In his last seven games, this brother is hitting .368 with a home run, six RBI, and five runs scored.
Jones is making the most of his time on that field and the way he’s been performing lately, the Astros will have to keep him in the fold and consider him as a strong option as the team might lose a foundation piece and solid bat (a trade of Carlos Correa maybe?) in the near future.
The Astros’ minor league system has produced some All-world talent over the last decade including Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Jones can play an important role for the Astros as they look to lock up a playoff spot this season.
Everybody knew Jones was next up, it was just a matter of time before he was able to crack an offensively stout Astros lineup.
One thing about Jones is he’s versatile. Now his primary position is first base, but he can play other positions as well.
That was the case for him on August 21st against his hometown team.
Going up against the Seattle Mariners that day, Jones thought he would be starting in his primary position.
“It was about an hour before the game when we got news the lineup was switched up,” Jones told the Houston Chronicle. “All my preparation was for first base. I just tried to get out there and make the plays and do what you can out there.”
Jones got the starting nod in left field that game and he had his best performance of the season.
He went 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored. The 27-year-old was a single away from the cycle.
That performance right there let the league know that Jones is all about business.
“(I) opened up the stance a little bit, (to) try to get my direction a little bit more toward the pitcher,” Jones said. “I was kind of swinging open before the adjustment, kind of spinning out of the box. Now I’m a little bit more direct and a little cleaner path with the swing.”
Making adjustments is a necessary part of the game and can be a turning point for some players’ careers.
Jones understood that he had to make changes in his batting stance in order to see success. And so far it’s working.
He is on a three-game hitting streak and Astros manager Dusty Baker is liking what he’s seeing in Jones.
“He’s swinging the bat great. He’s corrected some flaws that prohibited him in the past from getting to certain pitches,” Baker said. “He’s worked hard. He’s had a good attitude the whole time — been up and down, up and down. He’s a fine young man who is trying to stay here.”
From 2016 to 2019 and a little bit of this year, Jones was playing in the minors. After this season, he could be a mainstay in the majors if he continues to impress on the field.
Last season’s American League Gold Glove shortstop made his bat come alive in 2021. He was the biggest All-Star snub this season as he posted a first half statline including 92 hits, 31 RBI, 46 runs a .279 average and a 1.4 Defensive WAR which is the highest in all of baseball.
Tommy Pham is doing everything in his power to keep the San Diego Padres in contention.
Over his last 10 games, Pham has affected the boxscore in every way possible. Not only is he hitting .375 (15-40) while scoring 10 runs and knocking in 3 runs and hitting a couple of homers. He’s also coaxed 4 walks and even swiped 2 bags.
He’s definitely in a soul brother show-glow-groove.
But like all quality ballplayers, Tommy knows he can do more.
Tommy Pham gave the Padres a 1-0 lead with this 1st inning homer:
“The only thing missing from my game is the consistency with the power,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I’m still working on it. Power comes in bunches. But also, there is a consistency element to it as well. I always feel I want to leave a series with one or two extra-base hits.”
While Pham has only hit 6 home runs so far, his recent offensive explosion hit the breaks on an early-season skid that had him looking like a shell of himself.
“Everyone has a bad 150 at-bats, mine just happened in April. So now I’ve got to do everything I can to make everything level out. It’s a frustrating game. You can do everything right and still not reap the benefits of it.”
This offseason, that last sentence almost came to fruition for Pham in the worst way possible. According to San Diego Police, eyewitness reports say Pham was attacked after asking two strangers involved in an argument near his car to move.
The stab wound was not life-threatening, but lately, fans have made it difficult to put the incident behind him. Pham has noticed an increase in fan rowdiness and has even had his offseason assault used to taunt him.
“Fans have been very disrespectful this year,” Pham said. “I need to talk to the MLB. The vulgarity this year, the gestures, I’ve never seen it at this level. I want to know if this is just because fans have been gone for a year and now they’re back and acting a certain way. That (stuff) shouldn’t be tolerated.”
Pham makes a great point mentioning the fact fans have been away from the ballpark, and recent incidents across sports have seen fans acting out in an unusually bold manner. But while the hiatus may have indeed fueled what’s happening, we cannon write this off as typical “fan behavior”.
Still, the negative doesn’t stop Pham from contributing to everything that makes the sport of baseball great for the community.
He’s also an anomaly. At 5 feet 7 inches tall, he doesn’t strike an imposing form when on the mound. Since 2000, he’s one of only six pitchers under 5’10” to even make a start in Major League Baseball.
But every time he takes the ball, you can’t tell him he’s not the biggest, baddest, man in the stadium.
He has no fear; not of opposing lineups, and not of big moments. And right now, he’s entering one of the biggest moments of his career.
The Mets’ pitching staff has been hit hard by injury. Jacob deGrom just returned from the injured list, but New York is currently without fellow Black Aace Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Carrasco, and Jordan Yamamoto. The latest depressing news surrounds Noah Syndergaard, who will be shut down for another six weeks due to right elbow inflammation.
