Rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres hogged the spotlight on Friday as he delivered his first major-league home run for the Yankees. The three-run shot came off of a first-pitch curveball from the Indians Josh Tomlin, sailing well over the center field wall to give the Yankees a leg up in the fourth inning.
Torres’ blast snapped a personal homer-less streak of 46 plate appearances this spring. It set off a chain reaction throughout the Yankees’ lineup, too, boosting the team to a 5-0 lead with another solo shot from Aaron Judge (his eighth of 2018) in the fourth and a 461-footer from Gary Sanchez (his ninth) in the fifth.
The Indians eventually pushed back, however, finally catching a break against the bullpen in the eighth inning. Bradley Zimmer cranked his second home run of the season, a 402-foot drive to center field that scored Yan Gomes and Rajai Davis. Jose Ramirez delivered the game-tying knock with a two-run shot off of David Robertson to tie the game 5-5.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.