Adams’ two-out RBI single off Pirates’ reliever Rob Scahill gave the Cardinals a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on Friday in the season’s first meeting between the National League Central foes.
Matt Holliday was intentionally walked by the right-handed Scahill to load the bases for Adams, who drilled a 1-1 pitch into left field.
Burnett pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, but remains winless despite a 1.45 Earned Run Average.
Burnett tied Koufax for 42nd place on the all-time time strikeout list in the fifth inning with his sixth whiff of the night against Lynn. Burnett’s 2,397th career strikeout came against Holliday in the sixth inning.
Burnett helped himself with an RBI single in the sixth, but Lynn pitched out of a bases-loaded jam with no-outs to keep the Cardinals’ deficit at 1-0.
Lynn tossed seven innings of four hit baseball, allowing only one run and fanning 10.
St. Louis tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh. A double steal by Jhonny Peralta and Jason Heyward spelled trouble for Pirates’ bullpen. Pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds then rolled an infield-single up the middle to tie the game.
After a dismal April in the 2014 season, Kansas City Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas has grown by leaps in bounds.
Today, Moustakas was named Royals player of the month for April, his first monthly award since debuting with Kansas City in June of 2011.
Moustakas’ 19 runs scored and 11 multi-hit games are second in the American League. This time last season, Moustakas recorded just 7 runs scored and 2 multi-hit games. His batting average has also vastly improved from .149 in 2014 to now the fifth best average in the A.L. at .356.
So what changed? Can we really give Royals Manager Ned Yost the credit? After all, he has put Moustakas in the 2-hole and kept him there, which is a huge change from Yost’s ever-changing lineup of seasons past and it’s the only concrete change from last season.
Whatever the reason, thanks to Moustakas’ lead, the Royals are no longer just known for their pitching and defense, although both have been stellar in April. The Royals’ .306 team batting average leads all of Major League Baseball. Only the Toronto Blue Jays’ 122 runs scored are better than the Royals’ 119 runs.
The Royals enter Friday’s game against the Detroit Tigers with a slight lead in the A.L. Central, but they are still battling a familiar struggle: Power. Kansas City’s 18 home runs is 15th in the league and Moustakas has 3 of those. But that too has improved. Last April, Kansas City recorded a season low 11 home runs and let’s not forget, they went on to become the American League Champions.
Can the Royals and Mike Moustakas keep this momentum going through May? They’ll have to if they want to avoid their typical May struggles and the two 4+ game losing streaks they suffered this time last season.
The Royals look to start a new streak, a win streak, tonight as they continue their 4-game series with the Tigers. The Royals enter Game 2 after an 8-1 Thursday night over the Tigers. First pitch at Kauffman Stadium is at 7:10pm Central.
Follow Abby Clopton for more MLB news and insight.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals duked it out last season for the National League Central division and this season appears to be more of the same.
The Cardinals head in to the weekend with a 3.5 game lead for first over Pittsburgh.
The Pirates (12-10) are coming off a series loss to the Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh’s offense struggled in the first two games of the series before centerfielder Andrew McCutchen and utility man Jung Hu Kang powered the Pirates past Chicago 8-1.
McCutchen finished April with a .194 clip, but collected his 1,000th career hit with a two-run triple in Wednesday’s finale.
The Cardinals (15-6) improved to 8-2 at Busch Stadium by taking the final three of a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. Matt Adams finished Wednesday’s game with three hits, including a two-run blast.
The home-field advantage has benefited the Cardinals this season, but St. Louis has enjoyed playing at home against Pittsburgh in recent years.
The Cardinals won eight of its 10 games against Pittsburgh at Busch Stadium last season. Sating back to April 27-28, 2013, the Cards have gone 13-3 against the Pirates at home.
A.J. Burnett will take the mound on Friday night. The veteran right-hander is off to a phenomenal start in his final season.
The 2014 campaign was rather tough for Burnett, but donning a Pirates’ uniform brings out the best in him.
