After barely eeking out a 2-1 win over the Cardinals on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep at home, the Dodgers made a move to address their hitting problems Monday, calling up top prospect Jerry Sands from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Sands, 23, was one of the PCL’s hottest hitters in the early going, having already homered five times. He was batting .400/.422/.875 with just three strikeouts in 10 games. He drove in 17 runs all by himself. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have scored 43 runs in 16 games.
With Sands up, the Dodgers will move away from the Tony Gwynn Jr.-Marcus Thames-Xavier Paul grabbag in left field. Gwynn had been getting most of the playing time, but he was htiting just .256/.293/.359 in 39 at-bats. Thames was doing better, but he’s a liability defensively. Hopefully the club will give him starts at first base against left-handers, as James Loney was awful this spring and is only getting worse. Paul was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Sands.
Sands will be making his major league debut. The 2008 25th-round pick opened last year in low-A ball, but he ended up finishing it at Double-A and hitting 35 homers along the way. He projects as a 25-homer guy for the Dodgers, though he probably won’t hit for strong averages anytime soon. Regardless, it’s the right move for the Dodgers to give him a try. No one else was likely to step up and become an everyday guy for them.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.