“Who’s That Guy?” is a new weekly Sports Grind Entertainment feature highlighting a baseball player who you should definitely be watching this week. We’re not talking about the Mike Trouts and Max Scherzers of the world, instead it’s new and interesting players. Maybe a hot prospect who just got called up or a veteran role player having a moment.
Perhaps you’ve heard: The San Diego Padres hit a lot of home runs. More than 28 other teams in MLB, in fact. They also have a knack this season for hitting home runs that their opponents take exception to. First, it was Fernando Tatis Jr. and now it’s Trent Grisham.
Baseball loves to hate the offenders of the unwritten rules, so that’s just one reason that Grisham’s name is in MLB headlines. The other? He’s another young Padres player making an impact during their surprise season.
Heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Padres are only 1.5 games back from the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. Grisham’s homer fueled their eighth straight victory and now San Diego has 32 wins, only one fewer than the Dodgers’ MLB-best 33. And Grisham is one of the reasons why.
Why do you need to know him?
Let’s start with the homer, which definitely mattered. It tied Monday night’s game 1-1 in the sixth. The rest of the Padres harnessed Grisham’s energy and poured on five more in the seventh and eventually won 7-2.
Grisham had reason to be excited: It was a game-tying homer in the Padres’ big series with the first-place Dodgers. And, hey, it’s a homer off a future Hall of Famer — when you’re a 23-year-old in your second big-league season, that’s something that gets the adrenaline pumping.
He turned to the Padres dugout, admired his dinger and had a very joyous trot around the bases that seemed to agitate the Dodgers dugout. He enjoyed it a little too much for the liking of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (who is usually more progressive than the typical baseball fuddy-duddys) and some other fans who trotted out the same old tired respect-the-game arguments.
Roberts told reporters:
“I don’t mind guys admiring a homer; certainly it’s a big game, big hit,” Robert said. “Really like the player. But I just felt to overstay at home plate, against a guy like Clayton, who’s got the respect of everyone in the big leagues for what he’s done in this game, I just took exception to that. There’s a certain respect that you give a guy if you homer against him.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler countered with:
“It got us fired up, and we have fun. We play the game right, we respect the game, but we’re going to have fun, and we’re going to pull for one another. To us, that’s all it is.”
Where did he come from?
Count Grisham as another good Padres acquisition. He’s a former No. 15 overall pick for the Milwaukee Brewers who was traded to San Diego this past offseason in the Luis Urias deal. He played 51 games in Milwaukee last year, hitting six homers with a .231 average.
This year, he’s taken a step forward with a .272 average, nine homers and 20 RBIs. He’s also played in every game for the Padres, becoming one of their most dependable outfielders. In fact, besides Manny Machado and Tatis, no one has been more valuable to the Padres this year than Grisham. He has been worth 2.0 WAR, according to FanGraphs.
Is he a one-hit wonder?
It doesn’t seem like it. While Grisham didn’t carry as much luster as Urias when the Brewers-Padres deal was made, he’s proven himself a valuable contributor in San Diego. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a Tatis-level talent next year. But he seems to be a more long-term contributor to a Padres team on the rise and not just a guy who irked Dave Roberts and the Dodgers that one time in 2020.
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Nobel laureate refuses local honor over Poland’s LGBT ‘rift’
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Nobel Prize-winning writer Olga Tokaczuk has declined an honorary citizenship from the region of Poland where she lives because she would have had to share the honor with a Roman Catholic bishop who has made hostile comments about the LGBT community.
Tokarczuk said in a tweet Friday that while she appreciated being considered, she “sadly” couldn’t accept Lower Silesia’s honorary citizenship. She said that receiving it at the same time as Bishop Ignacy Dec would highlight the “painful rift” in Poland over LGBT rights.
“I do not want to become an object of such actions and an element in this game,” said Tokarczuk, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature and a vocal supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Dec has repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Poland, which is predominantly Catholic.
Local councilors linked to Poland’s centrist opposition Civic Coalition party nominated Tokarczuk as a honorary citizen, while members of the right-wing Law and Justice party that governs the country recommended Dec.
Tokarczuk, who lives in the resident of the southwestern city of Wroclaw, said she was honored by the recognition but could not accept the honor.
“Instead of being a joyous celebration of a sense of community, it is a vivid illustration of the painful rift in our society,” she said.
Poland has produced heated debates over LGBT rights in recent months, including after right-wing President Andrzej Duda described the movement as worse than communism as part of his reelection campaign.
What Phillies need to happen in 6 other games Friday
Here’s what Phillies need to happen in 6 crucial games Friday originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Phillies begin the final weekend of the season with a little bit better than a 50-50 shot of making the playoffs. Their chances are 50.8%, according to Fangraphs.
This past Sunday morning, before they went on to lose four straight games, the Phillies’ playoff chances were at 87%. Following those four losses, they plummeted to 33.5%.
There’s going to be a ton of scoreboard watching around the league this weekend. The NL teams ranked sixth through ninth are still separated by only one game.
Vince Velasquez and the 28-29 Phillies face Charlie Morton and the 37-20 Rays tonight in the opener of a three-game series in Tampa. The Rays are 17-9 at home and have not been swept in a series of at least three games anywhere this season.
