The Mets are playing out the string at this point, but at least they’re keeping things interesting.
Matt Harvey limited the Reds to one run in 7 2/3 innings and struck out eight in the Mets’ 8-4 win on Thursday. He also had a two-run double off Homer Bailey in the contest.
Frank Francisco put a seemingly finished game into doubt in the ninth for the second time this week. On Sunday, he allowed two walks and a double to the only three Braves he faced. He entered with the bases loaded, so the end result was four runs scored in a game the Mets held on to win 6-5.
Tonight, Francisco entered an 8-1 game after gave up three runs before Jon Rauch again bailed him out. Thanks to Francisco, Rauch has picked up a pair of one-out saves this week.
Francisco also engaged in some odd behavior after the game, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa:
Anyway, back to Harvey. He had a remarkable seventh inning tonight, throwing just five pitches in the frame, yet giving up two hits and a run. Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Xavier Paul all put the first pitch into play, with Phillips and Bruce coming away with doubles. The other three batters made outs.
Finally given ample run support for the first time in five major league starts, Harvey improved to 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA. He’s up to 34 strikeouts in 30 innings.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.