Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pirates' Nick Kingham Nearly Perfect In Debut Win Over St. Louis; Ryan Healy's 2 HRs Lead Seattle Over Cleveland, 10-4

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 29, 2018

American League

Healy is heating up
Winning their second straight, the Seattle Mariners took three of four in Cleveland with a 10-4 win the in series finale Sunday.

Cleveland might have kept the game closer if they had only been able to get out leadoff hitter Dee Gordon and the guy in the nine hole, first baseman Ryon Healy.

Gordon Lashed four singles, drove in a Healy with a run and scored another, while Healy doubled and homered twice, driving in four runs and scoring three to lead the Mariners' offense.

Activated off the DL just four days ago, Healy has hit safely in all four of his starts, and has homered in the last two, with six RBI.

Healy got things going in Seattle's second, driving in a run with his two-bagger and scoring on Gordon's single. His solo shot in the sixth put Seattle up, 6-4, and his two-run belt in the eighth put the game away.

The win left the Mariners tied with the Angels - who play the late Sunday game against the Yankees - two games back of Houston, in second place in the LA West.

The Mariners get a day off Monday as they return home to host a series with the A's, beginning Tuesday.

National League

Kingham: Impressive debut
Pittsburgh's Nick Kingham made his major league debut a memorable one, accomplishing a feat only one other pitcher in the past 100 years had done.

Kingham carried a perfect game into the seventh inning to lead the Pirates to a 5-0 home win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He joined Johnny Cueto in 2008 as the only pitchers in the past 100 years with one hit allowed, at least nine strikeouts and no walks in an MLB pitching debut.

Paul DeJong ended Kingham's bid at absolute baseball immortality when he singled with two outs in the seventh. Getting Marcel Ozuna on a groundout to third finished the inning and Kingham's first assault on major league hitters.

A week ago, Kingham was throwing in AAA for Indianapolis, where he had put together a 2-1 record with a 1.59 ERA in four starts, but the Pirates thought it was time to bring him up to the big club.

They were right. Kingham fanned seven and didn't walk a batter, throwing 72 of 98 pitches for strikes.

The Pirates maintained their slim lead in the contentious NL Central, holding off the Cubs by 1/2 game. St. Louis and Milwaukee are a joint 1 1/2 off the lead.

The Pirates head out of town, to Washington, opening a series with the Nationals at 7:05 pm EDT on Monday.

Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. Blanks A's Over 7 Innings; Chase Utley's 3 Doubles Lead Dodgers Past Giants

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 28, 2018

American League

McCullers Jr.: 7IP, 2H 0ER
Obviously, the Houston Astros are one of the best hitting teams in the majors - their combined batting average of .258 is fifth in the AL - but it's their pitching that makes them a serious consideration for a second straight trip to the World Series.

Houston's 2.54 team ERA is easily the best in the league. It's more than a full run better than all but two teams, Boston (3.25) and Cleveland (3.28).

One reason why Houston is so dominant - other than Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel - is Lance McCullers Jr., who improved to 4-1 with seven innings of shutout ball in the Astros' 11-0 laugher over the visiting Oakland A's.

McCullers took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning. As it turned out, those were the only hits the A's would get off McCullers, who induced a double play and a fly ball out to escape the threat. Completing his stint by putting down the A's in order in the seventh, McCullers threw exactly 100 pitches, striking out seven without issuing a walk.

With the Angels losing to the Yankees, 11-1, Houston's lead in the AL West division increased to 1 1/2 games.

The win evened the series at a game apiece, with the rubber game scheduled for Sunday, 2:10 pm EDT.

National League

Utley: 4-5, 32B, 4R, 2RBI
Traded to the Dodgers from the Phillies mid-2015, 39-year-old Chase Utley has been playing in the majors since 2003. Proving he still has what it takes, Utely ripped three doubles and a single in five at-bats in LA's 15-6 romp at San Francisco in the first game of their Saturday double-header.

The Dodgers collected 20 hits overall, scoring early and often, building an 8-2 lead by the third inning. Utley walked and scored in the first, doubled and scored in the second, doubled in a run and scored in the third, doubled in another run in the sixth inning, and singled and scored in the eighth.

San Francisco came back to take the nightcap, 8-3, maintaining their 1/2-game edge over the Dodgers in the struggle that is the NL West.

