A first place team goes into Midwestern town, gets its butt handed to it and leaves town barely clinging on to its division lead. That describes the Braves’ series against the White Sox, but it also describes the Twins and Brewers pretty well too.
The Twins aren’t quite as bad off as Atlanta — they still technically have a lead in their division — but it’s only by a single precious game following their 5-0 drubbing by the Brew Crew. This one was the Yovani Gallardo show, as he shut out the Twins, notching 12 strikeouts and giving up only five hits in the process. The Brewers got their runs behind twin two-run dingers from Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder in the third inning and a Corey Hart RBI single in the fourth.
The Twins have now lost five of their last seven and have the Tigers and the surging White Sox breathing down their necks.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.