By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of September 2-8, 2019:

Mazel tov

  • Danny Valencia, a 34-year-old infielder who spent nine years in the Major Leagues and last played in 2018, obtained Israeli citizenship last week and is playing for Israel in theĀ European Championships held in Germany. Valencia manned third base in Game 1 and served as designated hitter in Game 2. Haaretz had an interesting article on the Israeli team and the growing number of American players who have obtained joint citizenship this year. Click here to see the team’s roster.
  • Speaking of the European Championships — a pit stop on the improbable road to the 2020 Olympics — Israel is 2-0 so far, beating the Czech Republic 6-1 on Saturday and earning a walk-off, 4-3 win against Sweden on Sunday. Israel plays the estimable Germany (2-0) today; click here to see a live stream of the game.
  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) was called up from Triple-A on September 2.

Stats to share

  • When Kevin Pillar (Giants) went 4-for-5 on September 4, it was his fourth game of the season with 4 or more hits. The big day included an 8th-inning, go-ahead home run that Baseball Reference called the biggest play of the day, statistically speaking. The round-tripper increased San Francisco’s odds of winning from 46% to 72%.

  • Joc Pederson (Dodgers) had an extraordinary run last week. In three games stretching from September 1-4, the left fielder had six consecutive at-bats that went like this: home run, home run, double, home run, home run, home run. Yes, that’s 5 HRs in 6 at-bats, plus a double.

  • Max Fried (Braves) pitched the greatest game of his young career on September 5, and he did it against Nationals ace Stephan Strasburg. In 7 innings of near perfection, Fried yielded one hit and no walks while striking out 9 to earn his 16th win — and tie Strasburg for the National League lead. After giving up a two out single in the 1st inning, the 25-year-old southpaw retired 19 straight batters before being pulled.

  • Jewish players continue to build on their home-run record, with 133 struck through September 8. The previous record of 118 was set in 2018.

At the plate

  • LF Joc Pederson (Dodgers) hit .533 (8-for-15) with 4 HRs, 2 doubles, 8 RBIs, and a .563 on-base percentage. On September 2, he went 3-for-3 with 2 HRs, a double, 5 RBIs, and a home run-robbing catch that caused him to be removed from the game.

  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) had at least one hit in every game, hitting .458 (11-for-24) with 2 HRs, 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, and a .519 OBP. The highlight was a 4-for-5 performance on September 1. Or was it stealing home on September 6? In his last 30 games, Bregman has hit .412 with 7 HRs, 33 RBIs, and a .493 OBP.

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) went 1-for-1 on September 8 with a double, walk, and 3 RBIs.
  • CF Kevin Pillar (Giants) hit .259 (7-for-27) with his 21st home run, 4 RBIs, and a .286 OBP.
  • LF Ryan Braun (Brewers) hit .188 (3-for-16) with a double, 2 RBIs, and a .316 OBP. He hasn’t homered since belting 2 on August 17, leaving him with 18 for the season.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .250 (4-for-16) with 2 HRS, a double, 2 RBIs, and a .333 OBP. His 17 HRs rank #4 among National League rookies.
  • 2B Ian Kinsler (Padres) is expected to miss the remainder of 2019 due to a herniated cervical disk. He finished the season with an awkward 1,999 career hits.

On the mound

  • Max Fried (Braves) won his 16th game on September 5 (see above).
  • Richard Bleier (Orioles) went 0-0 with a save and a 6.75 ERA across 1.1 innings and 2 games, yielding no hits and one walk while striking out one. The September 3 save was his third of the season.
  • Robert Stock (Padres) is expected to miss the remainder of 2019 due to a right bicep strain.

Staying close by

  • C Ryan Lavarnway (Indians/AAA/Columbus) went 1-for-4 on September 2, then joined his team in the playoffs.

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