The Braves shook up their roster a bit today by designating utilityman Emilio Bonafacio for assignment and optioning infielder Jace Peterson and right hander Matt Wisler to Triple-A. To fill their spots on the 25-man they called up infielder Johan Camargo and activated lefty Eric O’Flaherty and third baseman Adonis Garcia from the DL.
The Garcia/O’Flaherty moves were expected. The Bonifacio DFA was somewhat surprising given that the Braves have put up with low production from him for some time. Indeed, he seemed like one of those guys teams just keep around despite their offensive futility due to their defensive flexibility. Thing is, defensive versatility is not the same as defensive proficiency and no teams are likely to put up with the .171/.210/.211 line Bonifacio has sported for the Braves over the last two seasons.
As for Garcia: his being called up while his replacement at third, Rio Ruiz, remains with the team is somewhat interesting. Ruiz is not a good defender but he’s younger than Garcia and it would seem that the Braves just want to get a longer look at him in the bigs. The lefty Ruiz and righty Garcia will likely split time in a platoon going forward.
Giants 6, Mets 5: The Mets had a 3-1 lead after four innings and took a 3-2 lead into the top of the ninth when they called on closer Jeruys Familia. A walk and then a Wilmer Flores error put two on, followed by a Hunter Pence RBI single, another walk to load the bases, and a Christian Arroyo double that plated three to make it 6-3. The Mets scored two in the bottom half but the Giants bullpen, for once, merely bent but did not break.
Astros 4, Braves 2: Houston scored three runs in the fifth, two on a Carlos Correa double and the Correa came around to score on a single from Yuli Gurriel. All this with two outs. Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia hit solo homers in a losing cause but, ick, it’s been a slog for the Braves lately.
Rockies 3, Cubs 0: Rockies starter German Marquez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Kris Bryant broke it up, but Marquez ended up tossing eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits. He was helped by some fantastic D from Carlos Gonzalez. He was also helped by . . . German Marquez, who drove in two runs with a seventh inning single.
Athletics 3, Angels 1: Andrew Triggs got the start for the A’s. He walked the game’s leadoff hitter. Then he walked the second hitter. Then he walked the bases loaded. Not a great way to start things out. He somehow escaped that with only one run scoring and then he somehow went the next five innings walking no one else, allowing only three hits and surrendering no more runs. Baseball is a funny game. Chad Pinder hit a two-run homer for Oakland.
Cardinals 7, Marlins 5: The Marlins scored four runs in the first inning but lost anyway. The Marlins had a four-run lead over the Cardinals the night before too, and lost that one as well. On Tuesday, Dexter Fowler was the hero, singling in the winning run with a pinch hit single. Yesterday Dexter Fowler hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead triple in the sixth. Dramatic video:
Nationals 7, Orioles 6: Can’t anyone hold a dang lead anymore? The O’s blew one too, this a 5-1 lead in the fifth. The capper came on a Matt Wieters two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning which gave Washington a walkoff win over their local rivals. The three-run rally in the ninth came against O’s acting-closer Brad Brach, who gave up a homer to Jayson Werth and a double to Bryce Harper before ex-Oriole Wieters did his thing. Miss U Zach Britton.
Blue Jays 8, Indians 7: Guess what? Cleveland had a four-run lead here and lost it. Toronto got those four runs back in the third and fourth innings and it was tied for a long time, but Ryan Goins singled home the winning run in the ninth inning for the walkoff win. I guess the worst thing in baseball these days is to have a four-run lead.
Rays 12, Royals 1: Chris Archer pitched eight shutout innings and Logan Morrison, Rickie Weeks Jr., and Colby Rasmus homered for the Rays. Things got chippy late, however, as Archer hit Sal Perez on the elbow. Perez took offense. After the game, there were two different stories about it, with Perez thinking Archer was throwing at him and Archer denying it. Perez:
“Yeah, of course he threw at me. He’s going to throw at me because I had two hits against him,” Perez said. “I think he was mad. I don’t think that’s the right way.”
