Adam Wainwright was outstanding yet again last night, notching 12 strikeouts while pitching eight shutout innings. He allowed just five hits and a walk. All five hits were singles.
Wainwright is now 8-2 on the season with a 1.67 ERA and 77 strikeouts to 16 walks in 81 innings. He turns 33 in August and simply looks better than he ever has. Which is saying a lot given that he has been so fantastic for so long.
I was about to say that he was the clear favorite to be the NL Cy Young Award winner so far — and he may be — but to get there I took a gander at the NL pitching leaders and it’s hard to get one’s mind around how many great years dudes are having. Between Wainwright, Samardzija, Greinke, Cueto, Teheran, Tim Hudson, Wily Peralta and many more, it’s been almost silly. Wainwright may be the best pitcher among them so maybe he’s the favorite among them all to make his great first two months carry over for the rest of the season.
But I gotta be honest and say that, selfishly, I want to see Jeff Samardzija dominate and continue to get no run support so that he’s 0-14 but leads the NL in almost every pitching category so as to set up a final apocalyptic showdown between the folks that like pitcher wins and the folks who don’t. It would make Trout/Cabrera look like tiddlywinks.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.