MLB Players Weekend debut features nicknames, errors, records and position player pitchers

When MLB put Players Weekend on the schedule for 2017 they knew there were going to be some weird sights on the field. With customized cleats, nicknames on jerseys, and bats emblazoned with allcolors the promotionwas bound to be the topic of conversation.But as the night went on in the Players Weekend debut Friday night the nicknames stopped being the story as bizarre things began to pile up one by one.First Giancarlo Stanton burst onto the scene. The Marlins’ slugger blasted his 48th home run of the season in the first inning of Miami’s 8-6 win over the Padres, giving him 22 home runs in his last 39 games. Thehome run pa sed Albert Pujols for the most home runs in the NL since 2009. Just two innings later, Stanton blasted his 49th home run of the season, tying himwith Ryan Howard for the most home runs in the NL since 2008.Finally, that gave him 23 home runs in 39 second-half games, which tied him with Mark McGwire (1999) for the most home runs in the first 40 games of the second half of a season in MLB history.Then came the errors and the Red Sox made plenty of them in a 16-3 lo s to the Orioles. Five of them to be exact. Their five errors tied the Brewers (July 7) for the most errors in a single game this season. Even Rick Porcello got in on the action, but more on that below.Sticking with the Red Sox, the story turned to first baseman Mitch Moreland, who looked great in a ninth-inning relief appearance.Moreland ran around90-91 mph on his fastball, topping out at just under 93 as he to sedonly the second scorele s inning of the day for the Sox. Moreland has seen the mound twice in his career and still sports a 0.00 ERA (in two innings of work).Now for Scott Schebler, the26-year-old Reds’ outfielder whohas 25 home runs this season (don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of him he’s definitely flying under the radar in cellar-dwelling Cincinnati). Schebler started the night a perfect 3 for 3 with a single, triple and a home run through the sixth inning. He had a chanceto lock up a cycle, but a hit by pitch limited him to a perfect night at the plate with three RBIs in a 9-5 Reds win over the Pirates.We’re not done yet. Rhys Hoskins started his career slow for the Phillies, hitting .200 through his first nine games. But in his last sevenhe has managed a seven-game hitting streak in addition to sixhome runs, 16 RBIs and has raised his average all the way to .291. He homered again Friday night against the Cubs.Studof the NightCody Bellinger is the overwhelming favorite in the NL Rookie of the Year race, but Pirates first baseman Josh Bell is making some noise to be in the top three. Bell smacked his 22nd home run of the year Friday against the Reds, which makes him just the fourth Pirate of all time to hit 22 home runs in his rookie year. He joined Jason Bay, Ralph Kiner and Johnny Rizzo as the only Pirates to ever achieve the feat. He also went 4 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.Dud of the NightIn a 16-3 lo s to the Orioles Rick Porcellothrew 101 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, gave up nine hits, 11 runs (four earned) while walking one. And yes, seven runs were unearned, but he started that with a throwing error in the first inning that allowed a run to score and put two runners in scoring position. The runs might not have all been on him, but he set the tone with his mistake in the early going and put the Red Sox down a path they never got off.HighlightsThere’s no disputing Byron Buxton can play defense. If you want to dispute it maybe he can convince you with this catch.Byron Buxton. ARE YOU SERIOUS, FAM?! pic.twitter.com/X1oEB9TMaT Audible Sports (@AudibleSports) August 26, 2017The White Sox and Tigers were locked up in a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning but Yolmer Sanchez had had enough of that.Yolmer Sanchez collects his second walk-off hit of the season. #WhiteSox win 3-2. pic.twitter.com/mvwpp1nYFy Today in the MLB (@TodayintheMLB) August 26, 2017What’s NextRockies (69-59) at Braves (57-69) Tim Tebow Jersey 7:10 p.m. ET This is an interesting pitching matchup for more than one reason. First of all Kyle Freeland (11-8, 3.71 ERA) and Sean Newcomb (2-7, 4.13 ERA) are big, young, hard-throwing left-handers which are a rare commodity these days, but what’s more interestingis that they were drafted just six picks apart in 2014 and from schools you would never gue s they were drafted. Newcomb came out of Hartford while Freeland came out of Evansville. It goes to show you don’t have to be drafted from a national powerhouse to make it in MLB and that guys that throw 97 aren’t always blue-chippers.

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