The mad dash to close out the 2020 MLB regular season is in full swing for former Kamehameha-Hawaii and University of Hawaii star Kolten Wong, who will play his 13th game in 10 days when the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
The Cardinals are still in the early stages of a grueling stretch that requires them to play 55 games in 49 days. This is due to the MLB postponing 18 consecutive games from July 31 to Aug. 14 after multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the team.
[Latest stories from Hawaii’s Sports Station — KHON2 Sports]
Since the Cardinals returned to action, Wong has gone 10-for-35 at the plate and is hitting .255 for the year so far. As the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter, Wong has just one RBI and one extra base hit this season. But he’s made the one RBI count, as it was a walkoff single against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. The socially distant celebration that ensued was a true sign of the times:
The defending National League Gold Glove winner at second base has continued to flash the leather early on as well.
Below are how other players in the MLB with Hawaii ties fared over the last week:
Kurt Suzuki, catcher, Washington Nationals (Baldwin): Like Wong, Suzuki is currently hitting .255 for the season. Although the defending World Series champion Nationals are a disappointing 11-14, Suzuki has quietly gone on an eight-game hitting streak.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, utility, Texas Rangers (Mid-Pacific): Like Suzuki, Kiner-Falefa is also part of an eight-game streak, but not in a good way. The Rangers have lost eight straight games, falling to 10-17 heading into Monday’s game against the 20-9 Oakland Athletics. Kiner-Falefa has held steady at the plate, hitting .256 while also making multiple starts at shortstop.
Kiner-Falefa also broke up two no-hitters over the past week. In the first instance, he singled off of Dinelson Lamet of the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning of an eventual 8-7 loss on Thursday.
Then on Sunday, Kiner-Falefa got the team’s first hit against Justin Dunn of the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning of a 4-1 loss.
Greg Garcia, infielder, San Diego Padres (University of Hawaii): Garcia went 0-for-5 in five games off the bench last week, but the “Slam Diego” Padres are on a roll, winning five straight games after hitting five grand slams over their last six games. Garcia is currently hitting .273, and the Padres remain one of the most pleasant surprises in the game at 18-12 and third place in the National League standings.
Other players with Hawaii ties in MLB 60-man player pools:
Jordan Yamamoto, starting pither, Miami Marlins (Saint Louis): Yamamoto was optioned on Monday after giving up three runs, three hits and three walks in 1.1 innings pitched against the New York Mets in an 11-4 loss. Yamamoto has struggled in all three of his 2020 starts, amassing an 11.42 ERA and 2.42 WHIP.
Rico Garcia, pitcher, San Francisco Giants (Hawaii Pacific)
Josh Rojas, utility, Arizona Diamondbacks (University of Hawaii)
David Freitas, catcher, Milwaukee Brewers (University of Hawaii)
Joey Cantillo, pitcher, San Diego Padres (Kailua)
Inactive players with Hawaii ties on MLB rosters:
Kirby Yates, closer, San Diego Padres (Kauai): Yates is done for the 2020 season after undergoing elbow surgery. He is expected to be ready for the 2021 season.