MLB Game Day Recap Day 47: Injury Day

May 18, 2021

It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 47 which means it’s time to talk about injuries. On the 17th of May, in the year of some lord 2021, the injury gods sent their wrath down upon us. It was evident when the first piece of injury news broke, Huascar Ynoa’s broken hand. The classic “how the fuck do you let yourself get injured that way?” injury of the year, Huascar was so mad at his first bad pitching performance of the year he punched a thing and broke his hand. Then Kevin Pillar’s face ran into a Jacob Webb fastball. When it already looked like this was going to be the worst injury day all season, Mike Trout got a calf strain. Jesus. Injuries absolutely blow, but they are also absolutely a part of the game. They’re part of the game.

Climbing Up

While today may be remembered by many in the short-term as “The Day of Injuries”, in the long-term it may be remembered as the breakout of Casey Mize. The prized Tigers prospect when 7.2 innings, striking out seven and allowing three singles and three walks. Forever seen as uber-talented, Mize had yet to perform with any consistency in the Majors prior to May. Since the turn of the calendar, he’s allowed four earned runs across three starts to go along with a WHIP of 0.92. Everyone wants to believe that Mize is here, and he is finally backing up that desire.

Letdown

It’s not as if Sam Hentges was supposed to throw a Maddux today, but the Cleveland baseball team really needed him to not get lit up and destroyed immediately. He went 1.2 innings allowing six earned on five hits and three walks and looked definitively worse than Logan Allen. That’s really, really hard to do folks. Shohei Ohtani took a high fast and deposited it into the bleachers, and soon thereafter Hentges was removed. Cleveland has been a pitching factor for the past decade, but between these two bozos, they really need to find themselves a fifth starter with some upside.

Who’s Hot

Adolis Garcia went deep again. He now has 11 homers since debuting on April 13th. A clear breakout candidate, Garcia has now graduated beyond “breakout”. The number one overall fantasy player in standard 5×5 leagues over the past two weeks is Adolis Garcia. That was before he went 2-for-4 with two runs and a dinger today. This man is on an insanely hot heater. He’s volcanic hot. I’m not saying sell high because you’re not going to find a buyer who is going to pay a superstar price, so just let it ride. Garcia is the type of player who wins managers’ fantasy leagues not because he’s a full-season star, but because he did enough. Hopefully to got him.

Who’s Not

There was a time when it looked like JA Happ was going to cruise to another JA Happ style season, but that was back on May 4th. Since that fateful day, Happ has made two starts, allowing 14 earned runs across half as many innings. That’s….. not good. Sometimes pitchers age gracefully into the night, other times they do this. Just two starts ago Happ looked like the consistent streamer he’s been for the past decade. Now he looks like someone two bad starts away from retirement. Just like with injuries, life comes at your fast as a pitcher.

The Emilio Bonifacio Award

Let’s tip our caps towards Danny Mendick, who hit his first grand slam of the season today. The 2B and SS qualifying infielder, Mendick doubled both his season home run total (1) and RBI total (5) in today’s game. In all likelihood, this is the best game Mendick will ever have, so let’s give him a Bonifacio to hang on his wall. The White Sox have been hit super hard with injuries, so it’s nice to see someone you would not expect step up. Yes, it might be the only game that Mendick steps up in all season, but still, good job Danny. Nice work!

The James Shields Award

We already gave Casey Mize his own section, so let’s talk about the other three Shields winners today. Walker Buehler allowed only four base runners to go along with zero runs and seven strikeouts in a dominating performance against the Diamondbacks. Yu Darvish made that look like child’s play as he also went 7.0 innings but clearly performed better. He struck out 10 Rockies while allowing just four scattered baserunners. Both of these guys are superstars pitching in baseball’s best division, so it’s always beautiful when they sync up and pitch like this. Dallas Keuchel rebounded from a rough outing against the Twins by facing the worst team in baseball, the Twins. He allowed three runs and struck out six in 7.0 innings during the Chi Sox blowout win in Minneapolis. This is Keuchel, he’ll eat innings and look great. Only four Shields winners today, congrats boys.

The Brad Lidge Award

Trevor May did not look particularly sharp in his appearance today. He only allowed one run while picking up the hold, but he got hit around. Austin Riley destroyed a ball for a dinger, and then every out he recorded was hard hit. However, these are the exact outings that you want from a “bad” Trevor May. You’ll accept that homers happen, and you’ll accept one run. No one really blew up on the field today. Good job major league relievers.

Conclusion

The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. This is an endurance sport, and maintaining your health throughout the entire season is the battle. Injuries derail careers, but that’s because games have to be played. Health matters in all aspects of life, because without it there is no life. Days like today remind us that at any moment we might have seen the last of an elite player. There was no moment when Ken Griffey Jr. went from Ken Griffey Jr. and then back to Ken Griffey Jr. It was injuries. They took their toll, but just like age, they always affect everyone. Be sad when a player gets hurt, but understand that injuries are truly part of the game. They are supposed to happen, just like everything else in the game. Embrace it, accept it, and appreciate the time when your favorite players are healthy.

Goodnight.