Arizona has thus far been the best in the division, leading Colorado by five games. The Giants are 6 1/2 out, the Dodgers, seven back. It being still April, the Diamondbacks' big lead means little, and both the Giants and Dodgers will be looking to get a little closer when they finish their series on Sunday, at 2:05 pm PDT.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Matt Davidson Delivers Again For White Sox With 2 HRs; Odubel Herrera Socks A Pair As Phillies Top Braves

Players of the Day for Friday, April 27, 2018
Davidson: 2HR, 3RBI

American League

Matt Davidson was at it again, blasting a pair of home runs - including a two-run belt which plated the go-ahead runs in the 11th inning - as the White Sox took their second straight at Kansas City, 7-4.

The second-year slugger launched a 440-foot bases-empty bomb in the fourth inning, putting the Sox up, 3-2, and capped off the night with the game-winner.

Friday night marked the second straight game in which Davidson has gone yard twice, helping produce back-to-back wins for the White Sox. He's now tied for third in the AL with nine. LA's Mike Trout and Yankee Didi Gregorius lead the league with 10 apiece.

Game three of the series in Kansas City starts Saturday at 2:15 pm EDT.

National League

Prospects for a win didn't look very good for the Phillies after starting pitcher, Aaron Nola gave up three runs to Atlanta in the top of the first inning, but that was before Odubel Herrera got to the plate in the bottom of the frame.

Herrera: 2HR, 4RBI
With two aboard, Herrera unloaded off Atlanta hurler, Julio Teheran, restarting the game with his second home run of the season.

The Phillies, hosting the opener of a three-game series with the Braves, took the lead for good in the sixth, when Herrera socked his second of the game, a solo shot that led to the eventual 7-3 Philadelphia victory.

Herrera is off to an exceptional start to the season, batting .348, good for second in the NL. The youthful Phillies have been the biggest surprise of the season, riding Herrera's hot bat and the overall exuberance of the team and fans to a 16-9 mark, remaining 1/2-game behind the Mets in the NL East after NY topped San Diego, 5-1, later in the evening. The loss dropped the third place Braves 2 1/2 games off the pace.

Game two of the series is slated for a 6:05 pm EDT start.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Ronald Acuna Jr. Goes Yard In Atlanta Win; Matt Davidson Socks A Pair of HRs For White Sox

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 26, 2018

Davidson: 2HR, 3RBI
American League

At 6-16, the White Sox aren't likely to make much of an impact this season, but they have a keeper in Matt Davidson, who cranked out a pair of homers in Chicago's 6-3 win at Kansas City.

Davidson ripped a solo shot in the fourth inning and sent Royals' starter Jacob Junis to the showers with his second blast, a two-run rip that traveled some 450 feet. The first home run was a line shot to the left field corner off a fastball, but Junis didn't fool Davidson with a hanging slider in the sixth. Davidson got full extension and parked it.

The two long balls gave Davidson seven on the season, with 15 RBI. In 2017, his first season in the majors, Davidson had 26 home runs and 68 RBI in 118 games.

The win kept the White Sox out of last place, dropping the Royals 1 1/2 games behind them. The game was just the first of a five-game series in Kansas City, with game two slated for a first pitch at 8:15 pm EDT.

National League

Freddie Freeman laced three doubles in four at-bats, Ozzie Albies socked his eighth home run of the season, and highly-touted rookie, Ronald Acuna Jr., unleashed an upper-deck blast to center and doubled home the go-ahead run as the Atlanta Braves scalped the Cincinnati Reds, 7-4.

Acuna Jr.: 3-4, HR, 2B, 3RBI
Freeman and Albies have been instrumental to Atlanta's success this season. Albies is tied for the league lead in hone runs, and is second - with 10 - in doubles to Freeman's 11. Freeman's .326 batting average is tied for fifth in the NL.

Adding Acuna to the mix is only going to inflict more pain on opposing hitters. With just two games under his belt, Acuna is unproven, but his abilities are hard to deny. Moving from A to AAA last season, the 20-year-old phenom batted a combined .325, socked 21 homers, 31 doubles, drove in 82 runs and swiped 44 bases.

Since his call-up, Acuna is 4-for-9 (.444), including Thursday's 3-for-4, 2RBI effort.

The win gave the Braves a 2-2 split in Cincinnati. At 7:05 pm EDT Friday, the Braves open a series in Philadelphia. The Phillies trail the Mets in the NL East by 1/2-game. Atlanta is 1 1/2 back, so this weekend should lead to some changes in the division standings.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Nicholas Castellanos Leads Tigers Over Pirates, 13-10; Matt Adams Drives In Six As Nationals Crush Giants, 15-2

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Castellanos: 4-5, HR, 4RBI
American League

Francisco Cervelli drove in six runs for the Pirates, but, in Detroit's 13-10 victory at Pittsburgh, the top of the Tiger lineup decimated Pittsburgh pitching, with the first four batters a combined 13-for-23. Miguel Cabrera had three doubles and a single in six at-bats, but Nicholas Castellanos had the most productive outing, going 4-for-5, including a two-out, two-run homer that unknotted a 6-6 tie and put the Tigers in the lead for good.

