One-site World Series set for Globe Life Field in Arlington

Major League Baseball on Tuesday unveiled a 16-team playoff bracket featuring four rounds of playoffs, including single-sites for the final three rounds, including the World Series.

The playoffs will open on Sept. 29, MLB announced. The World Series will be played in its entirety in Arlington at Globe Life Field, starting on Oct. 20.

Reports have been circulating for the past two days that fans might be allowed inside the stadiums on a limited basis for the final two rounds.

The American and National leagues will both send eight teams into the postseason, with first- and second-place teams in each of MLB’s six divisions guaranteed automatic berths.

Outside of the guaranteed slots from each division, two more teams from the AL and another two from the NL will make the playoffs.

All games in a best-of-three, Wild-Card round will be played at the home park of top four seeds in each league, according to a news release from MLB.

After that, games will shift to neutral sites “due to health, safety and competitive considerations.”

Each of four division series are best of five.

AL Division Series games are set for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego, with NLDS games scheduled for Minute Maid Park in Houston and Globe Life Field in Arlington.

After the divisional round, all series are best of seven.

The ALCS will be played at San Diego’s Petco Park, while the NLCS and the World Series will be played at Globe Life, the home of the Texas Rangers.

With the Rangers at 17-30 on the season leading into tonight’s series opener at Houston, it’s highly unlikely that they will make the playoffs.

It’s the first time in 76 years that baseball has held the World Series at one site, according to the Associated Press.

The World Series was last played at one site in 1944 at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, where the Cardinals beat the Browns 4 games to 2, the AP reported.

A young man by the name of Stan Musial, age 23 at the time, aided the Cardinals in the series victory with a .304 batting average. One of Musial’s teammates was Debs Garms, who played in the minor leagues for the Missions in 1935 and 1936.

The AP also reported that New York’s Polo Grounds hosted all the games in 1921 and 1922, in the last two seasons that it was the home of both the New York Giants and Yankees. The Giants won both titles.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday told reporters that fans potentially could be allowed to attend the ALCS, the NLCS and the World Series games, but likely with reduced capacity.

To this point in a season shortened to 60 regular-season games by the coronavirus pandemic, fans have not been allowed in major league ball parks.

Entry into the stadiums has been restricted to players, coaches, essential stadium staff and media.

Padres, White Sox create their own energy in empty stadiums

Without fans in the stands at Major League Baseball stadiums, high-stakes games between skilled athletes lack sizzle. They’re short on emotional punch. Even this month with divisional opponents locked in a race for first place, games just aren’t the same, with all due respect to the cardboard cutouts.

Baseball just isn’t baseball without paying customers roaring at climactic moments or leaning over the guard rails to slap the side of the stadium walls. It’s bad for everyone, but it’s really been a shame for the fan bases in San Diego and Chicago.

The Padres haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. The White Sox since 2008. In a normal season, fans would be packing Petco Park in San Diego or Guaranteed Rate Field on the south side of Chicago to watch these long-suffering franchises contend for pennants.

Both the Padres in the National League and the White Sox in the American feature young stars in contention for MVP awards. And yet, in the stretch run of a season overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, the stadiums were empty Monday night during games with playoff implications.

Both fan bases were left watching on living room television as the Padres downed the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-2, and the White Sox turned back the Minnesota Twins, 3-1. To both ball clubs’ credit, the Padres and White Sox not only have put together talented teams, but they have assembled groups capable of generating their own energy.

Even without the roar of the home crowd, both teams are doing as good a job as anyone at making the best of an awkward situation. As we all know, fans in most major sporting events can’t attend games because of restrictions related to the threat of the virus.

The Padres and White Sox both have shrugged it all off and just played ball. In the NL West, the Dodgers (33-15) lead the race and hold the best record in baseball, but the Padres (32-17) are right there, only a game and a half out of first. In the AL Central, the White Sox (31-16) are in first place, with the Twins (30-19) two games back.

Scott Merkin, who covers the White Sox for mlb.com, pointed out that no playoff berth in the AL was on the line Monday night in Chicago. At the same time, he wrote that the atmosphere, “even with pumped-in crowd noise replacing fans in the stands, sure felt like postseason baseball.” White Sox player Adam Engel agreed.

“I don’t know what the starters felt like, but being a bench guy, it feels like you are living and dying on every pitch,” said Engel, whose pinch single in the eighth produced the game-winning run. “You have a lot of emotion going with every pitch.