Burnett (0-1, 1.80 earned run average) has allowed just five runs in four starts after giving up one in seven innings of the Pirates’ 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last Saturday.
”It’s different now than it was a couple of years ago with velocity and stuff,” Burnett said. ”I just pitch and not get stubborn thinking I can sneak some balls by the hitters. Sometimes I can set that up. Just pitch and use the movement to my advantage.”
Adams is just 1-for-14 in his career off Burnett, but he enters this contest 8 for 13 over his last three as the Cardinals totaled 25 runs.
”When you get this offense really going, it’s one of the best in the majors, and right now everybody it seems is producing,” Adams said. ”It seems like everything is starting to really come around, not just for me but for the offense itself.”
Burnett’s mound opponent will be 27-year-old Lance Lynn (1-2, 3.63 ERA). The right-hander went 1-1 with a 1.56 ERA over his first three outings before giving up six runs and 10 hits in five innings of Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Lynn has made just one start at home, where he was excellent down the stretch last season going 7-3 with a 1.83 ERA over his last 13 regular-season starts.
McCutchen is looking to heat up in the month of May but he is 6-for-38 (.158) with 14 strikeouts lifetime against Lynn.
Lynn has struggled against the Pirates in recent outings. He is 1-3 with a 6.34 ERA in his last seven games against Pittsburgh.
Pirates’ third baseman Josh Harrison was rested on Wednesday, but he should be back in the leadoff spot. Harrison batted just .213/.250/.363 with 16 strikeouts and two walks in April.
However, he has had success against Lynn in his career. The third baseman is batting .438 with one home run off the right-hander in 16 at-bats.
Liriano struggled with his command in his last start against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. The left-hander walked six batters but managed to get out of some jams. Liriano fanned seven and surrendered just two hits over 6.1 innings.
The veteran pitcher has been solid against St. Louis in recent years. He is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 50 innings.
Lackey threw his second quality start of the season on Monday. The veteran right-hander went seven innings against the Phillies. He has been burned by big innings in recent outings. Eight of Lackey’s runs he allowed in the past two starts were in the span of two innings.
Pirates’ first baseman Pedro Alvarez has had a brief career against Lackey, but Alvarez is hitting .667 with one home run in three ABs. Catcher Francisco Cervelli is batting .500 with one home run against the veteran pitcher in five ABs.
A two-out walk led to a three-run inning that ruined Worley’s last outing against the Cubs on Monday. The right-hander scattered nine hits but only walked the one batter in the loss.
Wacha was knocked around for four runs in his last start but managed to get his fourth win of the season. The 23-year-old has been solid in his brief career against Pittsburgh. Wacha is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 14 strike outs spanning 14 innings.
Pirates’ shortstop Jordy Mercer is hitting .500 against the right-hander Wacha. McCutchen is hitting .333 in six at-bats and Neil Walker bats a .286 clip in seven appearances against the young Cardinals’ starter.
Friday’s game is slated for an 8:05 p.m. start time in the Eastern Time zone and Saturday and Sunday’s games will start at 2:15 p.m.
Follow Shanna Rose on Twitter.
As we near the end of the first month of the minor league season, players are getting into the swing of the season and there are players who have already changed teams. Today, we are going to look at the top 10 prospects according to Baseball America and see how they have done to start the season with comments for the five of the top 20 prospects.