Castellanos, a proven power hitter with 26 HRs and 101 RBI last season for the Tigers, has cut down his swing a bit in order to limit his strikeouts (142 last season), and it seems to be working, as he's batting .333 (30-for-90) and has fanned only 17 times this year.

The Tigers continue to plug along in the AL Central, chasing the Indians. At 13-9, Cleveland is the only team in the division above .500, at 13-9. The Tigers are in second place after dropping the second game of their double-header against the Pirates, 8-3, three games out with a 10-12 mark.

Detroit will finish out their three-game series in Pittsburgh with game three scheduled for 12:35 pm EDT on Thursday.

National League

Max Scherzer went to the mound for the Nationals in game three of their series at San Francisco, looking to avoid being swept after the Giants won the first two games, 4-2, and 4-3. Scherzer would give Washington a solid outing, meaning that the Nats probably wouldn't need to score many runs.

Adams: 3-5, HR, 6 RBI
Matt Adams made sure they had plenty as the Nationals posted a 15-2 crusher, hammering Giants' starter, Jeff Samardzija and four relievers for 18 hits.

Off to a horribly slow start (37 AB, 2 HR, 4 RBI) after being plucked from the Braves in the off-season, Adams exploded for six RBI, with a single, double and home run in five at-bats.

Getting the Nationals off to a fast start, Adams singled in a run and scored in the first inning as Washington put up three, more than enough for the capable Scherzer, who improved to 5-1, striking out 10.

Adams scocked a three-run homer in the fourth and completed the scoring with a two-run double in the eighth.

Even with the win, the Nationals find themselves still looking up at NL East rivals. The Mets lead the division by a 1/2-game over the Phillies, with Atlanta 2 1/2 back. At 11-14, Washington is 5 1/2 out.

The Nationals get a travel day Thursday, prior to opening a series at home against the Braves on Friday, 7:05 pm EDT.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Scooter Gennett Leads Reds To Second Straight Win; Angels Take Game Two From Astros On Andrelton Simmons' 2 HRs

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 24, 2018

American League
Simmons: 3-4, 2HR, 5RBI

The two top teams in the West played game two of their series in Houston on Tuesday, as the Angels took their second straight over the Astros in an 8-7 victory, taking over first place in the division by 1/2-game.

After being blanked, 2-0, in game one, Houston found themselves in an immediate 2-0 hole after solo home runs by Mike Trout in the first and Andrelton Simmons in the second inning.

When Simmons legged out an infield single in the third, plating Martin Maldonado, LA led, 4-1, but the Astros came back in the fifth and sixth to forge a 5-4 advantage.

The Reds responded in the seventh. After Albert Pujols singled in a run to tie the game, Simmons mashed his second homer of the game, a three-run kill shot to left. Houston did managed to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but LA's bullpen held together for the slim win.

Simmons had a game to remember, going 3-for-5 with two homers, five RBI and two runs.

The Astros will be looking to avoid an embarrassing home sweep Wednesday when the two teams meet for game three, 2:10 pm EDT.

National League

Gennett: 3-5, 2HR, 4RBI
Cincinnati got off to an increbilry bad start to the 2018 season, going 3-18, but their bats have suddenly found new life against the Atlanta pitching staff, and they've won two straight, including Tuesday's 9-7, 12-inning epic.

The Braves sent seven different pitchers to the mound, but could not keep Reds' hitters at bay. Cincinnati banged out 12 hits, three of them coming off the bat of Scooter Gennett, who singled and homered twice, the second of which ended the game in the bottom of the 12th.

Doing his best impression of a one-man wrecking crew, Gennett singled and scored on a Freddie Freeman throwing error in the second, launched his first home run of the game in the fifth, drove in another run with a squeeze bunt in the seventh, and with teammate Joey Votto on first with no outs in the 12th inning, treated fans to the walk-off win with his second home run.

After playing four seasons in Milwaukee, Gennett really hit his stride in his first season with the Reds, batting .295 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI in 2017.

This season has been a slow start for him and the Reds. The two Tuesday homers were his first of the season, and he's driven in just 13 runs, despite a solid .287 batting average.

