It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 27, which means it’s time to talk about nostalgia. All things that are big enough eventually turns to nostalgia. The cycle of life for “things” is creation, promotion, growth, mass appeal, decline, end life, nostalgia. In today’s world, there is nostalgia for everything since truly everything has the ability to promote nationwide. Baseball certainly is no exception to nostalgia. Since nostalgia is generally two decades prior, the players of my youth are the kings today. Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Pedro Martinez, the list goes on and on. They were absolute stars whose entire generation did not get a fair shake from the supposed steroid-free generations before them. In the end, they will get their due, because those with nostalgia eventually become those in power. And those in power get what they want, it’s an American tradition.
From absolutely nowhere, Garrett Richards turned back the clock to his 2018 nostalgia self and struck out 10 Mets in a dominating performance in Queens. This was Richards’ that every fantasy manager dreams of seeing. The only issue, it’s the first time we’ve seen this version of Garrett since 2018. The Red Sox have built themselves an actual lead in the AL East based on strong offensive production. If Richards can bring this type of start once a month while mixing in three mediocre starts, he suddenly becomes viable. Until then, he’s just climbing up the nostalgia ladder, not the fantasy ladder.
Lucas Giolito could not pick up the win against a Detroit team he should see a win against in every start. The performance wasn’t awful, he did get himself a James Shields, but 6.2 innings and 4 runs against the worst team in the AL is a disappointment. Giolito has shown flashes of brilliance but seems to struggle at harnessing it for an entire game. We know he’s capable of putting it together, and the K numbers are still there netting 8 tonight, so there truly isn’t a cause for concern. It just stinks he couldn’t put up an elite start against a team that will allow their fair share of them.
Cristian Javier entered tonight with a 1.32 ERA and 0.88 WHIP across 13.2 innings. Tonight he allowed only a Kyle Seager 1B and 2B across 7.0 innings striking out 6. That’s with zero walks. Javier somehow found himself as an afterthought in Houston after finishing top 3 in the Rookie of the Year voting as a starter in 2020. Javier looks everything like a superstar in the making, and this hot streak is more than a hot streak. Whatever the asking price is for Cristian is in your dynasty league, it’s too low. Javier is a clear top 50 asset and could easily see himself as a top 25 asset before the end of May.
The opposite end of the spectrum is Gary Sanchez. A former top prospect who has been given ample amounts of leash to right his ship in the Bronx. The problem is he cannot hit the ball with any sort of consistency. Benched today for Kyle Higoshioka, Gary is 2 for his past 28 with 3 runs scored and no other counting stats. That’s a .071 average. He started the season with 2 home runs and 3 RBIs in his first two games. Since then, he has 7 total hits and only 1 XBH (a double). Catcher is normally a black hole, but if you roster Gary that’s truly what you’re getting. Whatever magic existed in his rookie season is long gone, and so should Gary be from your roster.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. qualifies at first base and third base. Today he hit three home runs, drove in seven runs, absolutely demolished the Washington Nationals all on his own. He is now tied for the AL lead in home runs and looks everything like the uber-prospect he was a few short years ago. My consensus #1 overall 1B, Guerrero Jr. doesn’t possess classic Bonifacio traits. However, his dual eligibility makes him an easy contender to end the year with the most Emilio’s on his mantle. He’s also going to win plenty of manager’s their league trophy to hoist upon their mantle. Vladdy Jr. is a stud, and his living up to the hype in his age 22 season is not getting enough play. The real fact is no one should doubt when a 20 or 21-year-old doesn’t tear the cover off the ball.
The James Shields Award
Cristian Javier, Garrett Richards, Ian Anderson, Aaron Civale, Carlos Martinez, Jose Urena, Corey Kluber, Zach Eflin, Lucas Giolito, Jakob Junis, and Walker Buehler all picked up the necessary distance to earn themselves a Shields. One short of a dozen is a mighty impressive night for starting pitching depth. Ian Anderson looks like the absolute stud he was last year. Carlos Martinez and Corey Kluber gave us their nostalgia return to 2018 forms. Jose Urena has looked good for a second straight start! Jakob Junis continues to not be terrible. Walker Buehler probably gave us the worst start of the bunch. It sure is crazy seeing so much length, I’ll pretend it feels like it’s 1968 all over again.
The Brad Lidge Award
Strongly considering renaming this award the Alex Colome Award. Once again he struggled (who could have predicted that?), recording two strikeouts and zero hits, well Josh Naylor’s HBP technically isn’t a hit and he walked three including a bases-loaded four-pitch walk and ultimately allowing two earned runs. Colome entered tonight with a -1.4 bWAR after his -0.3 bWAR outing yesterday. The Twins ideally wanted a low pressure, successful outing before reintroducing Colome to the closer’s role. They failed to get their wish as Alex has continued his trend of allowing two or more runs now in four of his past five outings. During those outings, he’s managed to only record 11 outs. Get this man off your roster, he is awful. I don’t know why the wheels fell off, but they’re gone. So is the entire car frame. It’s over for 2020 and Colome.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Nostalgia is ingrained into baseball. A hot dog at a ballpark? That’s nostalgic. The classical style music? Nostalgia. The lore of a complete game or an infield hit? Yep, nostalgia. Big flies from Barry Bonds? Yep, that’s still nostalgia. This game has so many things that connect us to our childhood when the vast majority of us fell in love with this game. That relationship to our childhood reminds us of simpler times when baseball was everything in our lives. Maybe it still is? Wherever base lies in your life now, there’s nostalgia to it. That’s good because nostalgia is American, and baseball certainly is as well.