1. Kris Bryant, third base, Chicago Cubs
Stats: .318/.455/.409, 44 at-bats, 14 hits, 10 runs batted in, 10 walks
2. Byron Buxton, center fielder, Minnesota Twins
Team: Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts
Stats: .221/.312/.353, 68 AB, 15 hits, two home runs, 8 RBI, five stolen bases
3. Addison Russell, shortstop, Chicago Cubs
Stats: .179/.207/.286, 44 AB, 14 hits, HR, nine RBI, four doubles
4. Carlos Correa, SS Houston Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks
Stats: .387/.452/.760, 75 AB, 29 hits, five HR, 22 RBI, four SB
5. Corey Seager, SS Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa Drillers
Stats: .372/.398/.641, 78 AB, 29 hits, four HR, 14 RBI, seven 2B
6. Joey Gallo, 3B Texas Rangers
Team: Double-A Frisco Roughriders
Stats: .333/.364/.571, 21 AB, seven H, four RBI, three 2B
After missing the first few weeks of the season after getting heel surgery, Gallo has started his season off strong in his first five games having made solid contact with three of his seven hits going for extra bases. While Gallo has more strikeouts, eight, than he has hits so far he will need time to get back into the swing of the game after not missing significant time. After striking out in over 30 percent of his at bats while with the Roughriders in his 68 games in 2014 as well as at many levels in his career, Gallo will need to show the continued improvement he made last year to speed up his promotion. While Adrian Beltre is blocking his path right now, the offensive firepower that Gallo can bring will eventually be too much to keep down in the minor leagues.
7. Lucas Giolito, starting pitcher, Washington Nationals
Team: Extended Spring Training
Stats: Giolito has yet to pitch in 2015 but could join a minor league team soon.
8. Joc Pederson, CF Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: .298/.461/.596, 57 AB, 17 hits, four HR, 17 RBI, five 2B
9. Francisco Lindor, SS Cleveland Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus Clippers
Stats: .267/.345/.373, 75 AB, 20 H, HR, eight RBI, six SB
10. Julio Urias, SP Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Double-A Drillers
Stats: Four games started 1-1, 2.18 earned run average, 20.2 innings, 26 strikeouts
11. Noah Syndergaard, SP New York Mets
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas 51s
Stats: three GS, 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 14.2 innings, 16 K
While the Mets have had success from their starting rotation so far this year, Syndergaard has shown improvement from 2014 and proved that he is ready for the majors. While Syndergaard was expected to get the call up at the end of 2014 but struggles throughout the season left him to finish out the season with the 51s. With performances like he had this past week, which you can read about here, will make it difficult to pass him up to replace one of the back-end starters on the staff. Although many scouts believe Syndergaard has frontline stuff, he will join a staff headlined by Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom with the return of Zack Wheeler in 2016 and a promotion of Steven Matz could have one of the best young rotations in the league.
12. Jorge Soler, right fielder, Cubs
Stats: .247/.319/.395, 81 AB, 20 H, two HR, nine RBI, four 2B
Soler has not started the season quite the same was as when he was called up to the majors during the 2014 season. In just 24 games after being called up, Soler hit .292/.330/.573 with five home runs in just 97 at bats. So far in 2015, Soler has played in 20 games and has hit .247/.319/.395 with just two home runs in his first 90 at bats as an everyday player in the Cubs lineup. With the high expectations for the young Cubs this season, Soler will need to be a key part of that and turning around his bat will be his main focus as he has been able to play solid defense so far.
13. Miguel Sano, 3B Twins
Team: Double-A Lookouts
Stats: .150/.292/.333, 60 AB, nine H, three HR, eight RBI,11 BB
14. J.P. Crawford, SS Philadelphia Phillies
Team: High-A Clearwater Threshers
Stats: Has not played in 2015 due to oblique injury
15. Carlos Rodon, SP Chicago White Sox
Team: White Sox
Stats: Two games, 5.40 ERA, 3.1 innings, two K
16. Tyler Glasnow, SP Pittsburgh Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona Curve
Stats: Three GS, 1-0, 1.08 ERA, 16.2 innings, 17 K
Although not chosen until the fifth round, 152nd overall, in the 2011 draft by the Pirates, Glasnow has had success every year highlighted by 23 starts in High-A in 2014 where he finished with a 1.74 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 124.1 innings. It was that success that caused Glasnow to jump 30 spots in the rankings from 46 to 16 this year and be the top prospect in the Pirates system. After the success he has had so far this season, Glasnow is overpowering Double-A batters the way he has done at lower levels of the minors and with more solid starts could result in a promotion to end the season in Triple-A. While the Pirates have a good rotation that has the second best ERA among starting staffs will allow the Pirates to take things slow with Glasnow but a spot may open up if A.J. Burnett doesn’t get a new contract.