Do the Rays have anything left to play for this weekend? Debatable. They are the 1-seed with a two-game lead on the Twins and a 2½-game lead on the Athletics. But there is no big benefit to finishing the 1-seed as opposed to the 2- or 3-seed this season. There is home-field advantage for the top four seeds in each league in the first round but that’s it. After that, every team moves to the bubble cities.
Here are the games Phillies fans should keep an eye on Friday, ranked in order of importance:
The Padres are locked into the 4-seed in the National League, thus they have little to play for in their four-game series in San Francisco.
The Giants have everything to play for. They begin the series 28-28, a half-game ahead of the Phillies. The Phils possess the crucial tiebreaker over the Giants.
The Padres are starting two of their best tonight in Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack. The question is how long either one will go and how much their top position players will play. Fernando Tatis Jr. sat Thursday, for what it’s worth.
The Giants blew a multi-run lead and stranded the bases loaded late Thursday in an extra-inning loss to the Rockies.
This doubleheader begins at 7:10 p.m.
Marlins at Yankees
The Phillies could use some help this weekend from the 32-25 Yankees, who are two games back of the White Sox for the 4-seed and home-field advantage.
The White Sox hold the tiebreaker (divisional record), so the only way for the Yankees to move ahead into the 4-seed is by sweeping the Marlins as the White Sox are swept by the Cubs.
The same opportunity exists for the 8-seed Blue Jays, who would move ahead of the Yankees into second place in the AL East if they sweep and the Yankees are swept.
It means that the Yankees will still have something to play for against 29-28 Miami.
The Phillies lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Marlins because they dropped seven of 10 meetings this season. It means the Phillies must pick up two games on Miami this weekend. If the Phillies go 3-0, they need the Marlins to go 1-2 or worse to move into second place. If they go 2-1, they need the Marlins to lose all three.
Reds at Twins
The Reds are one game better than the Phillies and have clinched the tiebreaker. Both teams went 21-19 in divisional games so the next tiebreaker is the most recent 20 divisional games. The Reds went 12-8 and the Phillies went 8-12.
The Twins have slightly more to play for than the Rays this weekend. At 35-22, Minnesota is the 2-seed but only a game ahead of the White Sox. If the Twins move back to the 4-seed their first-round opponent would likely be the Yankees, a team that has ended their postseason dreams four times in a row and six of the last seven times the Twins made the playoffs.
The Reds plan to finish the season by pitching NL Cy Young-hopeful Trevor Bauer on short rest.
Same scenario as described above with the Marlins: The only way the Phillies can move ahead of the Reds is by gaining two games on them this weekend.
The most optimal result for the Phillies would be a split between these teams Friday night. Game 1 begins at 5:15 p.m.
If St. Louis (28-26) and Milwaukee (27-29) split and the Phillies win Friday, the Phils would be only a half-game behind the Cardinals. They’d also be one game up on the Brewers with possession of the tiebreaker.
Championship doubleheader set, but two fighters miss weight
The first event in the UFC’s return to Fight Island is set with a championship doubleheader following Friday’s UFC 253 weigh-in, although two fighters missed weight.
All four championship bout competitors hit the mark.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya weighed 184 pounds for his defense against challenger Paulo Costa, who stepped on the scale at 185 pounds.
In the history of the UFC, there has only been one men’s UFC title fight between undefeated fighters. That was Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 in 2009.
Saturday’s UFC 253 main event will be the second such bout, as Adesanya enters the fight at 19-0 and Costa holds a 13-0 record. But somebody’s O has to go at UFC 253.
The second half of the UFC 253 championship doubleheader features Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz squaring off for the light heavyweight title vacated by Jon Jones.
Reyes and Blachowicz each weighed 205 pounds, spot-on for their championship bout.
Two UFC 253 fighters miss weight
Zubaira Tukhugov stepped on the scale at 150 pounds for his featherweight bout with Hakeem Dawodu, a full 4 pounds over the allowed limit of 146 pounds. Dawodu weighed 145 pounds.
Late replacement L’udovit Klein also weighed 150 pounds for his featherweight prelim with opposite Shane Young. Young weighed 146 pounds.
UFC officials had not yet confirmed the status of either of those bouts at the time of publication. As long as the fighters are medically cleared, both bouts are likely to continue with the Dawodu and Young likely receiving a percentage of their opponents’ fight purse to keep the bouts intact.
TRENDING > UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa Beach Face-Offs on Fight Island
UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa weigh-in results
Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
- Israel Adesanya (184) vs. Paulo Costa (185)
- Dominick Reyes (205) vs. Jan Blachowicz (205)
- Kai Kara France (126) vs. Brandon Royval (126)
- Ketlen Vieira (136) vs. Sijara Eubanks (136)
- Hakeem Dawodu (145) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (150)*
Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Brad Riddell (156) vs. Alex da Silva (156)
- Diego Sanchez (170) vs. Jake Matthews (170)
- Shane Young (146) vs. L’udovit Klein (150)*
- William Knight (205) vs. Aleksa Camur (206)
- Juan Espino (255) vs. Jeff Hughes (258)
- Khadis Ibragimov (206) vs. Danilo Marques (206)
*Tukhugov and Klein missed weight
UFC 253 weigh-in: Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa
UFC 253 weigh-in: Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz
(Videos courtesy of MMA Junkie)
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