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July 7, 2016

What You Need to Know

Giancarlo Stanton Hits a Bunch of Dongers

by Demetrius Bell

The Wednesday Takeaway
Home runs are lovely, and they’re one of the many facets that makes baseball such a fun game to follow. The best thing about home runs: they’re each unique. Every one has its explosion off the bat, its own arc that the cameraman has to find, its own landing spot in some nook between seats, its own picturesque qualities. And no dinger artist rivals Giancarlo Stanton when it comes to hitting big, towering homers that are easy on the eyes. Citi Field was his canvas on Wednesday.

With the Marlins down 3-1 in the fourth inning, Stanton delivered his first masterpiece of the afternoon, on a 93 mph fastball from Jacob deGrom that was reversed into the second deck in left field.

In the sixth inning, deGrom tried to switch things up by feeding Stanton a curveball. It was a different pitch, and the result was both the same and its own unique creation.

Stanton’s two homers on the day were the capper on the end of a two-day feast for Miami’s premier power hitter. He’d already homered twice on Tuesday night, and those homers were majestic in their own right. He wasn’t able to make it five homers in two days, but that’d be like asking Bob Ross to paint three masterpieces full of happy trees in just a half hour. You can’t put demands like that on any type of artistry—much less the art of hitting home runs.

On another note, the surest sign that you’ve painted a beauty with your bat is when your peers pay proper admiration to the work. On both homers, none of the outfielders moved too far from their position in a token effort. Juan Lagares walked a few feet to get a closer look at the first moonshot.

On Stanton’s second homer (which was also career HR no. 200), Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. He’s well versed in the art of hitting gigantic home runs himself, so if anybody knew that it was time to just focus on the next batter, it was him.

For all of the admiration of Giancarlo Stanton and his resurgent power, this is the part where it’s time to inform you that both of his homers—as beautiful as they were—were only of the solo variety and counted for the only two runs that the Marlins scored on the night. Those two homers were the only major mistakes that Jacob deGrom made over seven innings of work, and Wilmer Flores composed two pieces of home run artistry, himself. Wilmer’s first home run opened the scoring, and his second one closed it.

While Giancarlo Stanton did weave together some beautiful home run tapestry, it’s true that sometimes the best artist toil in obscurity, and that was the case for Stanton on Wednesday afternoon as the Marlins eventually fell in a 4-2 loss.

Quick Hits
The Reds and their refusal to lay down for the Cubs were the focus of The Tuesday Takeaway in this space, and they kept it going on throwback day at Wrigley Field on Wednesday. Cincinnati beat Chicago 5-3 to win the series, and one of their keys to success was to run wildly on the basepaths. Zack Cozart, Jose Peraza, and Brandon Phillips ended up combining for four stolen bases on the day. However, Tucker Barnhart’s seventh-inning three-run shot was the catalyst that allowed the Reds to escape Chicago with the series victory.

The Dodgers and Orioles enjoyed each other’s company so much that they decided to play 14 innings on Wednesday. The pitchers enjoyed the action as well, since they ended up throwing a combined 36 strikeouts on the afternoon, a record for Dodger Stadium. Amid all of the strikeouts, Mark Trumbo hit two homers to re-take the major-league lead in homers, and Chase Utley somehow ended the day with six hits. At the end of the long day at Chavez Ravine, it was Jonathan Schoop who hit a two-run double to break the deadlock and send the O’s to their 49th victory of the season.

Don’t look now, but the Pirates are currently on a roll that’s propelled them into second place in the NL Central at the expense of the Cardinals. Pittsburgh’s won seven straight games, and six straight games have been of the comeback variety.

This time, the Pirates battled back from a 5-1 deficit to turn it around and eventually win 6-5. The go-ahead run came from Aledmys Diaz making a meal out of a grounder from Josh Harrison, which allowed Jung Ho Kang to score what ended up being the game-winner.

Defensive Play of the Day

Freddy Galvis had himself a lovely day at the ballpark on Wednesday. He hit a go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth inning to help beat the Braves, and he also had a good day in the field. Ender Inciarte hit a grounder up the middle and, with Inciarte's speed, Galvis had zero room for error in order to get the out. He ended up recording the out in spectacular fashion.

What to Watch on Thursday
If you enjoy David vs. Goliath matchups, Thursday is the day for you. The Braves are heading up to Chicago for a three-game series with the White Sox that starts on Friday, but before they do that, they’ll be swinging by the North Side of town to face off with the Cubs in a make-up game from earlier in the season. As mentioned earlier, the Cubs are vulnerable after dropping a series against the last-place Reds, but the Braves are currently on a familiar run of form—they’ve lost eight out of 10, and their last game against the Cubs was like the second act of The Purge.

Meanwhile in the American League, the Rangers will be playing host to the Twins on Thursday. While the Braves may be fortunate that they’ll only be seeing the Cubs for one game, the Twins will have to spend the weekend in Texas playing the team with the AL’s best record. While the Braves may be heading into the Chicago on a down note, the Twins have actually won a whopping two games in a row, so they’ll be carrying some positive momentum into Arlington. Both basement-dwellers will need all of the help that they can get on Thursday night, but maybe they’ll have enough rocks in their slingshots to take out their respective giants. We’ll see what happens.

Demetrius Bell is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Demetrius's other articles. You can contact Demetrius by clicking here

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