18. Daniel Norris, SP Toronto Blue Jays
Team: Blue Jays
Stats: Four GS, 1-1, 4.43 ERA, 20.1 innings, 17 K
19. Kyle Schwarber, C Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee Smokies
Stats: .377/.470/.717, 53 AB, 20 H, four HR, 13 RBI, four 2B
After being drafted fourth overall by the Cubs in the 2014 draft, Schwarber proved himself immediately by hitting .344/.428/.634 in 262 at bats across three levels. He hit 18 home runs and drove in 53 runs. Schwarber has started to catch fire this year, having had a hit in his last eight games and was one of the top minor league performers twice this week. Over the last 10 days, Schwarber has increased his average from .250 to .377 and has had three of his four home runs. At the age of 22, Schwarber is showing he has the ability to hit Double-A pitching and should be getting a chance at Triple-A Iowa Cubs by the end of the season.
20. Alex Jackson, OF SP Seattle Mariners
Team: Clinton LumberKings
Stats: .135/.217/.189, 74 AB, 10 H, nine RBI, four 2B
This year is the 50th anniversary of the first ever Major League Baseball draft. To celebrate the milestone number, we here at OutsidePitchMLB will be looking back every Thursday at some of the more historic and interesting drafts that have taken place over the years as a lead up to the 50th MLB draft from June 8-10.
This week, we’ll climb in the time machine and set it back to 30 years ago (make sure you pack your Born in the U.S.A. album) as we have a look at the 1985 MLB Draft.
No team scouts, drafts, and develops players with the thought that any one player may one day earn induction into the Hall of Fame. Nor do teams approach a draft as a whole expecting that it will likely produce multiple Cooperstown residents. It’s silly and pointless.
That is why hindsight was invented. When we use that hindsight to look back at the 1985 draft, we will see a draft that produced not only All-Star caliber players, but players that are all-time greats. Three players who were selected in this draft have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and two others would be no doubt Hall-of-Famers if not for alleged performance enhancing drug use (there was even a brother of a future Hall-of-Famer that was selected in this draft, which we’ll get to later). It’s appropriate, then, that we begin by looking at the Hall of Fame talents (though not necessarily elected members) selected.
Shortstop Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds (Round 1, fourth overall pick)
The first Barry to be selected in the first round in ’85 turned out to be the first member of this draft class to be inducted in the Hall. Larkin, who just turned 51 on April 28, solidified himself as one of the best hitting shortstops in the game’s history during his career, slashing .295/.371/.444 over 19 seasons (all with the Reds). Larkin was selected to 12 All-Star teams, won nine Silver Slugger awards, and earned three Gold Gloves. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012 on his third attempt. Pretty good pick by the Reds wouldn’t you say?
*Outfielder Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh Pirates (Round 1, sixth overall pick)
The second Barry to be selected should have been the second member of the 1985 draft class to be inducted to Cooperstown, but there have been just a few issues to say the least. We as fans and the media can bash Bonds all day and in countless posts about his suspected steroid use and whether he should be in the Hall. Based on numbers alone, he obviously does belong. He’s the all-time home run and walks leader. He posted an insane OBP of .444 for his career to go along with an on-base-plus-slugging over 1.000. He is a seven-time National League Most Valuable Player award winner and an eight-time Gold Glove winner. Bonds, with or without the influence of performance enhancers, surely was one of the greatest players to put on a baseball uniform. Yet he has never received more than 36.8% of votes from Hall of Fame voters. It’s sad really.
