Marty Caswell of XX1090 in San Diego tells us that Brad Hawpe will make his first start of the season in right field tonight against the Rockies while Jorge Cantu plays first base. Why does this matter?
Well, it could mean that prospect first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a lot closer to the big leagues than we thought. Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade this past December, is batting .365/.444/.715 with 16 home runs, 63 RBI and a 1.159 OPS over 232 plate appearance with Triple-A Tucson this season. Whether it’s tomorrow, next week or next month, he’s clearly on the fast track.
Hawpe, of course, primarily played right field before signing with the Padres this offseason, but was generally regarded as one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball. If the Padres are moving him back to make room for Rizzo, fine, but if they are doing this just to get Cantu some at-bats at first base, Padres fans aren’t going to be very thrilled.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.