Through all of it, Stroman has taken the hill every fifth day.
Thursday afternoon he pitched six scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies, giving up only three hits as New York scratched out a 1-0 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Stro picked up his team-leading fourth victory while dropping his earned run average to 2.47.
“I feel like I’ve always taken pride in taking the ball every fifth day and putting my team in a position to win,” he said after the game. “Since we have a lot of the guys on the DL, I just feel like it puts a little more pressure on the guys who are in the rotation to carry their load while those guys are out.”
If deGrom is the unquestioned ace of the Mets’ rotation, Stroman is its glue.
Stroman’s allowed more than two earned runs in only two starts so far, and his 58.1 innings pitched are 13 more than anyone else on the roster.
“We’ve had some absences in our starting rotation, and this guy’s given us length,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas. “For me, what he’s done repeatedly, is that he’s helped our bullpen stay fresh…I think you have to give a lot of credit to him because he’s worked really hard, since last year when he didn’t pitch. He’s worked really hard to get into this position.”
The work is paying off for Stroman and the Mets, who continue to cling to first place in the National League East even with one of the worst offenses in baseball. Until the Mets’ offense can find some consistency and its pitching staff is once again whole, Marcus Stroman can be counted on to hold it down.
If you doubt him, just ask him. He’ll tell you.
“I don’t beg cause cause I’m not a begonia;
I dress warm so that I won’t catch pneumonia;
My rhymes are stronger than ammonia;
I’m a diamond, you’re a cubic zirconia.”
— MC Smooth B, Hip Hip Junkies
Marcus Stroman has always known he was a star. The rest of baseball is finally coming to that realization as well.
Baseball is a game of streaks. Over the course of the season, each player is hoping to put together more good ones than bad ones.
And the bad ones do come, even for the best of the best. Who’s hot and who’s not across MLB? Let’s take a closer look.
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Ever since our own Rob Parker called out Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ behemoth has been ripping the cover off of the baseball.
Judge entered Monday night’s game with the Texas Rangers hitting a ridiculous .571, with 12 hits in his previous 21 at-bats. Over his last six games, he hit five home runs and pushed the Yankees to a 4-2 record. Judge sent four fans home with souvenirs during New York’s most recent three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles and secured AL Player of the Week honors.
The rest of his numbers are just as impressive. The Judge laid down the law, scoring eight runs and driving in six while striking out only once. His 1.973 OPS topped all hitters in that time.
With these breakout performances, Judge raised his season batting average from .245 to .298, his slugging percentage from .352 to .399, and his OPS from .824 to 1.009. HE also garnered
The Rangers silenced him in a 5-2 win, but if this is the Aaron Judge that the Yankees get for the rest of the regular season, he could be in real contention for the AL Most Valuable Player award for the first time since 2017.
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox
No one in Major League Baseball is hitting the ball better than Tim Anderson. Anderson extended his hitting streak to 12 games as the ChiSox battered the Minnesota Twins 16-4 on Monday. After going 2-for-5 with two runs scored, Anderson is hitting .448 during his streak. He’s had multiple hits in seven of those games.
It’s no coincidence that the White Sox began winning games once Anderson got back to playing like the Silver Slugger award winner he was in 2020.
Chicago is 17-7 over its last 24 games and sits on top of the AL Central standings. Anderson has 34 hits in those games, with four home runs, 14 RBIs, and 20 runs scored. Only Yordan Alveraz and Josh Rojas have higher batting averages over the last month. Tim also ranks third in MLB in hits and stolen bases in that span.
What happened to Jackie Bradley Jr.? It seemed like he was beginning to turn his career around last season in Boston. He set career highs in batting average (.283) and OBP (.364). His slugging percentage was its highest since 2016 when Jackie made his only All-Star Game appearance.
However, this season his stick has fallen off a cliff.
His batting average has done a complete 180. Actually, Jackie’s looking up at 180. His .153 mark at the plate is the worst of his career, as is his .229 on base percentage. He did hit one offensive milestone in May.
The rest of the month has been a disaster with Bradley posting just two hits. He’s gone hitless in each of his last six games. The two hits this month also equals the total number of multi-hit games he has this season. And over the last 30 days, his batting average has fallen nearly 100 points.
Whatever your faith is, light a candle for Jackie Bradley Jr.
Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
With parts of five seasons under his belt, Willie Calhoun is trying to stick with the Rangers this year. He hasn’t played in more than 83 games in any season since making his debut in 2017. Nothing has been a bigger factor in that than his inconsistent hitting.
Calhoun has been better in 2021, hitting .278 entering Monday’s games. He seems to have broken out of a slump with a homer and two hits on Monday, but this past week, as Texas ran off six straight losses, Calhoun once again hit a rut.
In five games since May 10, he was 1-for-18 with three strikeouts. His only hit was a solo home run in a one-run loss to the Houston Astros.
Considering his play earlier this season, however, he seems to be trending in the right direction overall. It certainly looked that way when he took Gerritt Cole deep over the centerfield wall to help the Rangers snap that losing streak.