“Honestly there was nothing malicious there,” Archer said. “I’ve had some great interactions with him the past. He’s a good hitter; I’m trying to pitch inside. There was no malicious intent with 96 mph.”
Who knows. All I do know is that “there was no malicious intent with 96 mph” line is a head-scratcher. Most of the time you hear guys say that a breaking ball that hits a dude was proof that it was not intended, because who hits a guy with a breaking ball? When they try to plant on one someone, it’s a heater because it’s easier to control where that goes. Like I said: I dunno.
Rangers 4, Padres 3: Texas scored four runs. Of those, one came on a wild pitch, one scored on a balk and one scored on a fielder’s choice + a throwing error. Who needs hits? Being a Padres fan is hard, I suppose, but at least they have good weather.
Brewers 7, Red Sox 4: Milwaukee did all their damage without homers. They rattled off 13 hits, though, and scored two runs on throwing errors by Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. Boston starter Kyle Kendrick allowed six runs and 10 hits in less than five innings. His ERA is now 12.96. Wondering if that “long look” John Farrell said he was gonna take at Kendrick in the rotation is gonna get shorter now.
Diamondbacks 7, Tigers 1: Zack Godley got called up from Triple-A and allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings. He was backed up by homers from Nick Ahmed, Yasmany Tomas and Brandon Drury. The game was at least moderately close until the seventh inning when the “Anibal Sanchez: relief pitcher” experiment got its latest look. Sanchez coughed up two of those homers and three runs in an inning of work. That has been an utter disaster over the past two seasons.
Dodgers 5, Pirates 2: The sweep. On a day when the Dodgers found out they’ve lost left fielder Andrew Toles for the rest of the year, they witnessed his replacement, Cody Bellinger, homer and made a nice tumbling catch in left. Sucks for Toles who had been one of L.A’s few positive offensive contributors on the young season, but I think they’ll be OK with the kid. Meanwhile, Kenta Maeda pitched shutout ball into the ninth before running out of gas and surrendering two. Grant Dayton bailed him out.
Twins vs. White Sox — POSTPONED:
Seven lonely days
And a dozen towns ago
I reached out one night and you were gone
Don’t know why you’d run
What you’re running to or from
All I know is I want to bring you home
So I’m walking in the rain
Thumbing for a ride
On this lonely Kentucky back road
I’ve loved you much too long
My love’s too strong
To let you go, never knowing
What went wrong
Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead’s another town that I’ll go walking through.
Friday’s weekend series kicked off with Gift Ngoepe’s first major league start, Mike Trout‘s important anniversary and an informal home run derby between the Yankees and Orioles. Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:
Yankees 14, Orioles 11 (10 innings): Manny Machado may have hit 2017’s longest home run on Friday night, but he was forced to share the spotlight as the Orioles and Yankees combined for eight home runs in their 10-inning slug-fest. In the end, the only home run that mattered was the last one of the night: a walk-off, three-run 411-footer by Matt Holliday to clinch the Yankees’ first win of the series.
Mets 7, Nationals 5: In a battle of elite arms, the Mets took the lead with Jacob deGrom‘s 12-strikeout performance. Max Scherzer struck out seven over six innings, but a couple of timely knocks from Travis d'Arnaud in the second and fourth innings unraveled the Mets’ flimsy one-run lead and eventually, their hold on the game altogether.
Rays 7, Blue Jays 4: Home runs are swell, as are late-game comebacks and solid pitching performances, but it’s not every day that you get a full highlight reel’s worth of plays from Steven Souza Jr.:
Red Sox 5, Cubs 4: Visiting Cubs fans monopolized a good section of Fenway Park on Friday, and the Cubs played nearly as well as if they were playing against the ivy backdrop of Wrigley Field. Although the Sox jumped out to an early five-run lead in the first inning, the Cubs worked a four-run comeback and put the game-tying run on second base when Ben Zobrist lined a double in the ninth inning. That’s as far as they got, however, leaving Zobrist stranded to drop their second consecutive loss of the week.
