Baseball’s top team is having a blast in Philadelphia.
Randal Grichuk homered twice and John Lackey hurled seven innings of one-run ball as the Cardinals routed the Phillies on Saturday for the second night in a row. Friday’s score was 12-4. Saturday’s was 10-1.
St. Louis boasts the very best run differential in MLB at +84 and the best record at 45-23. Philadelphia has the worst run differential (by a wide margin) at -129 and Sunday’s matchup of Michael Wacha vs. Adam Morgan doesn’t bode well for a quick bounceback.
With the Pirates getting no-hit Saturday by Max Scherzer and the Nationals, the Cardinals’ lead in the National League Central is back up to six games.
If the Cardinals play .500 ball the rest of the way, they will still finish the season with 92 wins. Hack that. Or something.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Orioles 5, Blue Jays 3
Rangers 2, White Sox 3
Cubs 4, Twins 1 (10 innings)
Angels 1, Athletics 4
Pirates 0, Nationals 6
Brewers 1, Rockies 5
Cardinals 10, Phillies 1
Rays 4, Indians 1
Red Sox 4, Royals 7
Mets 4, Braves 6
Marlins 5, Reds 0
Tigers 3, Yankees 14
Giants 6, Dodgers 2
Astros 3, Mariners 6
Padres 8, Diamondbacks 1
The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.
Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.
It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.
Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.