Cincy will be looking to make it three straight over the Braves when the two teams take the field Wednesday at Great American Ball Park. Game time is 6:40 pm EDT.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Jose Abreu's Two HRs Lead White Sox Past Mariners; Carlos Asuaje Leads Padres 13-5 Victory Over Rockies

Players of the Day for Monday, April 23, 2018

American League

Abreu: 4-for-5, 2HR, 3RBI
Proving once again that baseball offers a game that anyone can win, the two worst teams in the majors both broke losing streaks on Monday, as the White Sox downed the Mariners, 10-4, and the Reds took out their frustrations i a 10-4 win over Atlanta. The Sox broke a seven-game losing skein; the Reds had lost five straight.

Helping set the tone in Chicago was Jose Abreu, who singled and scored in the first inning as the White Sox put five on the board. In the second inning, Abreu belted his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left.

In the fourth, Abreu singled but was left stranded, but took matters into his own hands again in the sixth with his second homer, a 422-foot bang to left. He finished 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBI.

The win left the White Sox at 5-14 on the year, 1/2-game better than Kansas City (5-15) in the division.

One fo the few white Sox players having a fair year thus far, Abreu is batting .308 with six homers and 12 RBI. He's hit 25 or more home runs and driven in at least 100 runs in each of his four prior seasons with the White Sox.
Asuaje: 2-for-5, HR 4RBI

Game two of the series is slated for a 5:10 pm EDT start in Chicago.

National League

San Diego is another last place team that came up a winner on Monday, registering a 13-5 score at Colorado.

With a run already tallied in the first, Carlos Asuaje put the Padres up 4-0 over the Rockies with a three-run blast that traveled 400 feet into the right field stands.

Colorado battled back to take a 5-4 lead in the third inning, but, after a three scoreless innings, the Padres responded by pounding the Rockies with a nine-run seventh inning, including an RBI single and run scored by Asuaje, who finished 2-for-5 with four RBI.

The win didn't life San Diego out of last place, but their 9-15 record leaves them just 3 1/2 out of second place in the division. Colorado is 4 1/2 behind Arizona, trailing the Dodgers - four back - by just 1/2 game.

The NL West rivals meet agin on Tuesday. Game time is 8:40 pm EDT.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Jose Ramirez Socks Two HRs As Cleveland Dumps Baltimore; Johnny Cueto Hurls Giants Past Angels

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 22, 2018

American League
Ramirez: 2 HR 3 RBI

With the Twins losing three straight and Cleveland triumphant in their last two, the Indians are back where they feel most comfortable, in first place in the AL Central division.

In Sunday's 7-3 win at Baltimore, Manny Machado smashed two solo homers off Cleveland starter, Cory Kluber, but Cleveland third baseman, Jose Ramirez, also socked a pair, as Cleveland pieced together the win and a 1 1/2-game lead over Minnesota in the division.

Ramirez had a solo shot in the third, and provided some breathing room with a two run homer in the ninth. The score was 4-3 before Ramirez struck.

The two homers gave Ramirez seven on the season, but his .236 batting average has limited him to just 12 RBI. Last season, he whacked 29 homers and drove in 83 runs, batting .318.

If Ramirez is beginning to heat up, the rest of the division - and the league - should be on notice.

Having taken two of three in Baltimore, the Indians and Orioles will complete their four-game series on Monday at 7:05 pm EDT.

Cueto: 6 IP, 2 H 0 ER, 7 K
National League

San Francisco hasn't gotten off to the best of starts (9-12), but the team took a collective step in the right direction, winning two of three against the Angels in LA, their first series win of the season.

Sunday's 4-2 victory was the product of starter Johnny Cueto, who held the Angels scoreless over six innings as the Giants forged a 3-0 edge.

Victimized by his own team's lack of hitting and porous bullpen work, Cueto's 0.35 ERA is tops in the majors, but Sunday's win was just his second of the season.

In his first 2018 start, on March 30, Cueto one-hit the Dodgers for seven innings, but he didn't get a decision in the 1-0 win as the Giants scored after he had departed. On April 17, his seven-inning, two hit, 11 strikeout performance was wasted as Arizona's Patrick Corbin matched him with a one-hitter and the Diamondbacks scored the only run of the game in the eighth inning.

Johnny was luckier on Sunday, as his teammates backed him with three runs in the third and one in the fifth inning. The bullpen nearly gave it away, surrendering two runs in the eighth.

Striking out seven, Cueto threw 64 of 98 pitches for strikes and got first pitch strikes on 18 of the 23 batters he faced. The two hits he allowed were singles and he walked a pair.

