Baseball Gives A Great Moment To the Most Humble of Men; Volquez Fires No-No in memory of best friend Ventura

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday,  June 4.

In October 2015 Edinson Volquez took the mound for the Kansas City Royals in game 1 of the World Series against the Mets.  Listeners to the Mets’ broadcast knew that great sadness awaited Volquez.  Fox would not release the story to the nation until they knew Volquez had been told.  Then the nation found out-Volquez’ father had died before the game.  While he pitched well in both games 1 and 5 and the Royals went on to win the World Series, there was more heartbreak to come to Edinson Volquez.  In September all of baseball mourned the death of Marlins’ star Jose Fernandez who was killed in a tragic boating incident made infamous by drugs and alcohol.  During the offseason Volquez found out that his best friend Yordano Ventura, another Royals’ pitcher had died in a car crash in the Dominincan Republic.  With an incalculable weight on his shoulders Volquez began a new job pitching for the Florida Marlins, trying to do the impossible job of filling Jose Fernandez’ shoes.  He had only a record of 1–7 until yesterday, the anniversary of Yordano “Ace” Ventura’s birthday.  Volquez took to the mound vowing to dedicate the game to Ventura whatever the result might be.

The result was nearly unbelievable to followers of the 33-year-old Volquez. Inning by inning the Diamondbacks couldn’t solve Volquez yesterday in Miami.  The Marlins built a 3-0 lead and still Volquez was unhittable to the visitors from the Valley of the Sun.  After 9 amazing innings Volquez had fired a no-hitter at the visitors. He walked two men, both of whom were eliminated in double plays so he only saw 27 batters.  This was an even more amazing performance than the late Fernandez ever put up with the Marlins.  Nobody had thrown a no-hitter since the park opened in 2012. In the 9th he struck out the side bringing his total to 10 K’s.

The whole day might have taken a different turn.  The D-Backs’ Ray Fuentes collided with Volquez on the first play of the game.  Some men would have left the hill at that point.  Not Volquez and not on this day.  On a sore ankle he pitched the rest of the game and gave up no hits.  The Marlins put up a run in the 5th and 2 more in the 8th to give him a cushion to work with.

Nothing close to this has happened to Volquez.  His record now is 90-86 in his dozen years in the bigs. He was an All-Star in Cincinnati in 2008.  Until yesterday his high point was winning the 2015 World Series with the Royals.  Both games he started were won in extra innings by the Royals and especially in game 5 he matched Matt Harvey inning for inning when Harvey was still good. Now, yesterday’s nono on the day his friend Ventura would have turned 26 stands above all the rest for Volquez. In a snappy 2 hours and 31 minutes he carved his name in baseball history.

This_ is one amazing Yankee feat which didn’t even happen in friendly Yankee Stadium.  The Yankees hit 4 home runs in the 8th inning-the first by Brett Gardner, then consecutive clouts by Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius. All four bombs were hit off Jason Grilli of the Blue Jays as the Yankees won 7-0  north of the border. From their humble beginnings as the New York Highlanders in 1903 the Yankees didn’t hit 4 home runs in an inning until 1977.  That’s right, even with Ruth and Gehrig in the 1920’s and 1930’s, not with Mantle and Maris did those great teams hit 4 in an inning.  Now it’s happened twice in the last 5 years. The Blue Jays opened for business in 1977, and from that day to this,  Grilli was the first pitcher to give up 4 bombs in an inning.

While no Yankee hit a grand slam yesterday, 7 men did around the majors.  The most notable was Albert Pujols when he entered the 600 home run club with 3 men aboard.  Nobody had used a grand slam to launch him to 600 home runs. Kyle Schwarber hit the first grand slammer of his career and the Mariners’ Mike Zunino hit the last one of the night. There has never been a day in baseball that featured 7 grand slams. Back in 2000 6 grand slams were hit on May 21. One of those was hit by Adrian Beltre who is still in the game 17 years later. Matt Adams hit a 4-bagger with the bases juiced, then hit a 12th-inning solo blast to win it for Atlanta over the Reds.

As always there’s a full slate of Sunday baseball but another commitment prevents me going over all the games.  I wouldn’t care to be White Sox’ starter David Holmberg as he faces the Tigers’ Justin Verlander.  The matchup is bad enough.  Add to it the fact that the Tigers mauled the White Sox 10-1 yesterday. Like Loretta Lynn used to sing, now the Mets have The Pill-Tyler Pill to be exact.  He did not cure all ills in his first start but he was effective enough to earn another shot against the Pirates.  Trevor Williams made his MLB debut earlier in the season for the Pirates. The Cubs and Cardinals take the field in the Sunday night game at 7:35, half an hour earlier than a normal ESPN Sunday night start.


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