Friday, May 19, 2017

Jose Berrios Dominates Rockies As Twins Win; Javier Baez Grand Slam Boosts Cubs Over Reds

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 18, 2017

American League
Berrios Blanks Rockies

Jose Berrios didn't allow a hit through four innings, going on to blank the Colorado Rockies over 7 2/3 innings in the finale of the four-game series in Minnesota.

The Twins avoided being swept at home with the 2-0 win, thanks to Berrios' savvy mound control and timely hitting which produced single runs in the first and fourth.

Despite holding the Rockies hitless in the opening innings, Berrios actually got himself into a little trouble, plunking Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond in the second. Desmond advanced to second on a balk by Berrios, and took third when the 22-year-old hurler uncorked a wild pitch. However, Berrios escaped the inning by fanning Pat Valaika, one of his 11 strikeout victims on the night.

Berrios (2-0) was called up from AAA Rochester on May 13th after going 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 39 strikeouts with the Red Wings. He dazzled the Indians in his first start, also lasting 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits in a 4-1 win. Thus far, in two starts, Berrios has allowed just four hits and one run over 15 1/3 innings, with 15 strikeouts and two walks. Opposing hitters are batting .082 against the dominating youngster.

Hailing from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the right-hander was taken by the Twins in the first round of the 2012 draft and appears to be ready to become a fixture in the Minnesota rotation.

The win came after the Rockies won game one of the doubleheader, 5-1, leaving both teams where they began the day, in first place in their respective divisions. Minnesota leads the AL Central by one game over Detroit and Cleveland. Colorado holds a two-game edge over the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the NL West.

On Friday, the Twins (20-17) host the Royals in the first of a three-game series; the Rockies (26-16) head to Cincinnati to begin a three-game series with the Reds at 7:10 pm ET.
Baez: Grand Slam

National League

The NL Central is a paradox, with the Milwaukee Brewers in first place by a game over St. Louis and the world champion Chicago Cubs two back. Chicago second baseman, Javier Baez, tried to make some sense of it all when he belted a grand slam in the first inning of the Cubs' runaway 9-5 win over visiting Cincinnati, who ended the day 19-21, four games out.

The Cubs scored five times in the opening frame and were ahead 9-0 before the Reds finally got on the board.

Baez finished 3-for-3 with five RBI, driving in another run with a single in the fifth, later scoring the Cubs' ninth run on a Ben Zobrist single.

The slam was the sixth homer of the season for Baez, who now has 19 RBI on the year, along with a .248 batting average. Last year, Baez was a steady contributor, hitting 14 home runs, driving in 59 runs.

Completing the three-game sweep of the Reds, Chicago welcomes the first-place Brewers to town on Friday for three games, all of which purportedly will start at 2:20 pm ET.

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