The Giants head home Monday to meet up with the Washington Nationals. Game time is 7:15 pm PDT.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oakland's Sean Manaea Throws Majors' First No-Hitter, Over Red Sox, 3-0; Hyun Jin Ryu Blanks Nats On 2 Hits In 4-0 Dodger Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 21, 2018

American League
Manaea tosses no-hitter

At 17-2, the Boston Red Sox had the best record in the majors heading into game two of their three-game series at Oakland.

Enter Sean Manaea with the treatment to cool off the hottest team in baseball.

Manaea threw the season's no hitter, as the A's downed the Red Sox 3-0, evening the series at a game apiece.

Oddly enough, Manaea didn't start off his night right. He walked Mookie Betts to open the game, but it didn't matter, as the 26-year-old lefty set down the next 14 straight batters. With two out in the fifth, Sandy Leon reached on an error by shortstop Marcus Semien. Leon became the only Red Sox to reach second base when Manaea uncorked a wild pitch, but he ended the threat by fanning Jackie Bradley Jr., one of 10 strikeout victims.

After retiring the Sox in the sixth, seventh and eighth in order, Manaea got to within one out of the no-hitter before walking Andrew Benintendi with two outs. Getting Hanley Ramirez to ground into a fielder's choice, nailing Benintendi at second, the feat was complete.

Manaea threw 108 pitches, of which 75 were strikes. Semien, who made the error in the fifth, redeemed himself by scoring all three of Oakland's runs, one of which came on a double by Jed Lowrie, who is leading the majors with 23 RBI and a .367 batting average, .001 better than Boston's Betts.

Manaea improved to 3-2 and sports an ERA of 1.23.

The win got the A's closer to .500, at 10-11. Boston, helped by the Yankees' 9-1 win over Toronto, remained four games up on the Jays in the AL East. The two teams will settle their differences on Sunday, 1:05 pm PDT.

National League

Ryu: 7IP, 2H, 0ER
In what could be a preview of the playoffs, the Washington Nationals and LA Dodgers are playing a three-game series in Los Angeles. On Friday, Washington took the first game, 5-2, but the Dodgers evened the series as Hyun-Jin Ryu blanked the Nats on two hits over seven innings for a 4-0 Dodger victory.

Ryu was backed by solo homers by Joc Pederson (second inning) and Enrique Hernandez, who pinch hit for Ryu in the bottom of the seventh, and Cody Bellinger's two-run shot in the eighth.

Striking out eight and walking three, Ryu allowed two harmless singles in his dominating performance, throwing 58 of 89 pitches for strikes. Tony Cingrani and Kenley Jansen held the National;s hitless over the eighth and ninth innings, preserving Ryu's third win of the season without a loss.

The Dodgers improved to 9-10 with the win, dropping Washington to 10-11. One of these two will reach .500 when they wrap up the series Sunday night in LA. Starting at 8:00 pm EDT, the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

George Springer, Carlos Correa Power Astros To 10-0 Win; Javier Baez Leads Cubs Past Rockies

Carlos Correa
Players of the Day for Friday, April 20, 2017

American League

Winning their fourth straight - a no-doubt, 10-0 slaying of the White Sox in Chicago - the Houston Astros took back first place in the AL West as the Angels fell victim to the Giants, 8-1, and dropped 1/2-game back.

George Springer
While Justin Verlander was shutting out the Sox (6IP, 2H, 5K), George Springer and Carlos Correa were doing some heavy hitting at the plate.

Springer doubled in the fourth and sixth, driving in two runs with each two-bagger, and he was still on base when Correa launched the first of two homers later in the inning. Correa socked his fourth homer in the ninth, a solo shot which completed Houston's assault.

Correa was 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs; Springer went 2-for-5 with two runs and four RBI.

The game was the opener of a three game series which continues Saturday at 7:10 pm EDT.

National League

Javier Baez continues to emerge as an star in the National League.

Javier Baez
After back-to-back seasons in which the second baseman batted .273, Baez is rocking along at .290, though most impressive are his power numbers, which keep improving.

In the Cubs' 16-5 romp at Colorado, Baez, in six at-bats, singled twice, doubled and homered, driving in four runs and scoring twice.

The Cubs banged out 18 hits against four Colorado hurlers, and scored in every innings except the second, fourth, and seventh.

Baez homered for the sixth time this season, tying him for fourth with San Diego's Christian Villanueva and Atlanta's Ozzie Albez. His 20 RBI lead the lead.

In 2016, Baez hit 14 homers and drove in 59 runs in 142 games. Last season, in 145 games, he homered 23 times and drove in 75.