*OF Rafael Palmeiro, Chicago Cubs (Round 1, 22nd overall pick)
If not for his PED use, Palmeiro would also be a first ballot Hall inductee. In 20 seasons with three teams, the lefty compiled 3,020 hits, 569 home runs scored, 1,835 runs batted in, and slashed .288/.371/.515. Surefire Hall of Fame material. However, in August of 2005, Palmeiro was suspended ten games for testing positive for the steroid Stanozolol, thus essentially eliminating his chances to be inducted into Cooperstown (the highest percentage of votes he received in Hall voting was 12.6% in 2012. Yikes).
Pitcher Randy Johnson, Montreal Expos (Round 2, 36th overall pick)
“The Big Unit” did not make his MLB debut until 1988, and even then it wasn’t until 1990 (at age 26) that Johnson’s career took off. The intimidating lefty used an upper-90s fastball and sharp moving slider to strike out 4,875 batters in over 4,100 career innings. A winner of five Cy Young Awards, Johnson’s best seasons arguably came with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he compiled a 118-62 record, 2.83 earned run average, 1.07 walks-plus-hits-per-innings-pitched (WHIP), and 2,077 strike outs in 233 games. He will be officially inducted into the Hall later this summer.
P John Smoltz, Detroit Tigers (Round 22, 574th overall pick)
Baseball experts and historians often name Mike Piazza (62nd round in 1988) as arguably the best late round selection in the draft’s history. If Piazza is number one, then Smoltz has to be in the top three best late round selections.
While his body of work as a starting pitcher alone is impressive, it may arguably be more impressive to make the transition to dominant closer at age 34 after an injury. It couldn’t have been easy to do. In 723 career games (481 starts) for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals, Smoltz won 215 games, saved another 154, and struck out over 3,000 batters in nearly 3,500 innings. No matter how little you might value a win or save, those are highly impressive numbers. He will join Johnson in the Hall of Fame this year.
Other Notable Selections
The first two picks of the draft were hardly busts, as both Surhoff and Clark went on to have long, productive careers.
Surhoff played 19 years in the majors (nine for the Brewers, eight for the Baltimore Orioles, and three for the Braves), compiling 2,326 hits and 1,153 RBI. Though he was drafted as a catcher, Surhoff played all over the field, including third base and left field, which is where he finished his career.
Clark made his MLB debut in April of 1986 and was known for his incredibly consistent bat. The lefty first baseman never hit under .280 in any of his 15 big league seasons, and actually hit under .300 only five times. He also reached base at an above average clip (.384 career OBP). Despite never winning a World Series, the six-time All Star surely couldn’t be blamed for that, as he upped his slash line to .333/.409/.547 in 31 career playoff games.
1B Tino Martinez, Boston Red Sox (Round 3, 75th overall pick; did not sign)
Imagine how history changes if Martinez signs with Boston? Assuming he develops into the player he became, there is little chance he replaces Don Mattingly as the New York Yankees’ first baseman in 1996. Perhaps Mattingly would have come back for one more year. Maybe the Yankees acquire a first baseman such as Fred McGriff or Mark McGwire during the 1995-’96 offseason, like they were rumored to be considering.
We could go on all day about what could have been. What we do know, however, is that Martinez would go on to have an extremely productive career, hitting 339 career home runs, driving in 1,271, and slashing .271/.344/.471. While an above average fielder, Martinez never won a Gold Glove (though he should have won one in 1999 when the aforementioned Palmeiro won despite playing only 28 games at first base that season).
OF David Justice, Atlanta Braves (4th round, 94th overall pick)
Justice put together a solid 14-year big league career, slashing .279/.378/.500 over 5,625 at-bats. The proud owner of 305 career home runs, Justice’s saved his most important home runs for the postseason, where he hit 14 in 112 career games, including this one in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series for the Braves that accounted for the only run of the clinching game.
OF Bo Jackson, California Angels (20th round, 511th overall pick; did not sign)
The Angels knew Bo. However, Bo apparently didn’t want to know the Angels.
