It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for a full day of baseball action. Keep it here from the first pitch until the last out for all the day’s news, notes, and scores. 

Saturday’s scores

Phillies stay red hot with come-from-behind win

Outside Boston, there is no hotter team in baseball right now than Gabe Kapler’s Phillies. Philadelphia came back from a modest two-run deficit against the Pirates on Saturday for their 12th win in their last 15 games. The Phillies started the season 1-4. They are now 13-7 with the NL’s second-best run differential at plus-32.

The big hit Saturday? A three-run home run by the incredible Rhys Hoskins, who currently owns the quietest .328/.488/.639 batting line in baseball history. Here’s the video:

Notice Hoskins called for a Philly Special as he rounded the bases. That was his fourth home run of the season. He has 11 extra-base hits, 18 walks, and 18 strikeouts through 20 games so far. What a hitter this guy is.

Aaron Nola starred on the mound Saturday — he struck out nine and allowed two runs in seven innings — and lowered his team’s overall ERA to 3.15, fifth lowest in baseball. The Phillies have scored the seventh-most runs (103) and allowed the seventh-fewest runs (71) in baseball so far in 2018. Pretty good combination.

It’s still way too early to say whether the Phillies are for real and ready to contend in 2018. I know this much: They are a young and exciting team, and veteran additions like Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta have given them more legitimacy. Plus that Hoskins guy is pretty good.

Red Sox try to keep streak alive

The 17-2 Red Sox will enter their game against the A’s riding a majors-best eight-game winning streak. In order to make it nine, Boston will need Chris Sale to edge Sean Manaea in a battle of funky lefties.

Sale has had no problem dispatching all comers so far this season. In four starts, he’s averaged more than seven innings while permitting just three runs and one home run. His current strikeout rate (12.7 per nine) would represent a new career-high, and he’s notched more than six Ks per walk. To think Sale hasn’t yet thrown more than 93 pitches in a start.

Opposing Sale is Manaea. The 26-year-old has been a bright spot in Oakland thus far, as he’s also nearly averaged seven innings per pop. Manaea hasn’t missed as many bats as Sale, but he’s limited walks and hard contact. The A’s have to hope he’ll work at least seven innings for the fourth time this season. That won’t be an easy task given Boston’s good lineup.

Giolito struggles again, ChiSox unable to snap losing streak

Things are not going well for the White Sox right now. They were blown out again by the Astros on Saturday night — they lost 10-0 on Friday and 10-1 on Saturday — one day after finding themselves embroiled in a controversy concerning stolen bases.

Blowout losses happen, especially to rebuilding teams. The bigger concern is right-hander Lucas Giolito, who struggled again Saturday. Struggled is putting it lightly too. Giolito was charged with nine runs in two innings. He walked seven.

Giolito threw 72 pitches — he faced (and walked) two batters in the third inning — and only 31 were strikes. For the season the 23-year-old right-hander has 19 walks and nine strikeouts in 20 innings. He’s also hit an MLB-high four batters and uncorked two wild pitches. Also, his velocity is down quite a bit:

The ChiSox acquired Giolito from the Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade and he is expected to be a big part of their future. A long-term rotation fixture, if not their future ace. Instead, Giolito appears to be in need of major repair work. Something’s wrong here. Physically, mechanically, mentally … something. This is not the start to 2018 he and the White Sox expected after such a strong 2017 cameo (2.38 ERA with 34/12 K/BB in 45 1/3 innings).

Stroman struggles again in Blue Jays loss

Right-hander Marcus Stroman was slowed by a minor shoulder issue in spring training, and he has yet to get into a groove during the regular season. The Yankees blasted Stroman for eight runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings Saturday afternoon. Rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar ended Stroman’s day with a bases-clearing double.

Four starts into the season, Stroman has an 8.55 ERA and a 1.85 WHIP in 20 innings. He’s allowed at least four runs in all four starts so far.

After Saturday’s game the always confident Stroman told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet he will do everything in power to get back on track, and said he’s identified a release point issue:

“That could be why, because when I’m missing I’m down right now – it’s almost like my sinker has too much action,” said Stroman. “First two innings, it was perfect. And then certain innings, I can’t get it to where I need it to get to and I’m not trying to leave it up, so it becomes a pitch that I spike, spike, spike. Then when I get it back in the count, I try to throw one that’s up more – I just can’t find a feel for it. But it’s there, that’s why it’s frustrating. I had it. I’ve just got to figure out why I’m losing it at some points in the game.” 

The Blue Jays had not allowed more than six runs in any game so far this season before the Yankees jumped on Stroman for a seven-run sixth inning Saturday. 

Brinson continues to torment former team

Over the winter the Brewers traded four prospects to the Marlins for outfielder Christian Yelich — they were one of several teams to benefit from Miami’s fire sale — including top outfield prospect Lewis Brinson. Brinson opened the season as the Marlins’ everyday center fielder, and, so far this weekend, he’s doing a number on his former team.