The Cobs and Rockies continue their series on Saturday. Game time is 8:10 pm EDT.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Leonys Martin's Grand Slam Helps Tigers Bash Orioles; Kurt Suzuki, Preston Tucker Lead Braves Over Mets

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 19, 2018

American League
Martin: 3-for-5, GS, 4RBI

Detroit finished off a sweep of the visiting Baltimore Orioles with a 13-8 win, as both teams took some batting practice, banging out 32 hits between them.

Leonys Martin, Detroit's leadoff hitter, made sure to get his licks in, singling and scoring in the first inning and scoring after blistering a triple in the fourth prior to smacking a grand slam in the fifth. Martin finished 3-for-5 with three runs and four RBI.

The result left the Orioles in last place in the AL East, 11 1/2 games off the pace and the Tigers just a shade under .500, at 7-9, but just 2 1/2 games behind front-running Minnesota in the Central.

Baltimore heads home to open a series with Cleveland on Friday while the Tigers stay home. The host Kansas City at 1:10 pm EDT on Friday.

National League

Suzuki: 3-4, HR, 3R 3RBI
The NL East's first place Mets arrived in Atlanta for the opener of a four game series with Matt Harvey taking the mound to face the second place Braves, who had Matt Wisler on the bump.

As it turned out, Wisler, who was making just his second start since 2016, had the better stuff, holding the Mets to one earned run on three hits over seven innings.

Tucker: 2-for-5, 5 RBI
Meanwhile Kurt Suzuki and Preston Tucker were making life miserable for Harvey. Suzuki socked a two-run, first inning homer off Harvey, then proceeded to double twice, going 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI.

Batting right behind Suzuki, Tucker victimized Harvey with a two-run, third inning double and came up again with the bases loaded in the seventh, delivering his second double of the game, racking up a total of five RBI.

Suddenly, first place wasn't looking so secure as the Braves slugged their way to a 12-4 win, reducing the Mets' lead to just two games over themselves and the Phillies, 7-0 winners over the Pirates.

Game two of the series is 7:35 pm EDT, Friday night.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Yoenis Cespedes Lifts Mets Over Nationals; Toronto's Teoscar Hernandez Homers, Drives In 4 In 15-5 Rout Of KC

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 18, 2018

American League

Hernandez: 4-6, HR, 4RBI
Boston continued to lead the AL East by three games after taking two straight from the Angels in LA, 10-1 and 9-0, but they're being dogged by the second place Blue Jays, who won their fourth straight with a 15-5 bombing of Kansas City, sweeping the Royals in Toronto.

Traveling to New York on Thursday for a four-game series, the Blue Jays find themselves 3 1/2 in front of the Bronx Bombers, and will be looking to expand their edge after splitting a four-game set with New York in the season's opening series.

A player who could play a big role in the series and maybe for the rest of the season is right fielder Teoscar Hernandez, who came up big in Wednesday's romp with a 4-for-6 effort consisting of two singles, a triple and a two-run homer, his first of the year, driving in four runs and scoring twice.

Hernandez was picked up from Houston last year mid-season, and played in 26 games for the Jays, socking eight home runs in 88 at-bats. This year he's only played four games because the Blue Jays have a loaded outfield, but 25-year-old Hernandez has tried to make his case despite limited playing time. He's batting .421 with six RBI.

The first of the four-game series opens Thursday in New York at 6:35 pm EDT.

National League

Cespedes Slams Nationals
In 2015, the Mets took the NL East, but, in the past two years, they've been overtaken by the Washington Nationals, winners of the division in 2016 and 2017.

Determined to give the Nats a run for their money, the Mets have broken well out of the gate, their 13-4 record the best in the National League, earning them a three-game lead over surprising Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Nationals have struggled to a 9-10 mark, despite taking the first two from the Mets in the series at New York.

In game three, Washington struck first, scoring three runs in the opening frame and taking a 4-2 lead into the eighth, but that was prior to the Mets' nine-run explosion in which they sent 11 men to the plate, capped off by a Yoenis Cespedes grand slam.

Cespedes was 0-for-3 going into the eighth, but singled with no outs and a man aboard, eventually coming around to score. When he went to the plate for the second time in the inning, the bases were loaded and Cespedes struck with his fourth home run of the season, a slam off Nationals' reliever A.J. Cole. The Mets prevailed, 11-3.

The four RBI gave Cespedes 17 on the year, one behind NL leader, Bryce Harper, who could only stand and watch from right field when Cespedes' blast carried into the left field stands of Citi Field.

