By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of July 15-21, 2019:

Mazel tov

  • C Ryan Lavarnway signed a one-year Major League contract with Cincinnati on July 18 and wasted no time contributing. In his Reds debut the following day — his first Major League start since July 29, 2017 — he went 3-for-4 with 2 HRs, a double, a walk, and 6 RBIs. According to researcher Andrew Simon, Lavarnway is the first Reds catcher to have a 3-hit, 2-HR, 6-RBI game since the legendary Johnny Bench did so 46 years ago, on May 9, 1973.

  • Former Yankee great and newly-inducted Hall of Fame member Mariano Rivera isn’t Jewish — he is devoutly Christian — but he traveled to Israel last year with “a few friends of mine that are rabbis.” In an interview, Rivera said: “I believe that part of me is Jewish. I have to take a DNA test to see where my family came from, where I come from—all that stuff because I truly believe there’s something in me that just moves me to have something special for the Jewish community and Israel.”

Stats to share

  • Jewish players have hit 99 HRs so far this season. The record of 118 HRs was set in 2018.

At the plate

  • LF Ryan Braun (Brewers) hit .368 (7-for-19) with 2 HRs, a double, triple, and a .409 on-base percentage.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .292 with 2 HRs, a double, 4 RBIs, and a .452 OBP. His 26 HRs rank #4 in the A.L., and his .401 OBP ranks #3 behind Mike Trout and Carlos Santana. In a frightening moment July 19, Bregman was hit in the head with a 97 mph fastball on but promptly got up, dusted himself off, and trotted to first base.

  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Reds) hit .375 in his first week with Cincinnati, notching 2 HRs, a double, 6 RBIs, and a .444 OBP.
  • LF Joc Pederson (Dodgers) hit .259 (7-for-28) with 3 HRs, a double, and a .286 OBP. His 23 HRs are tied for #14 in the National League.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Giants) hit .229 (8-for-35) with 3 doubles, 4 RBIs, and a .263 OBP. He also (yawn) made this terrific diving catch.

  • 2B Ian Kinsler (Padres) hit .091 (1-for-11) with one RBI. Mired in a slump — after hitting .309 in June, he is hitting .103 in July — Kinsler is 4 short of 2,000 career hits.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) was sent down to Triple on July 15 and thus didn’t play any games with Toronto last week. In 78 games with the Blue Jays this season, the rookie first baseman is hitting .227 with 14 HRs, 40 RBIs, and a .280 OBP. In an interview, Tellez said he hoped to work on his plate discipline. “They’re the best of the best up there [in the Majors], and if you want to compete, you have to be on your ‘A’ game,” he said . “I got exposed a lot…For me, my aggression was one of my things, trying to do damage early in counts with pitches I can’t even hit and swinging at them and it got me into bad situations.”

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched a scoreless gem on July 15, yielding 3 hits and 2 walks over 5 innings for his 10th win, tying him for #4 in the National League. Atlanta placed Fried on the 10-day injured list July 16 due to a blister on his left index finger.

  • Richard Bleier (Orioles) pitched a scoreless inning on July 19, yielding 2 hits and no walks while striking out 2.

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