Bit of a lighter schedule as teams start their second half games, but still a bit going on out there.
There were __ major players returning from injuries in the games yesterday. In Atlanta, Jason Heyward returned to the lineup and went 0-4 with a strikeout. In San Francisco, Carlos Beltran returned to the lineup, hitting cleanup and going 1 for 4. To me, the interesting part of Beltran's return was the fact that he had a caught stealing in the 4th inning. Clearly, a lot of Beltran's value lies with the theory that he will steal bases, and the fact that he was comfortable enough to try it the very first time he got on base speaks volumes about it.
The Twins placed Justin Morneau on the disabled list yesterday with the concussion symptoms he has been suffering from. Hopefully he will be back from these pretty quickly, and won't run into similar problems that Corey Koskie had before his career ended. In the mean time, Michael Cuddyer will fill in for him at 1B and hopefully will start performing more similarly to last season.
Aramis Ramirez is officially back. He went 2-5 yesterday with 4 runs batted in for the Cubs, and in July he is now hitting .361 with 4 homeruns, 9 runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. Clearly, this is the performance that the Cubs and his owners were expecting this season.
In his first game since being acquired by the Braves, Alex Gonzalez went 1 for 3 with a walk. I'm guessing that if he just shows up and does his job, he's going to be a welcome addition to the team.
Looks like the theory that the Home Run Derby was going to screw up Corey Hart's swing may have been a bit premature. He hit his 22nd homer of the season yesterday against the Braves, and unfortunately was the only run scored for the Brewers in the game. I think that Hart is pretty likely to hit 35 homeruns, and even has an outside chance at 40.
Joe Mauer still has not homered at Target Field, but did hit 2 more doubles and drove in 3 runs in yesterday's game. It concerns me a bit that he still has not hit a homerun there, and the fact that he has only 4 total leads me to believe he is not even likely at this point to break double-digits. But he's still going to hit .300 and score a good amount of runs.
Clayton Kershaw has a bad day against the Cardinals: 4 1/3 innings pitched, 4 earned runs, 1 strikeout, and 11 baserunners. His upside, to me, is to potentially be the best pitcher in the league. But there are going to be days like this too unfortunately, and you kind of just have to take them together.