Getty Images

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

4 Comments

Clayton Kershaw did Clayton Kershaw things, the Blue Jays were awarded a strange home run and Josh Harrison hit a walk-off home run during Saturday’s slate. Here are the rest of the day’s scores and highlights:

Red Sox 11, Twins 1: Some days, it’s difficult to identify the tipping point that pushes a team toward a loss. Other days, it’s all too easy. Saturday’s loss hinged on a slippery ground ball in the second inning, which missed Jorge Polanco’s glove for the third out and allowed Josh Rutledge to reach on a force attempt. That opened the floodgates for the Red Sox’ offense, which stormed back from a two-out, zero-baserunner situation to an eight-run onslaught, paving the way for their 10-run lead and the win.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays’ 20th loss of the season was largely unremarkable, except for the one play that has yet to receive an official ruling:

According to MLB.com’s Jeff Odom, the play was ruled an inside-the-park home run after replay review, but an official determination has yet to be made by the Elias Sports Bureau, who will take a second look at the home run on Monday.

Indians 3, Royals 1: Of all the ways to break out of a slump, this is one of the best. Carlos Santana snapped an 0-for-14 run with a 412-foot, game-winning solo shot in the ninth inning, followed by a back-to-back blast from Francisco Lindor for the insurance run:

Orioles 6, White Sox 5: The Orioles have had a tough break lately, with Chris Tillman, Wade Miley and Zach Britton all sidelined with various health issues (not to mention Kevin Gausman’s ejection on Thursday). Luckily, lack of rotation depth didn’t matter on Saturday, when Dylan Bundy locked in his fifth win of the year with three runs, six hits and three strikeouts in six innings. Baltimore’s lineup took care of the rest, putting up a cushy five-run lead on a smattering of hits that included home runs from Manny Machado and Trey Mancini and a bases-loaded balk, courtesy of Chicago starter Dylan Covey.

Pirates 2, Brewers 1 (10 innings): If things had gone a different way in the 10th inning, we’d be talking about John Jaso‘s gaffes on the basepaths, about the seven baserunners stranded by the Pirates in the first nine innings, about Gerrit Cole‘s rundown in the sixth inning, squandering a perfectly good bases-loaded opportunity to score the go-ahead run. Instead, the narrative shifted directions in the 10th. Gift Ngoepe led off with a base hit, advancing to second base on a wild pitch and scoring the walk-off run on an RBI single off the bat of Josh Harrison. Simple, right?

Nationals 6, Phillies 2: Dusty Baker thinks that Ryan Zimmerman is beginning to look a lot like Barry Bonds these days. No doubt the comparison comes on the heels of Zimmerman’s hot start to the season. The slugger is batting an unsustainable .435/.475/.907 in 118 PA, including a two-run homer (his 13th of the year) and RBI double during Saturday’s decisive 6-2 win in Philadelphia.

Whether or not that comparison has merit is debatable, but let’s pull the numbers just for fun. Bonds slashed .288/.408/.551 in his first 12 seasons, amassing 374 home runs and a staggering 90.7 fWAR with the Pirates and Giants. Zimmerman, by comparison, carried a .278/.343/.467 batting line, 215 homers and cumulative 35.6 fWAR through his 12th season with the Nationals in 2016 — impressive totals, but not quite the elite marks set by Bonds in years past. Still, there’s no doubt the Nationals’ infielder is onto something special this year, provided he can sustain some of the success he’s already found.

Mets 11, Marlins 3: Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson had just stepped into the broadcast booth to discuss the club’s latest rash of injuries when Asdrubal Cabrera jammed his mitt into the ground, sustaining a left thumb injury that forced his early exit in the third inning. Thankfully, the Mets avoided further setbacks during the remainder of the game, exploiting veteran right-handers Odrisamer Despaigne and Dustin McGowan for an 11-run spread to bring them within seven games of catching the division-leading Nationals.

Reds 14, Giants 2: “Everybody should be upset about what’s going on,” Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy told reporters after the Giants dropped their second double-digit loss of the week. The team lost their series opener by a score of 13-2 on Friday, and their luck was even worse during a 14-2 beatdown on Saturday evening. Starter Ty Blach pitched his way out of the game after three innings, issuing 11 hits, 10 runs and failing to strike out a single batter on 75 pitches.

The Reds, meanwhile, hit their stride in the third inning, battering the strike zone with six runs and scoring on nearly every kind of play imaginable, from an RBI wild pitch to Patrick Kivlehan‘s first home run of the year. Assuming Bochy’s sentiments are shared by the rest of the team, the kind of loss might be enough to light a fire under the Giants during their series finale on Sunday. Given their last-place status in the NL West, though, any drastic turnaround seems unlikely at this point.