White Sox 7, Tigers 3: The White Sox extended their win streak to five consecutive games on Friday, clinching first place in the AL Central after a shutdown performance from the bullpen and a late-game comeback spearheaded by Geovany Soto and Tim Anderson. Tigers’ third baseman Nicholas Castellanos helped, too, committing three errors in the sixth and eighth innings to facilitate the White Sox’ rally and cement their 12th win of the year.
Pirates 12, Marlins 2: If you haven’t gotten up to speed on Gift Ngoepe’s intriguing path to the major leagues, do yourself a favor and peruse this excellent 2009 profile by Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith. Ngoepe was promoted to the bigs last Wednesday and has already garnered some attention for hitting a single in his first career at-bat. He was no less impressive on Friday, going 3-for-3 with two base hits, two walks and an opposite-field triple that just cleared Giancarlo Stanton‘s head at the wall.
Mariners 3, Indians 1: The Mariners may be short one Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz, but they looked more than capable of taking on the Indians during Friday’s series opener. Robinson Cano and Ben Gamel combined for a three-run lead on two home runs and Ariel Miranda allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings, effectively stifling several rally attempts by the Indians and clinching his second win of the year.
Angels 6, Rangers 3: It’s been five years since Mike Trout received his permanent call-up from the minors, and he celebrated in true Mike Trout fashion, engineering an impressive catch on the warning track and collecting a two-run homer against Rangers’ right-hander Nick Martinez:
Braves 10, Brewers 8: Don’t look now, but the Braves are no longer in last place. They relinquished their spot at the bottom of the NL East on Friday, scooting half a game above the Mets after they mounted a six-run rally in the last few innings of a 10-8 win over the Brewers. That’s thanks in large part to their bullpen, which stifled Milwaukee’s comeback attempts with four scoreless frames, giving Ender Inciarte and Adonis Garcia just enough time to clear the bases in the seventh inning and take the lead on Kurt Suzuki’s RBI single in the eighth.
Astros 9, Athletics 4: Consistency isn’t exactly what Charlie Morton is known for, and Friday’s outing was no exception. The veteran right-hander got off to a rocky start in the first inning, putting runners on first and second and watching Khris Davis unleash a three-run bomb for an early lead. While Morton eventually settled down to strike out a career-high 12 batters, Davis still had the righty’s number, and took him deep a second time for the Astros’ fourth and final run of the night.
Cardinals 7, Reds 5: Reason #7 why you should never sleep on the job:
Twins 6, Royals 4: It looked like the Royals finally caught a break on Friday. They built a modest three-run lead early in the game and were able to keep their heads above water even after Miguel Sano brought the Twins within a run of tying the game on a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Everything looked hunky-dory for Kansas City until the eighth, when Joakim Soria loaded the bases for Sano, home plate umpire CB Bucknor took a 92 m.p.h. fastball to the face mask, and the Twins jumped out to a two-run lead to secure the Royals’ eighth consecutive loss.
Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 1: Just as we all predicted, neither the Giants nor the Dodgers are anywhere near the top of the NL West this year. The top two spots appear reserved for the Rockies and Diamondbacks, who have traded first place several times during the month of April. Colorado reclaimed the division on Friday, spearing their 15th win on a one-run outing by rookie southpaw Kyle Freeland and a handful of hits from Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon.
Dodgers 5, Phillies 3: Kenta Maeda is finally looking like the starter the Dodgers need him to be, and not a moment too soon. The right-hander struck out eight over seven innings, holding the Phillies to five hits and two runs in his second winning effort this season. It’ll still take some time to get that ERA below 6.00, however, and the Dodgers have to dig themselves out of a three-game deficit if they want to reclaim first place in the NL West this spring.
Giants 4, Padres 3: So much for rookie jitters. Christian Arroyo has made a comfortable home in the major leagues, slugging .250/.250/.800 through his first four career games and topping it off with his second home run against the Padres on Friday night.