“A lot of guys say at the end of a playoff game [that] everybody is mentally and emotionally exhausted. Tonight wasn’t the real thing per se, but it felt pretty similar to that.”

In San Diego, the Padres rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw. Trent Grisham, who played for the Triple-A San Antonio Missions last year, hit a solo home run off Kershaw to spark the comeback.

Afterward, Ken Gurnick of mlb.com wrote that Kershaw stressed the importance of playing well against the Padres and finishing the season strong despite the unusual circumstances.

“These games matter,” Kershaw said. “If you want to be the (No.) 1-seed, it matters. To say, ‘Hey, I can’t get up for games, or there’s no adrenaline because there’s no fans,’ figure it out. I don’t want to hear that anymore.

“We want to play well, we want to beat the Padres and win the division. I think it’s important to play well the last two weeks of the season going into the playoffs. Maybe even try to create the atmosphere, as best you can, that these games matter to get ready for the playoff games.”

So, there you have it. Some players seem to feel the playoff vibe already. Others are trying to feel it, but it’s difficult, as Gurnick suggested, because the lack of fans “saps the electricity of a playoff race.”

It’s too bad for the fans, particularly in San Diego and Chicago. The season has a chance to be special. But even if either team rises up to win the World Series, a championship parade with thousands in attendance will be out of the question.

Unless they call in the cardboard cutouts.

Shortstops Tim Anderson (above) of the Chicago White Sox and Fernando Tatis, Jr., of the San Diego Padres have played their way into contention for Most Valuable Player honors in their respective leagues. Anderson leads the AL (and all of the majors) with a .369 batting average. Tatis, who played in San Antonio with the Missions in 2018, leads the NL in RBI with 40 and is tied for first in home runs with 15.

Mike Piazza slugs a homer for NYC, for America

Missions fans saw Mr. Piazza hit a few balls out of the yard over on 36th and Culebra in 1992. Little did we know, it was our own personal preview of one of the great moments in American sports.

MLB players from Texas: Kershaw, Goldschmidt top the list

Moving into the final third of the 60-game, pandemic-shortened schedule, here’s a status update on some of the top names from the state of Texas in Major League Baseball. In other words, players in MLB who grew up playing in high school or in college in Texas. Here’s the scoop:

Clayton Kershaw — Battling nagging injuries over the past few seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander continues to perform at a high level. But it’s uncertain how many more years the former Highland Park High School standout will play in the majors. Whenever he hangs it up, the next stop for Kershaw most likely will be Cooperstown. Hall of Fame credentials are already evident in his 13th season. Three Cy Young awards. Eight all-star berths. A no-hitter. A career 2.43 earned run average. Coming off a stint on the 10-day injured list with back stiffness, Kershaw nevertheless is 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA this year for baseball’s best team.

Paul Goldschmidt — Is former Texas State University standout Paul Goldschmidt riding a Hall of Fame arc in his career? He has 247 home runs and a .297 batting average over 10 seasons. He’s made six All-Star teams and has three Gold Gloves. So, he’s doing all the right things. But pundits say he may need to keep up the pace for another six or eight years, or so. At any rate, Goldschmidt is enjoying a solid pandemic-shortened season with the St. Louis Cardinals, ranking fourth in batting average (.330) and first in on-base percentage (.461) in the National League. Goldschmidt, 33, is a 10th-year MLB veteran. He attended The Woodlands High School. Moved on to Texas State University. Drafted in the eighth round in 2009 by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Anthony Rendon — Coming off a big season with the world champion Washington Nationals, Rendon signed as a free agent in the offseason with the Los Angeles Angels. The third baseman from Houston’s Lamar High School and Rice University signed for seven years and $245 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rendon was drafted sixth overall out of Rice by the Nationals in 2011. He is hitting .291 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 38 games this summer with the Angels.

Brandon Belt — The San Francisco Giants’ first baseman is having a solid season with a .324 average through Wednesday night. Belt was born in Nacogdoches and grew up near Longview. He attended the University of Texas.

Trevor Story — Story, in his fifth year in the major leagues, all with the Colorado Rockies, is one of the best young players in the game. At age 27, the former Irving High School standout has already made two National League All-Star teams. He is hitting .292 this summer. He’s got 10 home runs, and he leads the majors with 13 stolen bases.

