With the Dodgers and Angels less than two hours away from first pitch, here’s a few things to consider:
On the bump:
– John Lackey (2-2, 6.10) takes the hill for the Angels. Lackey enjoyed
his best start of the season in his last outing against the Giants,
fanning a season-high 10 while allowing three runs over seven innings.
He’s been shaky since missing the first six weeks of the season due to
inflammation in his pitching elbow, allowing 52 hits in 38 1/3 innings
(.335 BAA). Lefties are batting .422 against him thus far.
– Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 4.13) pitches for the Dodgers. Kershaw
blanked the Athletics over 5 2/3 innings in his last start, but
suffered a no-decision. He is winless in his last three starts, dating
back to May 27. The 21-year-old southpaw has a 70/42 K/BB ratio in 69
2/3 innings pitched this season.
Martin ends drought:
– Russell Martin connected for his first home run of the season in
the 6-4 win on Saturday night. The third-inning blast ended a 217
Figgins red-hot in June:
– Chone Figgins leads the majors with a .403 batting average since May 15.
– The Dodgers are an NL-best 24-16 since Manny Ramirez was suspended.
– Juan Rivera is batting .431/.508/.902 with six homers and nine RBI against left-handers this season
– Jonathan Broxton returned to the mound on Saturday after missing
three games with a sore toe. He allowed his first home run of the
season to Gary Matthews Jr., but still managed to notch his 16th save.
Just saw this from last night’s Tigers-Rangers game. It was pretty wild.
Rougned Odor walked in the seventh inning. He broke for second on a steal and was safe due to the throw going wild, allowing him to reach third base. The Tigers called on reliever Daniel Stumpf and he was effective in retiring the next two batters, leaving Odor on third with two out.
Stumpf, a lefty, was paying no attention whatsoever to Odor, so Odor just took off for home, attempting a straight steal. Stumpf was so surprised that he tried to throw home to nail Odor, and in so doing, he balked. That technically means that Odor scored on the balk, but I think it’s safe to say he would’ve scored on the strait steal regardless. Watch:
He definitely gets points for style.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.
It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.
It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.
Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:
“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”
That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.