8th time this year that Davis and Jones both went yard in the same game, the highest total by any pair of teammates in 2013.
Yankee fans have gotten used to bad news when it comes to injuries this season, so Brian Cashman's announcement on Friday probably didn't faze too many of them. Cashman said an MRI on Derek Jeter's left quadriceps revealed a Grade 1 strain, meaning the team will "play it safe" and keep Jeter out until after the All-Star break. The 39-year-old Yankee captain has only played one game this season.
Grantland writers Jonah Keri and Rany Jazayerli put up wonderful articles on the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon and both are well worth a read. Keri's piece chronicles Boston's bounce-back season while Jazayerli tries to diagnose the problem in Toronto.
Detroit ace Justin Verlander has taken a back seat to teammates Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez in the media this season, but that does not mean he shouldn't get any attention. Verlander allowed just one hit in a 5-0 win over Texas and it came in the form of a seventh-inning double off the bat of Mitch Moreland. It was the sixth time in the last three seasons that Verlander recorded more than 18 outs before allowing a hit. The only other major-league pitchers who have taken a no-hitter beyond six innings even half as many times as Verlander since 2011 are Sanchez and Francisco Liriano, three times each.
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber and two relief pitchers beat the Royals this past Friday night without giving up a run, marking the 12th shutout in 93 games for the Indians this season. It is the most shutouts by the Tribe in their first 93 games of a season since 1968 when they had 17.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was named American League Player of the Week for the week ending on July 7th. Beltre went 11-for-23 (.478) with four long balls, five RBI and four runs scored, helping the Rangers post a 4-3 record for the week. Beltre now has 21 homers and 55 RBI this season while posting a line of .316/.358/.543. He is not getting all the media attention, but the Dominican infielder is on pace for another huge season at the plate.
Two years ago, Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was shattering records in Cuba's top baseball league while posting YouTube videos demonstrating his all-around athleticism, power and potential for major-league scouts. On Monday night, the 27-year-old won the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby at Citi Field. He hit 17 homers in the first round before beating out Washington's Bryce Harper in a 9-8 final. Cespedes' final home run was a 455-foot blast off the pitcher's eye in dead-center field, capping off one of the most impressive Home Run Derby performances ever. After winning the competition, Cespedes said he dedicated each home run to his 4-year-old son back in Cuba.
New York Mets fans rarely have much to cheer about... except for Matt Harvey. And now they have even more reason to be proud. It was announced on Sunday that Harvey was selected by San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy to start Tuesday night's All-Star Game at Citi Field. Over the last 50 years, only four other pitchers besides Harvey have started the All-Star Game in their home stadium: Steve Rogers at Olympic Stadium in 1982, Pedro Martinez at Fenway Park in 1999, Esteban Loaiza at U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 and Roger Clemens at Minute Maid Park in 2004. Bochy said the decision had nothing to do with the venue and that he would have chosen Harvey either way. At the break, Harvey is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 0.92 WHIP; he also has 147 strikeouts and only 28 walks, making him a 2013 Cy Young Award candidate.
Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann was named the National League Co-Player of the Week for the week ending on July 7th. McCann, who was named an All Star for the seventh time in his career this week, went 15-for-25, with a home run, four RBI, and six runs scored. McCann is having a nice bounce-back season after failing to make the All-Star team for just the second time of his nine-year career last season and has a more-than-solid .291/.374/.536 line at the break. Even though he has missed nearly 40 games this season due to injury, the Atlanta catcher is still on pace to finish the season with around 20 homers and 60 RBI. If he does, it will be his sixth straight season with those numbers or better.
Do the names Spud Davis and Bill DeLancey mean anything to Cardinals fans? Probably not. But that is the company Yadier Molina finds himself in after his hot night on Sunday. In a 10-6 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Molina went 4-for-6 with a home run, a double and four RBI. Molina became only the third St. Louis catcher to ever record four hits in a game with four RBI and a home run since 1920. The other two catchers were Davis and DeLancey.
Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey was named the National League Co-Player of the Week for the week ending on July 7th. Bailey only pitched one game during the week, but he sure made it count by tossing his second career no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants. He struck out nine batters and walked just one in the Reds' 3-0 victory, becoming the 28th pitcher ever to throw multiple no hitters.
Does this seem like deja vu? Maybe that's because Bailey tossed his other no hitter just 10 months ago against Pittsburgh, making him the first pitcher to throw the last two no hitters in baseball since Nolan Ryan did it in the 1974-75 seasons. Only five pitchers (Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Larry Corcoran and Nolan Ryan) have thrown three or more no hitters. At 27 years old, will Bailey become a part of that club some day?
Most scouts (and every Giants fan on the planet) have warned that San Francisco starter Tim Lincecum would probably hurt himself by continuing to throw baseballs with such a violent throwing motion. His less-than-impressive numbers over the last two seasons are evidence that some things are not right with the two-time Cy Young Award winner. But that didn't matter on Saturday when Lincecum tossed his first-career no hitter. Oh yeah, and he threw 148 pitches. Whoa.
Lincecum struck out a season-high 13 batters in the game, making San Diego's lineup look foolish in the process. It was the second game in a row where he showed signs of his old self, after fanning 11 Mets batters in the start before the no-hitter. Big Time Timmy Jim becomes a free agent when the year is done, leaving us all to wonder what his future holds. Jonah Keri wonders if the Giants could be sellers at the trade deadline and, if so, is Lincecum for sale?
Speaking of Lincecum, two years of poor pitching won't be nearly enough to discredit his career thus far. Saturday's no-hitter puts him in elite company. Lincecum, who has two Cy Young Awards and two World Series rings, becomes one of just four pitchers to throw a no-hitter, win multiple Cy Young Awards and pitch for the winning team in more than one World Series. The others are Bob Gibson (one no-hitter, two Cy Young Awards, two World Series titles), Sandy Koufax (four no-hitters, three Cy Young Awards, three World Series titles), and Jim Palmer (one no-hitter, 3 Cy Young Awards, three World Series titles).
John Lopiano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow John on Twitter: @johnlopiano.
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