Max Muncy — Power-hitting Los Angeles Dodgers infielder was born in Midland and played in high school at Keller. He attended Baylor University. After a few years in the majors with the Oakland A’s, Muncy signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in 2017. He re-discovered his confidence in Oklahoma City, before making a huge splash in the majors. He hit 35 home runs for the Dodgers in both 2018 and 2019. This year, he’s ripped 10 for the Dodgers, who have the best record in the major leagues.

Cavan Biggio — The son of Hall of Fame infielder Craig Biggio grew up in Houston and attended St. Thomas High School. In college, he attended Notre Dame. Biggio is in his second season as an infielder with the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s batting .247, with 6 HR, 21 RBI and a .794 OPS.

Trent Grisham — Grisham bats in the lead-off spot and starts in center field for the surprising San Diego Padres. A native Texan from Burleson, joined the Padres last winter in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. With the Brewers, he started for the Triple-A San Antonio Missions in 2019. This year, Grisham supplies speed and power to the Padres’ offense with a .269 average, eight home runs and 19 RBI. His OPS is a healthy .828.

Chris Paddack — The surprising 24-year-old Austin-area native was 3-4 with a 4.75 earned run average leading into Thursday night’s start for the San Diego Padres against the San Francisco Giants. Over two seasons, he was 12-11, 3.69. In 2015, Paddack entered pro baseball as an eighth-round draft pick by the Miami Marlins out of Cedar Park High School. He was traded to the Padres in June 2016 and made his big league debut for them in 2019.

Ross Stripling — The 30-year-old right-hander from Texas A&M is playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, moving over to the American League after a recent trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Michael Wacha — Wacha, another right-hander from Texas A&M, is 1-3 with a 7.50 earned run average for the New York Mets.

Kyle Finnegan — Finnegan is one of the feel-good stories. After knocking around in the minor leagues for seven years, the former Texas State University standout made a major league roster for the first time this year with the Washington Nationals. Finnegan has pitched in 17 games out of the bullpen for Nationals manager Davey Martinez.

Tyler Naquin — Naquin, from Spring and Texas A&M, is playing outfield for the Cleveland Indians. Hitting .247 in 25 games, Naquin is bouncing back from a toe injury that had him on the injured list from July 22 to Aug. 11. The Indians drafted Naquin 15th on the first round out of Texas A&M in 2012.

Hunter Dozier — Dozier has played in 28 of 44 games for the Kansas City Royals, primarily at third base. He’s hitting .230, down from his .279 average last year. In 2013, he was the eighth overall pick of the Royals out of Stephen F. Austin University. Dozier was born in Wichita Falls and played in high school in Denton.

Corey Knebel — The Milwaukee Brewers are hopeful that reliever Corey Knebel can regain his form from 2018, when he was a key bullpen presence on a squad that surged to the National League Championship Series. Knebel sat out all of last season recovering from elbow surgery. He’s returned this year and pitched in 10 games with an 8.22 ERA. In his last outing, the former Texas Longhorns pitcher from Denton threw a hit-less and scoreless inning at Detroit on Tuesday.

Noah Syndergaard — The hard-throwing pitcher for the Mets underwent Tommy John surgery in March, ending his season. Syndergaard was the 38th overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 draft. He was drafted out of Mansfield Legacy High School. Traded by the Jays to the Mets in 2012, he he broke into the big leagues in 2015. Syndegaard, who made the NL All-Star team in 2016, is 47-30 in his career.

Jameson Taillon — Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher hasn’t played this year after having Tommy John elbow surgery in February. Drafted by the Pirates in 2010 on the first round, with the second overall pick, out of The Woodlands High School. He’s 29-24 with a 3.67 ERA in his MLB career with the Pirates.

Kohl Stewart — The 25-year-old Baltimore Orioles pitcher from Houston St. Pius High School opted out of the season in July. “For the time being, I have decided to pause my participation in the 2020 season,” Stewart said in a statement published by the Baltimore Sun on July 31. “My elevated risk of serious complications of COVID-19 due to Type 1 diabetes continues to be of great concern. I am grateful to the organization, as well as my coaches and teammates, for their incredible support.” Stewart was selected fourth overall out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2013.

Beau Burrows — Pitcher Beau Burrows, a Fort Worth native who played at Weatherford High School, made his MLB debut this season. He’s pitched in four games out of the bullpen for the Detroit Tigers.

