Cole Hamels put to rest any talk about fatigue or falling trade stock Saturday when he threw the first no-hitter of his career against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. You wouldn’t think one start could change the perception of a guy who’s been dominant now for over 1,900 major league innings, but this has always been a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of business. Just like any professional sport.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is hearing from sources that there is “momentum building” toward a Hamels trade following Saturday’s historical performance on the north side of Chicago. Rosenthal says teams are no longer asking the Phillies to eat as much money and they’re putting forth better return packages.
Hamels, who’s under contract through 2018 at $23.5 million per season, heads into the week of the July 31 trade deadline with a cool 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings.
The five organizations expressing the most interest in the 31-year-old, per Rosenthal, are the Dodgers, Rangers, Yankees, Giants, and the Cubs team Hamels just no-hit on Saturday.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi, the Cincinnati Reds were just a step or two away from trading ace right-hander Johnny Cueto to the Royals on Saturday evening.
The deal was so close to happening that Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen began warming up for Saturday night’s game against the Rockies in anticipation of Cueto departing immediately for Kansas City. Cueto did end up starting the game and he went eight scoreless innings at Coors Field, the least pitcher-friendly park in the majors. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Cueto was upset that he learned from Lorenzen, instead of the Reds management, that a deal was close. Maybe it added some fuel to his dominant performance.
According to Rosenthal, the trade broke down when one of the players due to be sent from the Royals to the Reds did not check out medically. It figures that the two sides aren’t completely done talking.
Cueto, a 29-year-old impending free agent, boasts a 2.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 120/29 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings this season. He’s also been linked to the Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros.
Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun did everything well on this grab Saturday versus the Rangers …
The jump, the focus, the extension — all beautiful. Calhoun also went 2-for-5 with three RBI at the plate, but the Angels wound up dropping their second straight game to the division-rival Rangers 7-6.
Cole Hamels was the shining star of Saturday’s slate, but there’s a ton of coverage of his feat already posted here. Let’s talk about the Cardinals, who have the best record in Major League Baseball at 63-34, the best run differential in baseball at +108, and the longest current winning streak now at five games.
23-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez was again excellent Saturday at Busch Stadium, hurling eight innings of scoreless ball against the Braves in a 1-0 victory. He narrowly out-dueled former teammate Shelby Miller, who was charged with the game’s only run when Stephen Piscotty hit a go-ahead RBI sac fly off reliever Luis Avilan in the bottom of the eighth. It was Piscotty’s first major league RBI.
St. Louis will try to sweep Atlanta on Sunday afternoon behind 24-year-old righty Michael Wacha.
That rough series in Pittsburgh just before the All-Star break already seems like a distant memory. The Cardinals dropped three of four and their once-massive lead in the National League Central standings had shrunk to 2 1/2 games. As it stands currently, that lead is back up to seven games.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Tigers 5, Red Sox 1
Phillies 5, Cubs 0
Athletics 1, Giants 2
Blue Jays 8, Mariners 6
Orioles 5, Rays 1
Nationals 9, Pirates 3
White Sox 10, Indians 3
Astros 1, Royals 2 (10 innings)
Yankees 8, Twins 5
Dodgers 2, Mets 15
Braves 0, Cardinals 1
Reds 5, Rockies 2
Brewers 0, Diamondbacks 2
Marlins 1, Padres 3
Rangers 7, Angels 6
As noted by John Nagel of Cardinals Farm and Viva El Birdos, St. Louis has promoted its top pitching prospect, 20-year-old right-hander Alex Reyes, from High-A Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield.
Reyes earned the bump to Double-A by posting a 2.26 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 63 2/3 innings this year in the High-A Florida State League. He has some control issues — a 4.6 career BB/9 — but there have been positive strides in that department.
J.J. Cooper of Baseball America wrote this about the fast-rising Reyes in his Midseason Prospect Update …
This is the kind of career progression teams hope to see in a young pitching prospect. Reyes’ stuff still is as spectacular as it was last year—he touched 100 mph this year and has an at-times devastating curveball—and he knows how to use it. His 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings ranks first among minor league starters.
Reyes could be in the mix for a rotation spot in St. Louis by the early part of 2016. It’s a rich-getting-richer situation for the Cardinals, who carry the best team ERA in the major leagues this season at 2.68.