This was actually the second time the two-sport star was drafted by a baseball team (selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 1982 draft, but didn’t sign). Jackson also wouldn’t sign with the Angels in ’85. However, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals the following year, and would make his major league debut two months later in September 1986. Known for his highlight throws and prodigious power, Jackson would play eight seasons in The Show (including his final season with the Angels, ironically), making one All-Star team and hitting 141 home runs. Here’s a sample of his incredible arm (I could watch this clip on a loop all day):
(Fun Fact: Today is the first day of the NFL Draft. It seems fitting, then, that today is also the 29th anniversary of Jackson being drafted number one overall by the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)
1B Mark Grace, Chicago Cubs (24th round, 622nd overall pick)
I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel Grace is one of the most underrated first basemen to play the game over the past 30 or so years. He’s very similar to Clark in that way. In an era dominated by powerful first basemen, he wasn’t a prototypical power-hitting first baseman (173 career home runs). However, Grace did produce a slash line of .303/.383/.442, with an on-base-plus-slugging-percentage-plus (OPS+) of 119 and 2,445 career hits. The lefty was also a four-time Gold Glove winner and made three All-Star teams in 16 seasons (13 with the Cubs, 3 with the Arizona Diamondbacks).
Overall, 832 players were selected in the 1985 draft over 39 rounds. The first round was especially heavy on college talent, as 18 of the 28 first round picks were selected out of college. In addition, two future big league managers were selected in Walt Weiss (round 1, 11th overall by the Oakland Athletics) and Don Wakamatsu (round 11, 266th overall by the Reds).
By the way, that brother of a Cooperstown resident who was referenced earlier? That was Chris Gwynn (younger brother of Tony), who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the tenth pick of the first round as an outfielder out of San Diego State University (of course). Gwynn spent ten seasons in the majors, slashing .261/.308/.369 in just over one thousand at-bats.
Follow Rick Funaro on Twitter for more baseball news and notes.
We are nearly four weeks into the Minor League Baseball season and players are either settling in with their team or have already moved to a new level to take on a new challenge. Let’s take a look at some notable performances from yesterday’s games.
A top 10 prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays‘ system, Brent Honeywell built upon his strong 2015 campaign with a six-inning, one-hit performance to pick up his second win of the season. Honeywell struck out seven batters without giving up a walk. Honeywell hasn’t given up a run in his last 12 innings and has improved his earned run average to 0.82 across 22 innings, striking out 29 while issuing just six walks. Honeywell burst onto the Rays’ prospect radar after earning a 1.07 ERA in 33.2 innings in 2014 for the Princeton Rays in the Rookie league. For a system that has already developed pitchers such as David Price, Matt Moore, and Chris Archer, Honeywell will look to be the next in line but could be a few years away from reaching the majors.
Since being selected in the 12th round of the 2012 draft out of high school by the Colorado Rockies, Correlle Prime is playing in his highest level for the High-A Modesto Nuts. Prime had a hit in his fifth straight game but his first multi-hit game since April 18. Prime went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run, driving in two runs and scoring three in the Nuts win over the High Desert Mavericks. Prime continued to show the power he displayed last season when he hit 21 home runs in 127 games by hitting his eighth double and third home run of the season. While Prime remains several years away from the majors with a high risk as a prospect due to the many things that could not break his way, at only 21 years of age he has plenty of time to develop his bat and have success.
As the highest rated prospect for the Houston Astros, shortstop Carlos Correa continued his hot start to the season and is quickly proving his bat may be too advanced for Double-A. Correa reached base in all four at-bats, going 2-for-2 with a double, home run, two walks and drove in a run. On the season, Correa is hitting .400 for the season in his first 70 ABs, with 17 of his 28 hits going for extra bases leading to a .800 slugging percentage and a 1.268 on-base plus slugging percentage. He has so far shown all the potential the Astros saw in him when they drafted him first overall in the 2012 draft. As Correa has aged and has grown into his 20 year old body, he has started to tap into his power potential, turning doubles power he showed in 2013 and 2014 into more home runs while still maintaining a high on-base percentage.