Trent Grisham played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Trent Grisham played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. – photo by Joe Alexander

Astros, A’s join in nationwide protest against social injustice

On a day when thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to decry social injustice, the Oakland A’s and the Houston Astros joined together Friday to engage in a peaceful demonstration of their own at Minute Maid Park.

After a moment of silence, a Black Lives Matter T-shirt was laid across home plate, and then both ball clubs left the field.

As such, it became the 11th game in Major League Baseball in the last three days to be postponed in the wake of issues related to police brutality against Black citizens.

“I’m proud of this generation because in the ’60s, it was mostly African Americans and a few white Americans that stood up, but in this day and age, I’m seeing young people of all nationalities and all religions that are standing up together,” Astros manager Dusty Baker, who is Black, told the Associated Press. “The young people are a voice to be heard in the country, and I’m very, very proud of the young people in this country.”

The decision not to play came on Jackie Robinson Day in the major leagues.

It also came on the third day of protests by professional athletes in four U.S. sports leagues since Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police in Wisconsin last weekend.

Robinson is known for breaking the color barrier in the major leagues when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. All Astros and A’s players were wearing jersey’s with Robinson’s No. 42 when they took the field.

Normally, Jackie Robinson Day is held in April, to commemorate the day that Robinson played his first game. But when the early part of the season was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic, baseball elected to hold it on Aug. 28.

The date was selected for two reasons, according to MLB.com.

First, it’s the anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, which the Robinson family attended. It is also the date in 1945 when Robinson met with Branch Rickey to discuss his future as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson Day is always a festive day in the majors. But on Friday at Minute Maid Park, it took on a more somber tone, as a nod to the tragedy that left Blake paralyzed and a nation in anguish.

“I woke up this morning, and I’ve always known the story of Jackie Robinson, but I had a different view today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told the AP, referring to how much he is learning about racial injustice. “I was angry today. I was sad. I was all of the above. So I was looking forward to putting this jersey on. I have the utmost respect for No. 42 and his play.”

Making the right decision ‘wasn’t necessarily easy’ for the Red Sox

Former San Antonio Missions manager Ron Roenicke has had his hands full in his first season as manager of the Boston Red Sox.

To this point, the Red Sox haven’t quite figured it out on the field, struggling to a 10-21 record. For a franchise that traditionally has been one of baseball’s best over the past two decades, times are tough.

Nevertheless, Roenicke might have enjoyed one of his finest hours in his job Thursday afternoon in Buffalo.

The game between the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays had been called off, postponed as one of 10 in the majors scrapped in the last 44 hours since a wave of protest in professional sports commenced.

The protest has centered on the nation’s latest crisis on race relations, the tragic shooting of an African-American citizen by a police officer in Wisconsin.

“You know, this is a really important time in our country, and what are we going to do?” Roenicke asked. “These (athletes) have a platform to discuss some things that are serious issues … (things) that we need to straighten out.”

Roenicke, a California native, has roots in San Antonio.

He played for the San Antonio Dodgers as a minor league outfielder in 1978 and 1979. He also managed here in the 1990s, leading the 1997 San Antonio Missions to the Texas League title.

His leadership showed up again Thursday in handling a sticky situation that evolved after Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., the team’s only black player, told management that he planned to sit out the Thursday night finale of a three-game series against the Blue Jays.

After Bradley made his intentions clear, the Red Sox engaged in discussions that led to a 4 p.m. team meeting at Sahlen Field, according to a published report at masslive.com.

“It was not an easy decision for a lot of us,” outfielder Kevin Pillar told the website. “We do stand with Jackie and we want to be in support of him, but a lot of us understand that us playing is an escape for a lot of people and the realities going on in the world. It is an opportunity for a lot of people to get away from the news and all the evil and bad that’s going on and be a distraction. This is what we do. It’s our responsibilities as athletes to come to the field and play.

“Ultimately, we came to a decision as a group that it is one game,” Pillar added. “It is a game but the power and impact that we have standing with those guys and their decision hopefully speaks volumes. We all believe we made the right decision even though it wasn’t necessarily an easy one.”

Speaking at the meeting were Bradley and Red Sox coach Tom Goodwin, a former Missions player. Bradley told the players why he planned to sit out and also said he would be OK with everyone if they wanted to play.

