03 Nov

touching the bases

The jaw-dropping no-hitter by Houston in Game 4 on Wednesday night — following Philadelphia’s jaw-dropping five-homer game on Tuesday night — ensures that there will be a Game 6 in Houston on Saturday night. Brookhaven native Lance Barksdale is scheduled to be the home plate umpire for that game. Barksdale, who worked first base in Game 4, has been umpiring in MLB since 2000 (full-time since 2006) and is highly rated by those who rate such things. He was 18th in overall accuracy out of 96 umps who worked behind the plate in 2022, per umpscorecards.com. He has received a number of major assignments: the World Baseball Classic, the All-Star Game and multiple postseason series, including two World Series. He was behind the plate for Game 5 of the 2019 Series between the Astros and Washington (and made a couple of memorable ball-strike calls). … The Astros have thrown 15 no-hitters in their 61-year history. Among them are a combo effort in 2003 that was started by Weir’s Roy Oswalt and finished by former Jackson Generals star Billy Wagner and a true no-no in 1986 by ex-Jackson Mets ace Mike Scott. … Oswalt, incidentally, pitched for both the Astros (10 seasons) and Phillies (two) and aided in postseason runs by both clubs. A Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, he won 163 games, second only to Guy Bush among state natives, in a stellar big league career. … Today is the 69th birthday of Sunflower native Larry Herndon, who played 14 years in the majors and won a World Series ring with Detroit in 1984. Herndon, who went to high school in Memphis and attended Tennessee State, batted .274 with 107 homers and 92 steals as an outfielder with St. Louis, San Francisco and the Tigers. In Game 1 of the ’84 Series against San Diego, Herndon hit a go-ahead two-run homer that propelled the Tigers to victory. He went 5-for-15 in the five-game series. He coached in the Detroit system in 2022. … Props to former Mississippi Braves Dansby Swanson and Max Fried and Biloxi Shuckers alum Trent Grisham for winning National League Gold Gloves. … Chris Ellis, the ex-Ole Miss and M-Braves standout, has elected free agency after being dropped from Baltimore’s 40-man roster. Ellis, 30, missed virtually the entire ’22 season with a shoulder injury.

16 Jul

star power

The No. 1 player in the Hitter Power Rankings announced Thursday by mlb.com is not in Monday’s Home Run Derby. Nor is ex-DeSoto Central High star Austin Riley in the MLB All-Star Game, though he keeps building his case to be named as a replacement should one be needed on the National League squad. Riley, the aircraft carrier for Atlanta’s potent offense, leads the majors in total bases with 201. He hit his 26th homer — second in the NL — in Friday’s win at Washington. He is batting .424 with eight homers and 17 RBIs in his past 16 games and is currently riding an 11-game hit streak. Star stuff, for sure. Riley has said he’d love to participate in a Home Run Derby if (when?) he makes an All-Star Game. One imagines the 6-foot-3, 240-pound third baseman could put on quite a show. If we could put together a home run derby contest solely of Mississippians in pro ball, it would be compelling theater. You’d have Riley, who has blasted a 441-footer this season; Crystal Springs native Hunter Renfroe, who has 13 bombs for Milwaukee, including a 444-foot shot; Mississippi State alum Nathaniel Lowe (12 homers, including a 439-footer, for Texas); Southern Miss product Matt Wallner (21 in Double-A for Minnesota); ex-State star Brent Rooker (16 in Triple-A for San Diego); MSU alum Jordan Westburg (16 at Double-A and Triple-A for Baltimore); former Mississippi College star Blaine Crim (13 at Double-A for Texas); and the DeSoto Central slugging legend Blaze Jordan (eight in A-ball for Boston). P.S. Wallner is in today’s All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. There is an unofficial batting practice home run derby during that event, and he’d be one to watch. … Brookhaven native Lance Barksdale, a veteran MLB umpire, has been named as one of the umps for Tuesday’s All-Star Game; he’ll work first base. … Oxford High catcher Campbell Smithwick participated in Friday’s MLB-USA Baseball High School All-American Game at Dodger Stadium. … St. Louis has placed MSU product Dakota Hudson on the injured list with a neck strain. Hudson is 6-6 with a 4.10 ERA on the year — 2-4, 6.16 in his last seven starts. … Atlanta prospect Vaughn Grissom is batting .556 in four games for the Double-A Mississippi Braves, who won Friday on a walk-off homer by Justyn-Henry Malloy to improve to 12-4 in the second half.

26 Jul

the pitching news

Recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, Chris Stratton jumped right into the fray for San Francisco on Tuesday and registered a rare four-inning save in an 11-3 win against Pittsburgh. The ex-Mississippi State star relieved Madison Bumgarner – who earned his first win of the year – in the sixth and yielded six hits and two runs the rest of the way for his first career save. Stratton has a 7.71 ERA in 14 big league innings in 2017. … Ole Miss alum Lance Lynn, the subject of trade rumors, worked six-plus innings for St. Louis but got no decision in a 3-2 win over Colorado. Lynn, who allowed one run Tuesday, has yielded just two runs in his last four starts. He has a 3.21 ERA for the year, though he has given up 21 home runs. … UM product Drew Pomeranz labored through five innings (105 pitches), allowing three runs on four hits and four walks, for Boston at Seattle. Pomeranz left with a lead, but the Red Sox didn’t hold it and fell 6-5 in 13 innings. Pomeranz is 10-4 with a 3.59 ERA for the first-place BoSox. … Tony Sipp, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College alum from Pascagoula, retired one of the two hitters he faced – one reached on an error – in first-place Houston’s 5-0 win against Philadelphia. Former Mississippi Braves standout Charlie Morton went seven innings for his eighth win. Veteran left-hander Sipp has a 5.16 ERA in 35 appearances, few of those in high-leverage situations. … Former State star Brandon Woodruff was reinstated from the disabled list by Milwaukee and sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Woodruff, still awaiting his MLB debut, was roughed up in a rehab start for Colorado Springs on Monday. … Kendall Graveman, another former Bulldogs hurler, will make at least on more rehab start for Triple-A Nashville before returning to Oakland, according to reports. Ole Miss alum Bobby Wahl, also on the DL for the A’s, was assigned to Nashville for rehab work. P.S. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs was ejected from a game on Tuesday for the first time in his big league career. Brookhaven native Lance Barksdale was the umpire who ran Bryant for barking about a called third strike.