A look at who’s hot and who’s not in Major League Baseball right now:
1) Remember the struggles of Jose Ramirez, the Cleveland Indians third baseman who hit .214 with a .634 OPS, five homers and 30 RBIs through June 30? Ramirez entered the weekend with a .314 average, 1.041 OPS, 14 homers and 43 RBIs in 39 games since July 1. “Early in the year everybody was freaking out, saying, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ ” pitcher Adam Plutko told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “I said, ‘Everybody relax. We all know how good this guy is, and he’s going to show it.’ ”
2) Old guys may not rule today’s game, but they still have some pull. A month and a half after the New York Mets hired 82-year-old Phil Regan as interim pitching coach, the Philadelpia Phillies brought back Charlie Manuel, 75, as hitting coach after firing John Mallee on Tuesday. “Baseball is a funny game,” said Manuel, who led the Phillies to five division championships and the 2008 World Series title in nine years (2005-2013) as manager. “And I just happened to land here today.”
3) The Cincinnati Reds will give transistor radios to the first 20,000 fans entering Great America Ballpark on Sept. 26 so they can listen to Marty Brennaman call his final home game. Brennaman is retiring after 45 years as the radio voice of the team. The seven-second delay will be eliminated by WLW-AM so fans can hear the call in real time. That is, assuming they can figure out how to operate a transistor radio.
1) The Angels catch heat — and rightfully so — for the 10-year, $240-million deal they gave Albert Pujols, but that looks like a bargain compared to the eight-year, $248-million deal the Detroit Tigers gave Miguel Cabrera. There are four years and $132 million left on Cabrera’s contract. He has a .745 OPS, nine homers and 48 RBIs in 107 games this season and can’t play first base because of an achy right knee. Pujols has two years and $59 million left on his deal. He has a .731 OPS, 18 homers and 70 RBIs in 96 games and can play first base.
2) The Baltimore Orioles are on pace to lose 109 games, but on the plus side, they don’t have to play the Yankees and infielder Gleyber Torres again this season. New York won 17 of 19 games from Baltimore, outscoring the Orioles 151-83, and Torres hit 13 homers in those games. Only one player ever has hit more homers against one team in a single season: Lou Gehrig, with 14 homers in 23 games against the Cleveland Indians in 1936.
3) A back injury will deprive San Diego Padres fans of seeing one of baseball’s most dynamic young players finish out the season as shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the 20-year-old phenom who was a front-runner for the National League rookie of the year award, was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his lower back. Not only did Tatis show prodigious power while hitting .317 with a .969 OPS and 22 homers, he dazzled defensively with a variety of acrobatic plays.