Goodwin, who is black, discussed “reasons why it might be prudent” for the Red Sox to play the game as scheduled, according to masslive.com. The Red Sox ultimately decided as a group to support Bradley and not play.

“A lot has been placed on him and that’s important to all of us,” Roenicke told masslive.com. “It’s important to these players, realizing that Jackie is our lone Black player on the team and they want to support him in any way they can. Just supporting in what we did today is telling him, ‘Jack, we’re hearing what you’re saying, we’re hearing what the rest of the guys are saying, we want to make a difference and we want to support you in any way we can.’ ”

In a video produced by the Red Sox, Roenicke encouraged baseball fans to have meaningful conversations about race. At home. At work. He said talks about sensitive issues are important.

“We understand how important baseball is,” Roenicke said. We’re playing through a pandemic. We know it’s all important. But we know the issues in life are more important …

“If you’re a kid and you turn on the TV tonight … and you ask your parents, ‘Why aren’t the Red Sox on?” I hope the parents have a serious discussion with their kid.

“We need to discuss these things more. We need to listen more. That’s the only way we’re going to change,” Roenicke said. “There needs to be a change in this great country that we live in.”

Taking a stand: ‘Being a black man in America is not easy’

In a resounding call for reforms in racial justice in America, athletes in at least four different professional sports leagues on Wednesday did more than just wear T-shirts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

They took the unprecedented action of forcing postponements of games in the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the Women’s National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer.

A top player in the Women’s Tennis Association also said she would withdraw from the Western & Southern Open.

ESPN was reporting that NBA owners and players would meet Thursday morning to determine how to proceed with the playoffs.

Events started to unfold Wednesday afternoon, when the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The decision sparked similar actions among athletes in the other sports.

At issue are the deaths this year of African-Americans Ahmaud Arbury in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minnesota. The latest incident involves Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old who was critically wounded Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when an officer shot him at close range.

In a statement, the Bucks called on officials in Wisconsin to address the issue immediately.

“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,” Bucks guard and former Spurs player George Hill said, in reading a statement. “For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.

“We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”

Athletes speaking out included some of the biggest names in sports — namely, LeBron James of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and baseball players Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers.

New York Mets outfielder Dominic Smith was in tears discussing his feelings after he played in a 5-4 victory over the Miami Marlins at New York. Smith kneeled in protest during the national anthem before the game.

“I think the most difficult part is to see that people still don’t care,” Smith said later. “For this kind of thing to continuously happen, it just shows…the hate in people’s hearts. I mean, that just sucks, you know. Being a black man in America is not easy.”

Postponements

NBA — Playoff games, Milwaukee vs. Orlando, Houston-Oklahoma City and Los Angeles Lakers-Portland.

MLB — Regular-season games, Cincinnati at Milwaukee, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco and Seattle at San Diego.

WNBA — Regular-season games, Atlanta-Washington, Los Angeles-Minnesota, Connecticut-Phoenix.

MLS — Inter Miami CF-Atlanta United FC, FC Dallas-Colorado, Real Salt Lake-LAFC, San Jose-Portland, LA Galaxy-Seattle

Women’s Tennis Association — Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Western & Southern Open.

Trade speculation swirls around former Mission Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams pitching for the San Antonio Missions against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on April 28, 2019 at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander

Taylor Williams pitched in 46 games for the Missions last year. He was 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA and six saves. – photo by Joe Alexander

The name of a player familiar to fans of the San Antonio Missions has surfaced in speculation with the baseball trade deadline approaching on Aug. 31.

It’s 29-year-old Seattle Mariners reliever Taylor Williams, who might be a target of teams contending for the playoffs.

According to a story in the New York Post, Williams, a right-handed reliever, might be a player who could help the New York Yankees. In addition, SB Nation mentions that the Tampa Bay Rays also might benefit from his talents.

Williams pitched in 46 games for the Missions last year, all out of the bullpen.

He was 3-3 with a 2.98 earned run average and six saves in San Antonio, where the Missions served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

During the season, Williams was called up to the Brewers a few times, but he never seemed to gain any traction. He was 1-1 with a 9.82 ERA in Milwaukee.

On Feb. 21, the course of his career took a detour as the Mariners claimed him off waivers.

Though the Mariners have struggled with an 11-19 record, Williams has emerged as one of the bright spots in the bullpen.

