THREE UP, THREE DOWN
▲▼ WHAT’S TRENDING IN MLB
▲ Scooter Gennett: The utility infielder did not hit a home run in May, but tied a major league record by hitting four in one game Tuesday. Yay: He did it for his hometown Cincinnati Reds. Double yay: He nicknamed himself — at age 5 — after a character from “The Muppets.” That still doesn’t make him the most prodigious slugger among players with Muppet names. The four home runs gave him 42 for his career, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto. The Muppets also have a Rizzo (Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has 147 home runs) and a Gonzo (retired outfielder Luis Gonzalez, briefly a Dodger, has 354).
▲ Shutouts, not strikeouts: The analytics world worships at the altar of the strikeout, so it’s refreshing to see a reminder that the object of the game is to get outs, period. Strikeouts are great, and they do minimize the risk that a fielder will make an error, but they also run up pitch counts, and increased velocity is correlated with increased risk of injury. Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins threw his third shutout Friday. He ranks 74th among 88 qualifying pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings; he’s at 6.30. He also has a 2.20 ERA, the same as Clayton Kershaw. The Colorado Rockies rookie duo of Kyle Freeland (5.66 K/9, 3.34 ERA) and Antonio Senzatela (5.89 K/9, 3.56 ERA) also have fared well without the whiffs.
▲ Jean Segura: In 2012, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto needed a pitcher. He didn’t need a middle infielder, with Erick Aybar set at shortstop and Howie Kendrick at second base, so he included a prospect named Jean Segura in a trade to get Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2016, as the Seattle Mariners’ GM, Dipoto got Segura back, this time in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. On Wednesday, Dipoto signed Segura to a five-year, $70-million extension, including a no-trade clause because Segura had been traded so often. Segura, on the disabled list because of a sprained ankle, leads the American League with a .341 batting average. If he plays out the deal in Seattle, he could pass Alex Rodriguez for most games played at shortstop for the Mariners.
▼ Domestic violence: As the accusations against Bill Cosby have shown, women sometimes can be hesitant to immediately report allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence for fear authorities might not fully pursue their claims. But baseball’s domestic violence policy requires players accused of abuse to sit for interviews with league officials and does not require a legal conviction or guilty plea to suspend a player. The ex-fiance of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris and a purported friend of the wife of Cubs shortstop Addison Russell last week leveled charges of abuse — not with a report to police, but with a social media post. The league said it would investigate the allegations; each player has denied them.
▼ Beltway babble: We’d love to see a DodgersAngels World Series, but a Washington Nationals-Baltimore Orioles series would be lovely. The teams already hate each other — they’ve been fighting in court for three years over local television revenue — and the Orioles were annoyed when the Nationals last month cited dreary forecasts in announcing a rainout on a night the rains never came. The Nationals flew home from L.A. on Wednesday, then beat the Orioles in the makeup game Thursday. “They drove 32 miles to get there. We flew 3,000 … miles, and we beat their … ,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post. “So quit your whining.”
▼ John McCain: The Rockies are darlings of the NL West, the Dodgers are the Goliaths, the San Diego Padres are a planned disaster and the San Francisco Giants an unplanned disaster. No one paid much attention to the Diamondbacks until Thursday, when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) addressed his rambling remarks in the James Comey hearing in a statement that said: “Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games.” In 2013, McCain ripped the Dodgers as “a bunch of overpaid, immature, arrogant, spoiled brats” for celebrating their NL West title by jumping into the Chase Field pool, into which the Diamondbacks invite fans every day. On a possibly unrelated note, the California League team called the Mavericks folded last year.