In late May the Royals stripped Joakim Soria of closing duties after back-to-back blown saves, but he reclaimed the job a week later and has been his usual unhittable self since, throwing 12 scoreless innings with a 12/2 K/BB ratio and .098 opponents’ batting average.
Soria’s season totals are still below his lofty standards, but his ERA went from 6.55 to 4.24 during that 12-inning stretch and he’s also rediscovered his missing velocity. Soria’s average fastball has clocked in at 91.8 miles per hour this month, which is right in line with his 2009/2010 speeds and a sizable improvement over his 90.3 mph in April and May.
Soria gave the Royals a scare, but it looks like he’s back to being one of the elite relievers in baseball. Now the question is whether the last-place Royals will shop him at the trade deadline or keep him around to close out games as the farm system’s incredible collection of young talent flows to Kansas City during the next couple years.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. It’s the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.
Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.
Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.