He has made 12 appearances out of the bullpen and has recorded six saves. He’s been steady, with a 3.00 ERA. In 12 innings pitched, Williams has struck out 17 and walked just four.

Recently, the Vancouver, Wash., native of has pitched well in two outings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in the majors.

Combined, Williams yielded only one hit in two scoreless innings while striking out five L.A. batters. On Aug. 17 at Dodger Stadium, he struck out two in one inning. Two nights later, at Seattle, he walked two but retired the side on three strikeouts to earn the save.

Emergence of Tatis shines light on Missions’ talent level

As a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, the San Antonio Missions didn’t play a single game at Wolff Stadium this summer. Their season was canceled. But that doesn’t mean that they have stopped making headlines.

Fernando Tatis, Jr., who started at shortstop for the Missions in 2018, has emerged at age 21 as one of the most talked about players in the game with the San Diego Padres.

In addition, Dinelson Lamet (Missions, 2016), Franmil Reyes (2017), and then Chris Paddack and Cal Quantrill (in 2018) have surged from the Double-A level to establish themselves as some of the most promising young players in the MLB at the moment.

Among players on the Triple-A Missions from last year, Keston Hiura and Trent Grisham have delivered with the most impact in the majors thus far.

Here’s a glance at some of the Missions players from the past four seasons and how they have fared in their jump to the top level of the game:

Keston Hiura played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keston Hiura played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. – photo by Joe Alexander

2019

Keston Hiura — The batting average for the Milwaukee Brewers’ infielder (.240) has slipped from last season (.303). But he has continued to slug homers, seven of them in 25 games. He hit 19 for the Brewers last summer after his call up from the Missions, for whom he hit another 19 round-trippers and a .329 average.

Mauricio Dubon — San Francisco Giants utility player is hitting .265 in 27 games. The Brewers traded Dubon to the Giants last July. He became the first player from Honduras to make an opening-day MLB roster this season.

Trent Grisham — San Diego Padres’ starting center fielder (.261, 7 HR, 14 RBI) has figured prominently in the team’s rise into playoff contention in the National League. He hit three home runs out of the leadoff spot Saturday night. Grisham was traded from the Brewers to the Padres in the offseason.

Taylor Williams — Seattle Mariners right-handed reliever (six saves, 3.00 earned run average) is pitching well. The Mariners claimed Williams off waivers in February. Williams made 46 appearances out of the bullpen for the Missions last year. He was 3-3, earned six saves and posted a 2.83 earned run average in Triple-A, but he had some rough outings in 10 appearances with the Brewers at the major league level.

Devin Williams — Williams (1-1, 0.93 ERA) has a bright future with the Brewers. He throws in the high 90 mph range and has been a strikeout machine, fanning 20 in 9 and 2/3 innings this season. Missions’ fans might not remember him well. He was in San Antonio for the last half of the 2019 season and appeared in only 13 games.

Burch Smith — The San Antonio native is currently on the Oakland A’s injured list. Previously, he established himself as a key member of the A’s bullpen. Smith is 2-0 with a 2.25 earned run average and a save with the A’s, who have the best record in the American League. Smith split time between the Missions and Brewers last summer. He was picked up off waivers by the Giants last Aug. 12 and then purchased by the A’s on Feb. 15.

Trent Grisham played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Trent Grisham is batting leadoff for the resurgent San Diego Padres. The former standout at Richland Hills High School played for the Missions in 2019. – photo by Joe Alexander

Corbin Burnes — Burnes (0-0, 3.42) is still searching for consistency. But he has shown flashes of potential to become a quality pitcher. With a high-90s stuff and extremely good breaking stuff, he’s got a chance. Burnes started last year in Milwaukee and then was sent down to the Missions to find himself. He’s 25 years old. Might just need time.

Adrian Houser — Houser is a starter in the Brewers’ rotation. The Oklahoma native is 1-2 with a 3.72 earned run average after going 6-7 with a 3.72 ERA in Milwaukee last summer. Houser started the Missions’ first game as a Triple-A franchise in April 2019 at Oklahoma City.

Travis Shaw — Shaw has played 18 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. A former 30 home run slugger with the Brewers, he’s hitting .231 with three homers and seven RBI for the Jays.