Yankees 11, Cubs 6: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon would like to see his starting rotation give the bullpen a break, he told reporters prior to Saturday’s loss. The fifth-best bullpen in the National League has now become one of the most overworked, and it comes as little surprise that Cubs’ starters are averaging fewer than six innings per outing.

Maddon’s complaint preceded yet another snafu when starter Brett Anderson was forced out of Saturday’s appearance after issuing just 23 pitches, citing lower back tightness and leaving Felix Pena, Rob Zastryzny and Miguel Montero to cover the remaining 8 2/3 innings. The task proved too arduous for the ‘pen, who followed Anderson’s five-run inning with another six runs on a Didi Gregorius fielding error and two home runs from Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks.

Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 1: The worst of Tyler Anderson‘s pitching woes appear to be behind him, at least for the time being. The Diamondbacks’ southpaw tossed the first quality start of his sophomore season, striking out 10 of 24 batters and allowing just six hits and one run over six innings.

Dodgers 10, Padres 2: If you showed up to Saturday’s game expecting a Clayton Kershaw gem, five-run ninth inning and Cody Bellinger‘s first career grand slam, well, you were in luck. Kershaw lasted 7 1/3 innings on five hits, a run and nine strikeouts, backed in part by Bellinger’s mammoth slam in the ninth.

The only thing missing from an otherwise-perfect night? The dulcet tones of one Vin Scully.

Athletics 6, Tigers 5: It only took one pitch to unravel the hard work Detroit has put into their bullpen this month. They entered Saturday’s loss with a scoreless streak of 14 1/3 innings, which promptly ended when Francisco Rodriguez served up a first-pitch fastball to Adam Rosales, who took it for a walk-off base hit:

The hit returned the Tigers’ bullpen to the bottom of the league, where they rank 27th among major league teams with an -0.4 fWAR and league-worst 5.87 ERA.

Angels 2, Astros 1: The Angels took the field for their second game without Mike Trout, and… didn’t look too bad, to be perfectly honest. While the reigning MVP was sidelined with another case of hamstring tightness, the rest of Anaheim’s lineup coasted on an eight-inning effort from JC Ramirez, returning in the ninth inning to knock in the game-winning single:

Mariners 8, Rangers 2: It only takes one inning to win a game, particularly if that inning comes with a side of seven runs. The Mariners’ bats erupted in the seventh inning, when they collectively solved the Rangers’ bullpen with five hits, a sac fly and a run-scoring hit by pitch. Seattle starter Chase De Jong, meanwhile, assuaged some of the Mariners’ concerns about the state of their rotation with his first quality start of the year, delivering three strikeouts, four hits and a run over six innings.

Jose Bautista is starting at third base for the first time in over four years

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
1 Comment

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is getting a rare start at third base today. How rare is it? Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae notes that he last started at third base on April 14, 2013 against the Royals.

Bautista has played some third base already this year. On April 27 against the Cardinals, Bautista pinch-hit for third baseman Chris Coghlan and stayed in the game at the position. Last Saturday, Bautista moved from right field to third base as part of a handful of defensive switches. Overall, he’s played four defensive innings at the hot corner this season.

The Blue Jays have had to get creative at third base while Josh Donaldson has dealt with a calf injury. Darwin Barney and Chris Coghlan have drawn most of the starts at third base, but catcher Russell Martin started there on Sunday and tonight we’ll see Bautista there.

Braves’ bullpen hasn’t allowed a hit to last 54 batters, setting franchise record

Eric Espada/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Braves announced on Tuesday, citing Elias Sports, that the bullpen set a franchise record, preventing the last 54 batters faced from getting a hit.

The last reliever to allow a hit was Josh Collmenter to the first batter he faced against the Blue Jays last Thursday. Since then, the bullpen has logged 15 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings with a 10/4 K/BB ratio. Here are the logs since Collmenter gave up that hit.

Date Opp. Pitcher BF IP H R ER BB SO
May 18 vs. TOR Josh Collmenter 7 2.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 18 vs. TOR Ian Krol 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 19 vs. WAS Jason Motte 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 19 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Ian Krol 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Jason Motte 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 21 vs. WAS Luke Jackson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jason Motte 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 22 vs. PIT Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 22 vs. PIT Arodys Vizcaino 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jim Johnson 4 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 54 15.1 0 0 0 4 10

Despite the hot streak lately, the Braves’ bullpen still ranks in the middle of the pack in ERA at 4.07. Its 21.3 percent strikeout rate ranks 18th out of 30 teams and its 8.6 percent walk rate is ninth.