MLBits: Hader's Streak Snaps Just Short of History, Maddon Wants Another Team, Stone’s Legacy, Mets Injuries, More

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MLBits: Hader’s Streak Snaps Just Short of History, Maddon Wants Another Team, Stone’s Legacy, Mets Injuries, More

Chicago Cubs

The Phillies fired Joe Girardi and unlocked the cheat code to scoring runs against Josh Hader in a matter of five days.

Phillies Snap Josh Hader’s Scoreless Streak

Fresh off of a weekend sweep of the Angels, the Phillies set their sights on five straight wins in Milwaukee. They used their apparently still strong fired manager bump to do the unthinkable and hit not one, but two home runs off of Josh Hader in the ninth inning at Miller Park (or whatever they’re calling it these days).

The Phillies entered the ninth inning, trailing the Brewers by a run. Josh Hader entered the game riding an MLB record 40-appearance scoreless streak that dates back to last season. Hader needed just three outs last night to snap the tie he was in with former Astros reliever Ryan Pressly for the longest such streak in MLB history. Alec Bohm was having none of it.

Bohm’s home run snapped Hader’s record-setting scoreless streak and ended a stretch of 32 consecutive save opportunities converted successfully for the 2021 National League Reliever of the Year. Then came more trouble for Hader, this time in pinch-hitter Matt Vierling. In his first plate appearance since May 10, Vierling took Hader deep to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. To add insult to injury for the Brewers, former Brewer Corey Knebel closed Milwaukee out in the home half of the ninth inning as Philadelphia’s winning streak stretched to five on Tuesday night.

The Phillies are undefeated since Joe Girardi was fired on Friday afternoon, and while it’s too early to tell whether or not this run is just a dead cat bounce or something sustainable, the Phillies are now just three games under .500.

Maddon Surprised by Angels Firing

In a surprising turn of events, the Los Angeles Angels fired veteran manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday afternoon amid a 12-game losing streak that has watched their one-time half-game deficit in the AL West grow to 9.5 games in less than a month. In an exclusive Q&A with The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal, Maddon sounded just as surprised as the rest of us.

“A little bit. Actually, a lot. You always rely on [the] people in charge to read the tea leaves properly. This time, they did not. You didn’t even have to ask me. You can ask any of the players or coaches. They’re the ones who really know. Perry (Minasian) was in a tough spot. I understand that. Let me just put it that way. I would really rely on the sentiments of the coaches and the players.”

Maddon called the Angels’ 12-game losing streak that ultimately cost him his job more of a “calamity” of injuries and slumps than a lack of camaraderie or leadership in the clubhouse. As for whether or not you’ll see the 68-year-old manager back in a dugout again at some point, Maddon said that he’s still interested in it.

“Of course. Of course, I want to manage. I’m really good at it.”

Check out Rosenthal’s entire conversation with Joe Maddon here:

Four Decades of Stone Pony

Steve Stone celebrated 40 years in the broadcast booth on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers visited the White Sox on the Southside of Chicago. Stone has spent the past 17 seasons with the White Sox in some capacity. First on the radio side as a fill-in after he left the Cubs TV booth after the 2004 season, eventually as Hawk Harrelson’s partner for the better part of a decade, and now the partner of Jason Benetti, a pairing that gives the Sox on of the best booth’s in baseball.

I was excited when Stone took over for Darrin Jackson in the TV booth full-time in 2009; I remembered listening to Stone in the Cubs booth, where I got my first taste of his savant-like ability to predict moments in a baseball game, often moments before they happened. Still, his time with Hawk wasn’t as spectacular as I anticipated. This is mainly because Hawk was in the twilight of his career, and his style (extreme homerism) was wearing thin on the most loyal White Sox fans.

When Hawk departed the booth after the 2018 season, the chemistry between Steve Stone and Jason Benetti was undeniable, and it’s only gotten stronger over time. NBC Sports Chicago put together a nice tribute video for the Stone Pony last night:

And here’s Stone’s one-on-one with long-time Chicago sports scribe Paul Sullivan:

Mets Injuries

It was tough luck for the Mets on Tuesday night in San Diego. They lost the game to the Padres by a touchdown, but they also lost Pete Alonso and Starling Marte within about a half-hour. First, Pete Alonso left the game after being hit on the hand by a pitch from Padres starter Yu Darvish in the sixth inning, then Marte exited the game with what the Mets are calling left quadriceps tightness. Both Alonso and Marte left the team last night for late-night MRIs, the results of which are still unknown.

Mets skipper Buck Showalter is hoping the Mets can get lucky and get away with best-case scenarios for both of their stars: “Hopefully, we can get lucky with both of them,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll see.”

It’s also worth noting that Showalter wasn’t very optimistic that the absences of Alonso and Marte would be day-to-day type absences. When asked if he foresees absences of only a day or two for Alonso and Marte, Showalter replied: “I love your optimism, but I don’t share it at this point.”

The Mets have weathered the injury bug thus far, with Jacob deGrom still sidelined and Max Scherzer joining him recently, but losing Pete Alonso for an extended period would be a significant blow to them. Alonso is slashing .282/.363/.546 this season with a 152 wRC+, and his 16 home runs are tied for the National League lead, while his 54 RBIs are the best in baseball. Showalter said after last night’s game that the X-Rays on Alonso’s hand came back negative but wisely pointed out that an MRI would be needed to gain the complete picture of Alonso’s injury.

Odds and Ends …

•   Stephen Strasburg will make his return to the Washington Nationals tomorrow, according to Nationals manager Dave Martinez. Strasburg has only thrown 26.2 innings since the start of the 2020 season while dealing with a thoracic outlet syndrome surgery injury. The 33-year-old right-hander signed a $245 million contract with the Nationals following their 2019 World Series Championship.

•   On today’s installment of “So You Think You Can Hit Against a Major League Pitcher?” …

•   Michael Kopech was FILTHY against the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. Cue up the “BN_WhiteSux” comments because we’re going to watch some highlights of his performance. Kopech tossed six innings of one-hit, shutout baseball against the Dodgers while striking out eight and walking one. Kopech’s ERA is down to 1.94 on the year, and he’s pitched to the tune of a 1.13 ERA in four starts against first-place teams this season (MIN, NYY x2, LAD). In those four starts, opponents are slashing .079/.167/.105, and Kopech has 24 strikeouts and a 0.58 WHIP.

•   For my Cubs friends in the Disqus section this afternoon, I provide you with this clip of [Steele] Walker, Texas Ranger:

•   What’s the relevance, you ask? The White Sox traded this guy (a former second-rounder) to the Rangers for Nomar Mazara, who was arguably one of the worst acquisitions in the long history of terrible White Sox trade acquisitions in my 32 years on the planet earth. To make matters worse, the White Sox drafted Walker with Alek Thomas still on the board in Round 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft. They also drafted Nick Madrigal fourth-overall in that draft … so it was a pretty crappy draft. There, we’re even for the Kopech highlights.

•   Let’s talk about shifts, baby 🎶:

•   The 2010 draft class was STACKED!

•   The Giants wanted to demote Joey Bart so bad they traded for a catcher to replace him on the MLB roster. YIKES!

•   Now that’s a career, baby!

•   I’ll take ‘things you hate to see’ for $500, Alex:

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.