With their lead in the division intact, the Mets travel to Atlanta for a four-game series beginning Thursday. The Nationals head across the country to start a three-game series with the Dodgers in LA, starting Friday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mookie Betts Leads Boston's 10-1 Win Over Angels With 3 HR; Patrick Corbin 1-Hits Giants for 1-0 Arizona Victory

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 17, 2018

American League
Betts: 3-3, 3HR, 3RBI

Mookie Betts was at it again, socking three solo homers in Boston's 10-1 road win over the Angels, spoiling the highly-anticipated match-up between Boston hurler David Price and LA's Shohei Ohtani.

Betts homered to lead off the game, and, after 66 pitches in just two innings, Ohtani was done for the day, having allowed two more runs in the second.

Betts and Boston were far from done against the Angels' pitching staff. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt each socked two-run homers in the third inning, followed by Betts' second solo shot of the game. The Angels could only respond with a single run in the bottom of the innings. In the eighth, Betts cracked his third homer, completing the scoring.

Betts has five home runs and 13 RBI. His .389 batting average leads the majors.

The result left LA at 13-4, still 2 1/2 games better than Houston in the AL West. Boston upped its record to 14-2, three games to the good over Toronto. The Yankees feel to Miami, and are stuck in third place, six games out.

The two division leaders return to the diamond on Wednesday for game two of their three-game series at 10:07 pm EDT.

National League
Corbin throws 1-hitter

With the Diamondbacks taking two of three at San Francisco a week ago, the Giants were intent on evening the score in game one of the series in Arizona, sending their ace, Johnny Cueto, to the mound.

Cueto was top shelf, shutting out the Diamondbacks on two hits over seven complete innings, but Arizona hurler Patrick Corbin was better, going the distance for his third win of the season without a loss as the Diamondbacks prevailed in a 1-0 dessert duel.

Corbin was perfect until walking Joe Panik in the fourth and didn't allow a San Francisco hit until Brandon Belt beat out a checked swing infield single with two outs in the eighth, spoiling the no-hit bid. Corbin got the next batter to end the frame and put the side down in order in the ninth for the one-hit victory and the first shutout of his six-year career, all with the Diamondbacks.

Arizona scored the game's only run on David Peralta's RBI single in the eighth. Corbin faced two over the minimum and threw exactly 100 pitches.

Striking out nine, Corbin has 37 Ks on the year, one behind Washington's Max Scherzer for the NL and major league lead. In 27 1/3 innings, Corbin has allowed just 14 hits, five runs and walked just five.

The Diamondbacks lead the NL West by 2 1/2 games over the Rockies. 6-10 San Francisco is six games back.

Arizona and San Francisco square off again on Wednesday, in game two of the three-game series at 9:40 pm EDT.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Didi Gregorius Homers Twice, Yankees Rout Marlins; Yasmani Grandal Slam Swamps Padres in Dodger Win

Players of the Day for Monday, April 16, 2018

Gregorius: 2 HR, 3 RB
American League

While the Orioles and Red Sox were rained out in Boston, the New York Yankees took advantage, picking up some ground in the standings with a 12-1 victory over the Miami Marlins Monday night in the Bronx.

Didi Gregorius, who has been the Yankees best player thus far, homered twice, driving in three runs in the rout. After walking and scoring in the third, Gregorius smacked a two-run shot in the fourth and went solo in the seventh inning.

He's batting .327 with five home runs and 16 RBI.

The well-rested Yankees who were snowed and rained out of an entire three-game series in Detroit over the weekend, returned home for the first of two against the Marlins on Monday, starting a ten-game home stand. They face Miami at 6:35 pm EDT on Tuesday, then open a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

National League

Grandal: 2B, GS, 5 RBI
Yasmani Grandal drove in five runs with a second-inning double and a grand slam in the ninth, sealing the victory as the Dogders swamped the Padres, 10-3.

LA took a brief 1-0 lead on Grandal's RBI double, but the Padres came right back in the bottom of the frame on Christian Vliianueva's two-run home run.

After the Dodgers tallied four more in the third, San Diego would be unable to score off dodger starter Hyun-jin-Ryu again. Ryu struck out nine over six innings, giving up a mere three hits.

The score remained stuck at 6-2 until Grandal's bases-loaded blast in the ninth. The Padres scored another run in the bottom of the inning, but it was too little and far too late.

The win was the second straight for the Dodgers, who barely managed to keep the Padres in last place. San Diego is 5 1/2 off the pace set by Arizona in the West, but the Dodgers and Giants are five games out, just 1/2-game off the bottom.