Other Notable Performances:
Phil Ervin, center fielder, Cincinnati Reds: 3-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Aaron Nola, starting pitcher Philadelphia Phillies: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB
Kyle Schwarber, catcher Chicago Cubs: 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Zach Davies, starting pitcher Baltimore Orioles: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
Check out how the top 15 prospects performed last week!
Follow Jim McCormick on Twitter.
Chris Sale would seem to be the chalk play today as the Chicago White Sox, who are fresh off playing their historic game in Baltimore yesterday, travel to play the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have climbed out of the cellar where weighted on-base average is concerned, but they still aren’t that good as they are ranked 26th in that category in the last two weeks.The other pitchers that will be considered tonight should come from the same game as Stephen Strasburg faces the recently roughed up Jacob deGrom. Look for a bounce back game from deGrom, as this is a case of two teams going different ways.
Batter versus pitcher
Josh Donaldson and Devon Travis both carry a .529 wOBA over the past two weeks and subsequently, each have five HRs over that same time period. T.J. House starts for the Cleveland Indians, making the Toronto Blue Jays a very lucrative team to stack tonight.
The Houston Astros‘ Jake Marisnick, Jed Lowrie and Jose Altuve all find themselves ranked in the top 30 over the past two weeks in the wOBA category. The Seattle Mariners have tapped James Paxton and his 6.86 earned run average to start the game against the Astros. If you like late hammers, load up on Houston.
Follow me on Twitter and as always good luck in your games tonight.
The New York Yankees won 10 out of 12 games coming into the finale of a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. It took 13 innings, but the Rays stopped the first-place Yankees.
Scheduled starter Masahiro Tanaka was scratched and placed on the disabled list Tuesday. Michael Pineda was bumped up in the rotation to take the mound for the Yankees. Lefty Drew Smyly made his second start of the season for Tampa Bay. Both starters pitched well but neither factored into the decision.
In the fourth inning, James Loney and Logan Forsythe hit back-to-back singles. Kevin Kiermaier followed with a nine-pitch at-bat. He drove a 3-2 fastball into the right-center gap for a two-run triple. Aside from that one inning, Pineda was lights out, going 5 2/3 innings.
The Bronx Bombers relied on their power bats. Chase Headley homered in the fifth, and Chris Young followed suit in the sixth. The pair of solo shots were half of the four hits Smyly allowed. He also struck out 10 Yankees in his six innings on the mound.
Steve Geltz replaced Smyly on the mound and fanned all five batters he faced. Four other Rays relievers were just as stingy, shutting out the Yankees for the final seven frames.
Yankees’ relievers retired the first 14 Rays batters they faced. The dynamic duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller combined for three perfect innings and five strikeouts. Betances has retired 25 consecutive batters but when he left the game, limped off the field. According to Joe Girardi, the dominant setup man has a blister on a toe that should not be an issue.
The relief corps’ streak ended in the 12th inning. Kiermaier hit a foul pop up to the third base side, but Headley dropped the easy out for the only error of the game. With another life, Kiermaier forced a walk against Chris Martin.
After Steven Souza Jr. walked and advanced to second, Girardi had Chasen Shreve intentionally walk Evan Longoria in the 13th. The move bit the Yankees in the back as Loney followed up with a ground ball to right field. Stephen Drew managed to glove the ball but could not get the throw to home before Souza arrived.
Rodriguez, sitting on 659 home runs, is struggling and Wednesday was one rough game for the designated hitter. A-Rod went hitless in six ABs with four strikeouts and two ground outs. It was his fifth career golden sombrero.
The Yankees are off Thursday as they travel north for a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox. They are now 13-9.
The 12-10 Rays head home to play the Baltimore Orioles, who were supposed to host the series before it was moved.
(Getty Images) Brian McCann, who drove in three of the Yankees’ four runs
The New York Yankees continued their hot streak, winning their fourth straight series after winning the second game of a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2.
