Before we get to the top five, I couldn't pass this up: During All-Star festivities in Korea, they held a bunt derby. That's either the best thing or the worst.
Aroldis Chapman threw a pitch 105.1 MPH tonight... That's tied for the fastest pitch ever recorded by PITCHfx or Statcast— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 19, 2016
ESPN Stats & Information had the pitch to J.J. Hardy at 105.0 miles per hour, the second-fastest Chapman has ever thrown, behind a 105.1 mph pitch to Tony Gwynn Jr. in 2010. He also hit 104.7 mph on Monday versus Ryan Flaherty, the third-fastest of his career. Speaking of which: Why was Flaherty, a left-handed batter, allowed to face Chapman in a one-run game with two outs and a runner on? Well, Chris Davis was out with an illness, meaning the Baltimore bench consisted of backup catcher Caleb Joseph and outfielders Hyun Soo Kim (lefty) and Joey Rickard (righty). So manager Buck Showalter had limited options, and the best hope was for Flaherty to get lucky and run into a pitch.
Worth noting: Red Sox minor leaguer Michael Kopech was also clocked at 105 mph the other night on multiple radar guns, one reason Boston was willing to part with top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to acquire Drew Pomeranz. We need to get Chapman and Kopech together for a little skills competition.
2. The Indians could use a left-handed reliever who throws 105 mph. Of course, Chapman's name will continue to flood the trade rumors, and he is almost certain to be traded unless the 46-46 Yankees go on a big win streak before July 31. One team that could use him: Cleveland. The Indians led the Royals 2-0 through seven innings when manager Terry Francona removed Corey Kluber after 95 pitches due to the right-hander suffering a cramp. Bryan Shaw gave up three hits and two walks, starting with an infield single, and was relieved by Jeff Manship. Manship promptly surrendered a go-ahead single followed by a grand slam to Jarrod Dyson. It was Dyson's first home run of 2016 and just the seventh of his career.
The Indians have received just 18 innings from left-handed relievers all season and Kyle Crockett, with 4⅔ innings, is the only lefty currently on the staff. Of course, having a lefty closer nullifies some of the manager's ability to match up, but in Cleveland's case, acquiring Chapman would at least push Cody Allen to the eighth inning and Shaw/Manship to the seventh. The Indians could also join the Andrew Miller Sweepstakes if they're held, but Cleveland doesn't seem like a franchise to make a big move like that, one that would require a heavier price in prospect talent. Plus, the Indians will have to consider a Jonathan Lucroy deal in the wake of Yan Gomes' injury, although Roberto Perez, a strong defensive catcher, was activated Monday, returning from a broken thumb.
Dyson with the POP 💪https://t.co/WVUgw5Yscd— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 19, 2016
3. Here come the Marlins. Jose Fernandez entered Monday's start with a big home/road split: 1.53 ERA at home, 4.01 on the road. Of course, he strikes out a lot of batters no matter where he pitches, and he fanned 14 Phillies in 6⅓ innings to match a career high on Monday. Still, he left with a 2-0 deficit that required a dramatic Marlins comeback, as they scored twice in the ninth off Jeanmar Gomez and then won 3-2 on Martin Prado's 11th-inning home run. With the Marlins looking for rotation help, one trade idea floated out there: shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria for a pitcher, with utility man Miguel Rojas taking over at shortstop. Miami reportedly asked about Tampa Bay's Chris Archer. That's obviously too big of a reach given Hechavarria's weak bat, but Hechavarria could possibly bring in a back-of-the-rotation starter such as Ervin Santana of the Twins.
José Fernández: Mowing them down. pic.twitter.com/k9o86WoaT8— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) July 19, 2016
4. Roger Clemens is going to play baseball again. Clemens and a team full of ex-major leaguers -- including the recently retired Adam LaRoche -- are going to participate in the annual semi-pro National Baseball Congress tournament that takes place in Wichita in August. Clemens' son, Koby, is the only non-major leaguer on the team, which will also include Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt, Josh Beckett, Ben Sheets, J.D. Drew and Dan Uggla. And apparently Chipper Jones, too:
Awesome. Sign me up for a trip to Wichita to see the 53-year-old Clemens in action. The full roster is here.
5. David Robertson go boom. In a showdown series between teams that want to think they're contenders but are really just .500 teams realizing their seasons are going nowhere, the White Sox led the Mariners 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Chris Sale was pulled after 100 pitches and one hit allowed and ... well, yeah, manager Robin Ventura is going to get second-guessed on that decision, because with two outs and the score now 3-1, Adam Lind pinch hit and did this:
The Mariners ended up winning the game 4-3.