Saturday afternoon Brinson swatted not only his third home run of the season, but his third home run during this four-game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee. He’s been wearing out Miller Park. Here is Saturday’s blast:

Thursday night, in his first career game as a visiting player at Miller Park, Brinson had his first career two-homer game. I suspect the Brewers are very happy with Yelich, but man, I’m sure Brinson feels sooo good sticking it to his former team. It’s only natural to want to show them they made a mistake trading you.

Clevinger twirls two-hit shutout

Even though they’re still waiting for the offense to break out — the Indians came into Saturday with 57 runs scored on the season, third fewest in baseball — the Indians won for the 10th time in 18 games Saturday afternoon. The pitching keeps picking up the bats.

On Saturday, it was Mike Clevinger‘s turn. The right-hander tossed a two-hit shutout against the struggling Orioles for his first career complete game. He struck out three and threw 107 pitches, including a whopping 70 strikes. The defense gave Clevinger some support as well.

The Indians have won seven of their last 10 games despite scoring only 37 runs in those 10 games, nine of which came in one game. Cleveland’s pitching staff allowed only 20 runs in that 10-game stretch. Saturday’s game was the eighth time in 18 games this season that the Indians allowed no fewer than one run.

Reyes picks up first hit of 2018

Jose Reyes is finally in the hit column. Saturday night, after opening the season in an 0-for-20 skid, Reyes singled to left field to give himself a batting average. He went from .000 to .048 with one swing. Here’s video of the hit.

Coming into Saturday, no player in baseball batted more times without a base hit this season than Reyes. Here are the players with the most plate appearances without a hit as of Saturday morning:

  1. Jose Reyes, Mets: 21
  2. Miguel Montero, Nationals: 13
  3. Andrew Romine, Mariners: 13
  4. Ivan Nova, Pirates: 11

The Nationals released Montero a few days ago. Nova is a pitcher. Nola, Zack Greinke, and Sean Newcomb were the only other players with as many as 10 hitless plate appearances on the season. They’re all pitchers.

Reyes is no longer a starter for the Mets — he’s a utility infielder behind Asdrubal Cabrera (second base), Amed Rosario (shortstop), and Todd Frazier (third base) — but still, 20 hitless at-bats is 20 hitless at-bats. You could tell it was starting to bug him.

At long last, Reyes got a hit.

Braves’ Inciarte executes perfect walk-off squeeze bunt

In an era of big swings and big strikeout totals, the squeeze bunt has become a lost art. Saturday night, Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte executed a picture perfect walk-off safety squeeze in a win over the Mets. Look at this gorgeous bunt:

Sac bunts are boring, Squeeze bunts are fun. Inciarte placed that perfectly. Nothing the Mets could do about it.

Saturday’s loss was particularly tough for the Mets, who led 3-0 going into the bottom of the eighth and couldn’t hold the lead. They started the season 11-1 and have suddenly lost five of their last eight games. Mickey Callaway has the first skid of his managerial career.

Quick hits

  • The Yankees are calling up top prospect IF Gleyber Torres on Sunday. Torres, who’s hitting .370/.415/.543 in Triple-A at the early going, is on the very short list of the best prospects in baseball. He’s expected to play second base.
  • The Mets have moved RHP Matt Harvey to the bullpen and he’s not happy about it. He’s 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in four starts and 21 innings this season. The team has not ruled out Harvey reclaiming a rotation spot at some point.
  • White Sox RHP Danny Farquhar is in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage, the team announced. Farquhar collapsed in the dugout Friday night and was rushed to a local hospital.
  • The Cubs placed UTIL Ben Zobrist on the disabled list due to a sore back, the club announced. Zobrist has been dealing with back spasms for about a week. He is expected to return after the minimum 10 days.
  • The Yankees placed RHP Adam Warren on the disabled list and recalled RHP Jonathan Holder, the team announced. Warren has a back strain and will miss more than the minimum 10 days.
  • Orioles LF Trey Mancini is out of Saturday’s lineup, but he did not suffer serious damage to his knee, reports MLB.com. Mancini hurt his knee crashing into the outfield wall Friday night and is day-to-day.
  • Twins OF Byron Buxton took batting practice Saturday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list last week, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Buxton is currently sidelined with severe migraines.
  • RHP Corey Knebel threw off a mound for the first time Saturday, reports MLB.com. The Brewers closer is progressing, but the team is planning to take is slow during his rehab. Knebel is currently out with a hamstring problem.
  • Brewers SS Orlando Arcia is feeling better after rolling his ankle running the bases Friday night, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is out of Saturday’s lineup but is available to pinch-hit.

Live team updates

Source link