UPDATE: It’s official. Nelson will be promoted to the majors to start Saturday while Estrada is headed to the bullpen.
2:17 p.m. ET: Almost one month ago I wrote a post wondering when the Brewers would call up pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A and it sounds like the time has come.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just wrote: “Don’t be surprised if the Brewers call up Jimmy Nelson to start Saturday against St. Louis. That’s all I’ll say for now.”
That’s a well-connected veteran beat reporter trying to be coy rather than fully committing to breaking the news, but it’s pretty safe to say Nelson is on the way to the majors.
For now Marco Estrada is scheduled to start Saturday, but he’s been terrible all season while serving up an NL-high 27 homers in 18 starts. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Nelson has a 1.46 ERA and 114/32 K/BB ratio in 111 innings at Triple-A and has improved his stock dramatically this season by cutting his walks while maintaining an excellent strikeout rate.
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.