The Yankees were led by the top and middle of the order, with Jacoby Ellsbury scoring two of the Yankees four runs and clean-up hitter Brian McCann driving in three of the four. The Yankees got off to a hot start, scoring two runs in the first inning. Ellsbury’s lead-off single to start the Yankees’ night at the plate was quickly turned into a triple by a stolen base and an errant throw by Ray catcher Rene Rivera, which allowed Ellsbury to advance to third. Brett Gardner then hit a groundout to second, which allowed Ellsbury to score to give the Yankees the lead. Mark Teixeira came up next and hit a double to right-center field. A double down the right field line by McCann allowed Teixeira to score, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. The Yankees bats were dormant until the fifth inning, when singles by Ellsbury and Gardner, followed by a stolen base by Gardner gave the Yankees another scoring opportunity. A two-run single by McCann finished off the scoring, driving in Ellsbury and Gardner.
On the rubber for the Yankees was Chase Whitley, who was called up from Double-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Tuesday afternoon for this start. He went five innings, giving up one run on six hits while striking out five. He looked sharp in the clutch early on, being able to get himself out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the second inning.
These two teams will finish the series Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. EDT.
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The Cleveland Indians, who were expected to compete this season, have the worst record in the American League with six wins and 13 losses. The Tribe is saved from having the worst record in the majors by the 4-17 Milwaukee Brewers, a team already ten games behind first place in the National League Central division.
Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, the Brewers had the fewest home runs of any team with nine. Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez both hit their second home run of the season in the game, but both were solo shots.
Aside from the pair of long balls, the Brewers only other hit in the game was an Adam Lind single. Kyle Lohse did not receive enough run support as he gave up three home runs, to Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Marlon Byrd. Lohse pitched seven innings but could not manage to escape his fourth loss of the season, against one victory. The Brewers lost 4-2.
Despite allowing only two runs over eight strong innings, Reds’ starter Johnny Cueto saw his earned run average rise to 1.95. In his first three starts of 2015, Cueto was pinned with two losses and a no-decision. His first win came against the Brewers in his last start, on April 22.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for the Reds to continue his terrific season.
Nobody expected the Brewers to be a great team this season, but it is alarming how poorly they have played. The pitching rotation of Lohse, Matt Garza, Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, and Mike Fiers does not inspire much confidence. Yovani Gallardo is no Nolan Ryan with the Texas Rangers, but trading him left the Brewers without much talent in the arms department.
The team’s 4.89 ERA is the worst in the NL by a wide margin; the second-worst Miami Marlins are far ahead with a collective 4.11 ERA. The Brewers have also allowed a NL-high .273 batting average to opponents. Starting pitching may be the weakest link on the team, but the rotation is by no means the sole culprit to the Brewers’ losing ways.
Some bad luck has gone into the Brewers poor start. 2014 MVP candidate Jonathan Lucroy broke his toe last week and will be out until the end of May. Carlos Gomez and Scooter Gennett are also on the 15-day disabled list, meaning one-third of the Brew Crew’s everyday lineup are substitutes. Gennett’s injury was not even baseball-related; he cut himself in the shower.
Milwaukee is lacking in the hitting department by not getting on base or showing power. The Brewers are among the lead leaders in batter strikeouts and have the second fewest walks. In just eight stolen base attempts, the Brewers have stolen successfully half the time. The team has also committed 19 errors, which has only hampered them even further.
The two bright spots on the club are Lind and Jean Segura. Lind has done a fine job at the plate replacing the awful first base platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay that the Brewers utilized last season. Segura, 24, is having a nice bounce back season after a rough sophomore campaign in 2014.
The last NL team to have four or fewer wins 21 games into the season was the 1997 Chicago Cubs. That Cubs team finished with a record of 68-94, a mark that the Brewers seem hard-pressed to reach.
There are many things wrong with the Brewers but it is clear that the club needs to rebuild. Fortunately, the roster has plenty of players that could interest other teams. 2015 will be rough for the Brewers, but if general manager Doug Melvin does not start getting on the phone, the future will continue to be bleak.