Wednesday brings us a full 15-game slate of MLB action, including several afternoon contests. Here is everything you need to know about Wednesday’s MLB action.

Wednesday’s scores

Arrieta shines in big Phils’ win

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler knew going in that Wednesday night’s rubber match between two upstart NL East contenders would be a big one … 

Lucky for him, he had ace Jake Arrieta on the mound, and Arrieta did this to perhaps the NL’s best offense … 

On the season, Arrieta now boasts a 2.45 ERA and 56.3 percent ground-ball rate in 51 1/3 innings. They signed him to be a veteran stabilizer at the front of the rotation, and that’s just what the 32-year-old right-hander has been thus far. 

Also in this one, Seranthony Dominguez pitched out of an inherited jam in the seventh (the rookie has yet to allow a run in eight appearances this season), and Carlos Santana scratched out a pair of hits. All of that brings us to the highly compelling current NL East standings … 

Atlanta 29 19 .604 246 186 60 11-9 18-10 20-11 5-4 2-4 6-4 L 1
Philadelphia 28 19 .596 ½ 214 174 40 18-7 10-12 10-15 9-2 5-2 6-4 W 1
Washington 26 22 .542 3 209 176 33 12-14 14-8 7-8 7-0 12-14 6-4 L 1
N.Y. Mets 24 21 .533 182 194 -12 12-13 12-8 12-10 6-6 5-4 6-4 L 2
Miami 19 30 .388 10½ 167 252 -85 10-15 9-15 7-12 5-12 6-3 5-5 W 2

We’ve talked a lot about the early strength of the NL Central thus far in 2018, but don’t sleep on the East, which boasts four winning teams and four teams within hailing distance of the division lead. 

D-Backs’ skid continues

My goodness, the Diamondbacks are going down in flames. The D-Backs lost for the 13th time in their last 14 games Wednesday afternoon, dropping them 25-24 on the season. Remember, they were 21-8 at one point earlier this year.

The D-Backs have been outscored 61-26 during this 1-13 stretch — yes, they’ve scored 26 runs in their last 14 games — and their six-game lead in the NL West has turned into a one-game deficit. Things started out well Wednesday, with Paul Goldschmidt and John Ryan Murphy hitting second-inning homers.

It was all downhill from there. The wheels came off in the fourth inning. The Brewers scored seven runs in the inning, including three on Travis Shaw’s go-ahead home run.

Righty Zack Godley wore it Wednesday, allowing eight runs in less than four innings of work. He’s allowed at least four runs in three of his last starts.

As poorly as Godley pitched, the offense remains the biggest problem for Arizona. The D-Backs scored no more than two runs for the 11th time during this 1-13 stretch Wednesday afternoon, and up and down the lineup players are not hitting. Goldschmidt, Ketel Marte, Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed … none of them are hitting. Consider:

The Brewers, meanwhile, won for the sixth time in the last seven games to improve to 31-19. They’ve opened up a nice little three-game lead in the NL Central.

Plutko shuts down Cubs

Adam Plutko entered Wednesday night having made one big-league start. In his second, he held the Cubs without a hit for the first five innings.

Plutko, who seems to be a permanent part of the Cleveland rotation now that Josh Tomlin has been relegated to the bullpen, is far from the most impressive specimen. Yet he stymied the Cubs behind a steady barrage of low-90s fastballs. Plutko threw his heater 54 times on 85 pitches, never topping higher than 93.3 mph. He generated just five whiffs in all, with two coming on his slider.

Nonetheless, Plutko finished the night having permitted two hits and four walks but — most importantly from Cleveland’s perspective — zero runs. Cleveland will take it.

Mets blow lead, series versus Marlins

Here’s all you need to know about the Mets-Marlins game on Wednesday night:

  • Jacob deGrom threw seven shutout innings, striking out eight on 109 pitches.
  • The Mets entered the top of the ninth up 1-0.
  • The Mets lost 2-1 because closer Jeurys Familia allowed four hits, two runs, and a walk, giving him his fourth blown save of the year.

The Mets are now 24-21 on the season after dropping two of three games at home against the Marlins. Ouch.

Verlander on pace for history

Astros ace Justin Verlander pretty well suffocated the Giants on Wednesday. Here’s his day at the office … 

The lone run he allowed came on a Buster Posey sac fly. Considering the Giants came into this one ranking a strong fourth in the NL in OPS, that’s a fairly dominant outing. Yet it speaks multitudes that Verlander went out, allowed but a single run, retired 18 of the 22 batters he faced, and somehow saw his seasonal ERA get worse. 

Yep, Verlander coming into this one had a manifestly absurd ERA of 1.05 after 10 starts. Now his ERA stands at 1.08. Shame on him for falling short of his established standards. 

Read more here about the elite company that Verlander could join in 2018

Perez homers in rare first base start

For the first time since 2013 and only the second time in his career, Salvador Perez started at first base Wednesday afternoon. The Royals wanted to give him a break from catching but also keep his bat in the lineup, and since they’re in St. Louis for an interleague series, the DH spot was unavailable. First base it is.

Naturally, keeping Perez’s bat in the lineup paid off immediately. He went deep in his first at-bat of the afternoon:

Perez played three innings at first base in 2015 and another three innings at first base in 2016 late in blowouts, so he is not completely unfamiliar with the position. He’s certainly more valuable to the Royals behind the plate, however.

As for the Royals’ win in extras, four KC relievers combined for five scoreless innings to do the heavy lifting. Also making an impact was veteran stalwart Alex Gordon. Dig this catch he made in the seventh to rob Francisco Pena of extra bases … 

Gordon at the plate also went 2 for 4 with a run scored. He got off to a rough start in April, but he’s been producing at a nice clip thus far in May. 

On the other side of things, the Cardinals just dropped two of three at home to one of the worst teams in baseball. 

Dozier hits unusual ground-rule double

Bet you haven’t seen this before. Wednesday afternoon Brian Dozier missed a home run by inches and instead had to settle for a ground-rule double that got wedged between two pads in the outfield wall. Check it out:

Make sure you have your speakers or headphones on for that. The sound of the ball getting stuck in the wall ties it all together wonderfully.

Quick hits

  • The Reds placed RHP Raisel Iglesias on the 10-day DL with a strained left biceps, the team announced. The good news is the injury is to his non-pitching arm. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined.
  • Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup. The team has not yet announced a reason. Rookie OF Tyler O’Neill took Ozuna’s spot in the starting lineup.
  • The Rays placed RHP Jake Faria on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain, the team announced. He left Tuesday’s start with the injury and could be sidelined several weeks. LHP Vidal Nuno was called up in a corresponding move.
  • Twins RHP Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time as part of his Tommy John surgery rehab, reports MLB.com. Pineda had his surgery last July and is expected back sometime after the All-Star break.
  • Cardinals C Yadier Molina participated in a light workout Tuesday, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He is still several weeks away from returning. Molina has been on the 10-day DL since needing emergency groin surgery earlier this month.
  • The Astros have placed OF Josh Reddick on the 10-day DL with a leg infection, the team announced. He’s expected back after the minimum 10 days. OF Jake Marisnick has been called up in a corresponding move.
  • Athletics LHP Brett Anderson had his left shoulder examined Tuesday, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The team has not yet released an update. Anderson was placed on the 10-day DL over the weekend after leaving his start with the injury.
  • The Yankees optioned RHP Giovanny Gallegos to Triple-A and called up LHP Ryan Bollinger, the team announced. The well-traveled Bollinger has pitched in independent leagues, Australia, and Germany in recent years.

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