The battle for the National League Central wages on.
Cincinnati fell to St. Louis in the first game of this important weekend series on Friday night at Great American Ball Park but rallied back to even up the three-game set on Saturday, tagging Cardinals rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons for four runs on one walk and six hits en route to a 4-2 victory.
Jay Bruce hit a solo blast to deep right field in the bottom of the second inning — his 10th home run of the year — then Devin Mesoraco added a solo shot to right-center in the bottom of the fifth. The Reds tacked on two more runs in the sixth and Aroldis Chapman earned his 16th save in his ninth (with the help of an iffy final-out call at first base).
The Reds — along with the Pirates — are three games back of the Cardinals in the division standings. The Reds and Cards will wrap up their series this evening on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Angels 9, Red Sox 5 (Game 1)
Rangers 3, Blue Jays 4 (18 innings)
Marlins 2, Mets 1 (20 innings)
Pirates 6, Cubs 2
Twins 4, Nationals 3 (11 innings)
Indians 4, Tigers 6
Athletics 1, White Sox 4
Yankees 3, Mariners 1
Orioles 0, Rays 8
Astros 2, Royals 7
Phillies 3, Brewers 4
Cardinals 2, Reds 4
Padres 4, Rockies 2
Angels 2, Red Sox 7 (Game 2)
Braves 2, Dodgers 1
Giants 10, Diamondbacks 5
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.