Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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Get used to hearing about Matt Garza a lot around here over the next couple of weeks, as he figures to be the most popular name on the market leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Fortunately for the Cubs, he has been doing his part to bolster his value recently.

While Garza gave up a season-high 10 hits last night, he managed to hold the first-place Cardinals to just two runs in 6 2/3 innings as part of a 6-4 win at Wrigley Field. The 29-year-old right-hander has now won five straight starts and holds a 1.24 ERA over his last six. His ERA is down to 3.17 for the year while he has a fine 62/20 K/BB ratio 71 innings.

Garza is set to become a free agent following the season, so he might be the most obvious candidate to be moved by the end of the month. Teams like the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, Nationals, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Giants have all been mentioned as possible landing spots. There has been some chatter about a potential contract extension, but the competition for his services should net the rebuilding Cubs a top prospect or two.

Your Saturday box scores:

Reds 2, Braves 5

Twins 4, Yankees 1

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3

Nationals 1, Marlins 2 (10 innings)

Astros 3, Rays 4

Rockies 0, Dodgers 1

Royals 3, Indians 5

Mets 2, Pirates 4

Rangers 7, Tigers 1

Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 5

Red Sox 0, Athletics 3

Giants 9, Padres 0

Angels 0, Mariners 6

White Sox 5, Phillies 4 (11 innings); White Sox 1, Phillies 2 (13 innings)

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.