No one knew quite what to expect from Brian Wilson when the Dodgers signed him to a minor-league deal in late July. He’d missed nearly one-and-a-half seasons since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery and some reports questioned how much his raw stuff had returned.
It turns out, he’s been pretty damn good. Wilson got a call-up to the Dodgers in mid-August and has appeared in 15 games, throwing 11.1 innings with a 0.79 ERA and 10/3 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .211 batting average and zero homers. He’s also stranded 10 of 11 inherited runners. And while his velocity hasn’t quite returned to pre-surgery levels Wilson has averaged 92.9 miles per hour with his fastball.
Wilson is still just 31 years old and with free agency around the corner he’s put himself in line for a nice payday and possibly another closing gig next season.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.