How a fire delay helped a Hall of Famer, and a high-scoring night across MLB

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They called him the crime dog, but when Fred McGriff arrived in Atlanta nearly 30 years ago, what they needed was a firefighter. We’ve got notes on the Twins, their sport-wide scoring spree, and the Braves’ $8 million backup catcher. I’m Levi Weaver, here with Ken Rosenthal – Welcome to The Windup!


It all started when I arrived…

Fred McGriff will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, and Dave O’Brien will tell the story of the day in 1993 (he’ll be exactly 30 years old tomorrow, in fact) when McGriff was traded from the Padres to the Braves on July 18 – he made his Atlanta debut and “lit the fire” Under the leadership of the brave.

This is metaphorical fire, of course. It is important to differentiate between the two because there it was actual The fire was on that day. A can of sterno (essentially fired in a can) was left unattended and started a fire in a stand at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, which quickly spread and burned the stands, radio booths, and press box.

As it turns out, that benefited McGriff, who took two days off before reporting to the Braves as he dealt with a muscle strain in his side. He hadn’t planned on being in the lineup that night, but Bobby Cox wrote him any way. Delaying the fire allowed him some time in the training room, and he went 1-for-4 with a home run.

He added two more zingers, and went 3 for 4 the next day. His arrival was a turning point for the Braves, who eventually outlasted the Giants to win the NL West (the splits were so weird).

The Braves did not win the World Series that year, but—after the strike closed out the 1994 season—they pulled it in 1995.

More hall of fame: Bananas, Self-Bronze and TikTok: How the Baseball Hall of Fame Attracts New Fans


Keen Notebook: Twins need star performances from the stars

From today’s notes column: For the Twins to succeed offensively, they need Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton to be four, five, or even six-win players, levels they’ve achieved at various points in their careers. But here’s a statistical comparison that sheds a special light on the problems of offensive twins.

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Going into Tuesday night, Correa, Donovan Solano, Willi Castro and Ryan Jeffers are tied to lead the team in FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement, priced at 1.2. No other FWAR captain had a number this low. The next worst group was Rockies Ryan McMahon 1.6 and Tigers Riley Greene 1.6.

As a team, the Twins ranked 17th in fWAR and 21st in runs bats per game. However, while they seem to be in clear need of an offensive upgrade, it’s not clear which position they should be trying to improve. Second baseman Jorge Polanco, who has recovered from a left hamstring strain, began his rehabilitation assignment Sunday. Third baseman Royce Lewis, who deals with a strained left-handed slant, could return in August.

It’s strange, the way twins develop. They don’t get high-end offensive production from their stars, but most of their position players do contribute. Sixteen, in fact, register as positive fWARs, with Buxton the lowest at 0.2. At the All-Star break, no other club had that many.

The Twins, who are game 1 1/2 over the Guardians in the AL Central, can still seek a supplemental batter at the deadline, and will also be in the market for a bullpen assist while waiting for the return of Brock Stewart and Caleb Thielbar. But as has been the case all season, their stars must be stars. Correa, at least, has been hot since becoming the leadoff hitter on June 30. And the team still plans for Buxton to, at some point, stop DHing exclusively and play center field.


You have to run, run, run, run, run

Alec Thomas (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Diamondbacks are the latest team (joining the Padres) to jump its telecasts from Bally Sports to MLB production. The new arrangement started last night, and according to the broadcast introduction, moving from Bali increased availability by 506 percent, from 930,000 homes to 5.6 million homes.

Arizona beat the Braves in a wild 16-13 circus in Atlanta that included 27 hits, 7 walks, and 6 home runs. Arizona scored its last three runs in the ninth inning, all before Raizel Iglesias could score a winning run.

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But that wasn’t the only high-scoring match that night. Not only did the Cubs drop 17 to the Nationals, winning by two goals, three A match that ended with a score of 11-10.

• The Mets beat the White Sox at home, getting two runs off Francisco Alvarez and one each from Brett Batty and DJ Stewart. Lucas Giolito had a tough run, allowing eight earned runs in only 3 1/2 innings.

• In Kansas City, the royals Just He survived, despite four runs in the Tigers ninth inning. Spencer Turkelson’s home runs on the 14th and 15th were not enough to top the Royals’ 13 hits.

• The Giants passed a suddenly frozen Reds team, handing Cincinnati its sixth straight loss. The Reds hit four home runs (including a first by Christian Encarnacion Strand), but the Giants got Zengrin from Wilmer Flores as part of their 11-hit offense, now only 1 1/2 behind the Dodgers in the NL West. . The Reds are now two and a half games behind the Brewers in the Central.

Oh, but we’re not done: The Dodgers, Twins, and Guardians each scored 10 runs in their wins over the Orioles, Mariners, and Pirates, respectively.


Don’t see why you can’t stay a little longer

When the Braves acquired Sean Murphy from the A’s in December, Travis d’Arnaud didn’t seem like he was long for the team. After all, he was an All-Star just a year ago, he definitely wouldn’t have any interest in taking a backup role less than a year later, right?

In fact, the 34-year-old Di Arno seems to be doing just fine – he signed an extension yesterday that will pay him $8 million to stay in 2024, with another $8 million club option for 2025.

That’s more than you might expect for a “backup” catcher, but the Braves are taking advantage of the situation. D’Arnaud’s offensive prowess allows the team to catch Murphy around two-thirds of the time, keeping him fresh while not creating a black hole in the lineup.

Or as Dave O’Brien puts it: “The Braves created a culture under the remarkable head coach Sal Fasano, who each year sought two quality catchers in place of the traditional linebacker, a solid defense and a weak supporter at bat.”

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It works: In the catch position, the Braves rank first in home runs (25), on-base percentage (. 372), slugging percentage (. 559), and thus OPS (. 931).


Handshakes and high fives

Shuhei Ohtani Trade Rumor Tracker: It’s a very light day today.

  • I didn’t get a sound, but ESPN’s Buster Olney got in on a 92.1 ticket in Fayetteville, Ark., and as best I can tell, said he expected the Rangers to be “as aggressive as anyone” in chasing Ohtani.
  • It’s unlikely his new home will be in Boston, for reasons Chad Jennings puts it here.
  • Tim Kawakami takes a practical look at the Giants’ chances of landing him.
  • Not a commercial rumor, but ESPN’s Tim Keown has it Excellent in depth profile on Ohtani.

We’ll move on to the other links by introducing Sam Blum to tell us all about it last Angels may trade.

Kane wrote yesterday about the difficulty the Mets would have in trading either Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer. Today, Will Sammon had a good chat with Verlander, who didn’t specifically talk about the no-trade clause but said, “I’m still committed to trying to win a championship here.”

No. 1 draft pick Paul Skenes is officially the Buccaneer, thanks to a $9.2 million signing bonus.

Estevan Florial is delivering his “monster” season at Triple A. So, uh, will he ever get a shot at the big leagues? The Yankees are 1-4 since the All-Star break, and the offense is still struggling. In a similar situation, Sahdev Sharma asks the cubs: “Where did Mirvis die?”

The Padres aren’t dead, but it looked like they were shaking hands on Tuesday, hiring Rougned Odor to hire catcher Austin Nola and utility man Brandon Dixon to Triple A, calling up kicker Alfonso Rivas and outfielder Taylor Coloy, and reinstating Lewis. Campusano from 60 days IL.

on Roundtable this weekKatie Woo fills in for Grant Brisbee and talks with Andy McCullough and Marc Carig about the team that could be the key to the trade deadline, and why the Angels can’t get it all together more Otani commercial watch.

(Photo by Fred McGriff: Focus on Sports/Getty Images)

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