1. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels. Pujols hit his 27th home run in the first game of a doubleheader and then hit two more in the nightcap as the Angels swept the Red Sox. With the three home runs, Pujols passed Mike Schmidt for 15th on the all-time list at 549.
So here's a question: Who would you want? In terms of career WAR, Schmidt is at 106.5 and Pujols is at 99.1. (That's Baseball-Reference.com; Schmidt's advantage on FanGraphs is about 16 wins.) Pujols is the better hitter relative to league -- right now, at least. That spread will decline as his career progresses, although his career WAR will rise. Anyway, it's going to end up pretty close in career value. I'd probably go with Schmidt, the third baseman over the first baseman. As Bill James once wrote, no, Schmidt didn't hit .300; if he had, he'd have been the greatest player in the game's history.
Albert Pujols now has sole possession of 15th on the all-time HR list pic.twitter.com/TLHugMz3ra— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 21, 2015
2. Travis Ishikawa, Pittsburgh Pirates. With shortstop Jordy Mercer joining third baseman Josh Harrison on the disabled list, the Pirates' depth will be tested over the next several weeks. With the Pirates in Kansas City for an interesting series, Pedro Alvarez served as the DH with Ishikawa, last year's playoff hero for the Giants, playing first base. He hit a two-run home run off Royals reliever Kris Medlen -- making his 2015 debut -- and doubled twice to knock in four runs in the Pirates' 10-7 win.
Medlen allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings, but a more distressing result for the Royals was Yordano Ventura's disappointing start. He got hit hard in allowing 10 hits and six runs in four innings, including five hard hits in a row in the second, capped by Ishikawa's two-run double. Batters are now hitting .314/.391/.506 against Ventura's fastball, after hitting .259/.351/.372 against it last season. For the Pirates, it was a nice win after getting swept by the Brewers over the weekend, and ace Gerrit Cole makes his first post-All-Star start on Tuesday.
Travis Ishikawa has HR & 4 RBIs tonight. Pirates - with far fewer holes than the #Mets - found him on waivers July 5. Sandy walking his dog?— Mike Vaccaro (@MikeVacc) July 21, 2015
4. Players running home! We had Alex Rios stealing home on a pickoff throw to first. We had Bryce Harper alertly dashing home on a rundown play after a ball in the dirt. And here's Ian Kinsler running home after a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth lifted the Detroit Tigers to a 5-4 win over the Mariners.