2018

Fernando Tatis, Jr. –Tatis has emerged as the major league leader in home runs (12) and RBI (29). He’s also seventh in OPS (1.023). His grand slam on a 3-0 count last week in Arlington, against the Rangers, touched off a controversy on baseball’s “unwritten rules.” It also set the stage for the Padres to hit grand slams in five of six games, a major league record. Tatis played parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Missions.

Chris Paddack — Right-handed pitcher from Austin (2-2, 4.26) started on opening day for the Padres. It’s his turn again on Tuesday when the Padres, on a seven-game winning streak, host the Seattle Mariners.

Ty France — Outfielder has moved into the Padres’ starting lineup in the absence of injured Tommy Pham. He aided in the destruction of the Texas Rangers last Thursday with a home run in the eighth inning of an eventual 8-7 victory in 10 innings.

Austin Allen — Won the backup catching job with the Oakland A’s after an off-season trade from the Padres. He hit his first career home run on Aug. 5 in a 6-4 home victory over the Texas Rangers. The two-run shot put Oakland ahead for good. Allen also made some waves on Aug. 9 when he was among players ejected in a benches-clearing brawl in Houston.

Cal Quantrill — The Padres right-hander (2-0, 2.93) enjoyed a big moment on Aug. 10 when he pitched three scoreless innings of relief to get the victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The native of Port Hope in Ontario, Canada pitched in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Missions.

2017

Franmil Reyes — The 6-foot-5 Reyes has been one of the hottest hitters for the Cleveland Indians over the last few weeks. In his past 10 games, he’s hitting .342 with four home runs and eight RBI. In a stretch from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17, he hit three homers in Detroit, including one that traveled 462 feet and another 453.

Luis Urias — After sitting out the first several weeks of the season, the Brewers’ infielder started fast but is now in a bit of a slump. He is 2 for 18 in his last five games, driving down his batting average to .294. Urias has had some physical setbacks since joining the Brewers in an off-season trade. He broke a bone in his hand in spring training and tested positive for Covid-19 during summer camp.

2016

Dinelson Lamet — The 28-year-old, right-hander (2-1, 1.89) leads the Padres in earned run average and innings pitched (33.1). He’s also the team leader in strikeouts (45). Lamet, in perhaps his best performance this summer, took a no hitter into the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 9. He started 14 games for the Missions in 2016. Lamet was 5-7 with a 3.39 earned run average in Double-A.

Tatis Jr. homers twice and drives in seven runs for the Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. made himself at home Monday night in the new home of the Texas Rangers.

The San Diego Padres’ second-year phenomenon belted two home runs, produced seven RBI and stirred one controversy in a 14-4 victory at Globe Life Field.

In a stunning show of power, Tatis crushed a line drive to left for a three-run homer in the seventh inning. In the eighth, he followed with an opposite-field grand slam.

The grand slam left the Rangers fuming.

It came on a 3-0 count with the Padres holding a seven-run lead. After it sailed over the wall in right field, the Padres expanded the advantage to 14-3.

“There’s a lot of unwritten rules that are constantly being challenged in today’s game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told reporters, as noted in a Twitter post from San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jeff Sanders. “I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eighth inning. It’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0.”

Added Woodward, “It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game, but like I said, the norms are all being challenged on a daily basis. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”

On the next play, Texas reliever Ian Gibaut threw a pitch that sailed behind San Diego slugger Manny Machado. Woodward said there was no purpose to the location of the pitch. “It slipped out of his hand and went wide,” he said, in comments relayed by Sanders.

“(Umpires) didn’t issue any warnings, so they must have come to the agreement that it wasn’t intentional. I was expecting them to warn somebody, but they didn’t.”

Jayce Tingler, a first-year Padres manager who worked with the Rangers for the past 13 years, congratulated Tatis for the slam but also told his young star that he had missed a take sign.

“He’s young, a free spirit and focused and all those things,” Tingler said in a story published by the Associated Press. “That’s the last thing that we’ll ever take away. It’s a learning opportunity and that’s it. He’ll grow from it.”

The power show boosted Tatis into the home-run lead in the major leagues.

Two years ago, he was one of the top prospects in baseball with the San Antonio Missions. Now he has 11 homers on the season, one more than Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Tatis is only 21 years old.

Notable

Former Missions players Franmil Reyes and Fernando Tatis, Jr., have produced multi-home run games on back-to-back days in the major leagues. Reyes hit two for the Cleveland Indians on Sunday in Detroit. Tatis followed with two on Monday at Texas.