The two teams play game two in San Diego, Tuesday night at 10:10 pm EDT.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Robinson Chirinos Delivers Win For Rangers Over Astros; Starling Marte 5-for-5 As Pirates Down Marlins

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 15, 2018

Chirinos: HR, 2B, 3RBI
American League

With five games cancelled due to inclement weather conditions, there were just three AL games played on Sunday.

The nationally-televised meeting between Houston and the Texas Rangers in Arlington, provided a suitable stage for the Rangers and Robinson Chirinos as they took their second straight from the reigning world champions with a 10-inning, 3-1 triumph.

Perhaps the baseball gods were looking in as every player in the majors was wearing number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, Chirinos offering a meaningful message as he drove in all of the Rangers' runs, including the game-winning double in the 10th, which supplied two runs.

Chirinos belted a solo homer in the third inning, and starting pitcher, Bartolo Colon, made it stand up until the Astros finally broke through with a run in the eighth. Both relief staffs kept the game tied until Chirinos unknotted it with his mighty rip to dead center.

The Rangers have already played the Astros seven times this season, and they've held their own, winning three of the contests. However, Texas has won only three other games and is dead last in the AL West, with a 6-11 mark. Houston is in second place behind the Angels, three back, at 10-6.

Both teams travel and play on Monday, with the Rangers landing in Tampa Bay, while the Astros open a series in Seattle.
Marte: 5-for-5, HR, 4R

National League

At 11-4, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to alarm opponents throughout the National League. A young team with loads of potential, the surprising Pirates hit he ground running this season and lead the Cardinals by 2 1/2 games in the wide-open NL Central following their 7-3 win at Miami.

The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first, but they failed to hold it, mostly because every time Starling Marte stepped up to the plate, he found a way to get on base, going 5-for-5, scoring four times driving in one.

Singling and scoring in the third, fifth, and seventh inning, Marte finished off a perfect day at the plate with a solo home run in the ninth, completing the scoring for the Pirates.

One of the few Pittsburgh players that didn't get off to a blazing hot start, Marte raised his batting average from .241 entering the game, to .305 at its conclusion. He has three home runs and six RBI on the year.

Pittsburgh returns home to host the Colorado Rockies. Game one of the series begins Monday at 7:05 pm EDT.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Greg Garcia's 2 HRs Power Cardinals Over Reds; Hanley Ramirez Helps Red Sox Roll Over O's

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 14, 2018

American League

Ramirez: 15 RBI for Sox
Boston continues to dominate the AL East, winning their third straight game with a 10-3 rout of the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

The Red Sox wasted little time getting to Baltimore starter, Alex Cobb, battering him for 10 hits and seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings. Hanley Ramirez socked a two-run homer in the first inning (his third of the year) and by the time he doubled in another run with a double and scored in the fourth inning, Boston had an 8-0 lead.

Ramirez is off to a flying start to the season. His .362 batting average is third in the American League and his 15 RBI have him tied for the league lead with Seattle's Mitch Haniger.

Boston leads Toronto by three games and they are five up on the Yankees in the division. They'll be looking for their fourth straight victory and third straight over Baltimore Sunday at 1:05 pm EDT.

National League

Winning their third straight at Cincinnati, the St. Louis Cardinals moved into a tie with Milwaukee for second place in the NL Central with a 6-1 victory Saturday afternoon.
Garcia: 2HR, 3R, 3RBI

Providing half of the St. Louis offense, second baseman Greg Garcia launched a pair of line shot home runs to essentially the same spot, just over the low wall in the right field corner of Great American Ball Park.

The first came as a solo shot in the second inning; the second was with a man aboard in the fourth, putting the Cardinals up 4-0, more than enough for starting pitcher, Miles Mikolas, who gave up one run on four hits over seven innings for his second win of the season without a loss.

Garcia, who also doubled and scored in the sixth, is a Cardinals' farm product since being drafted in 2010. He's seen sparse major league action since 2013, last season appearing in 133 games. Not known for power, Garcia equalled his home run output from last season in just one game.

St. Louis will be looking to take four straight as they close out the series in Cincy on Sunday. Game time is 1:10 pm EDT.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Anibal Sanchez Goes Six Scoreless As Braves Humble Cubs; Ian Kinsler Leads Angels To Top Spot In AL West

Players of the Day for Friday, April 13, 2018

American League

Kinsler: 3-for-4, 2R, RBI
After winning the World Series in 2017, Houston is expected to take the AL West once again, but the other teams in the division have fortified their lineups and are certain to make the Astros earn heavy win.

Among the contenders in the West is the LA Angels, winners of six straight, their most recent conquest a 5-4 win in the second of four at Kansas City.

Picked up in the off-season from Detroit, Ian Kinsler was back in the leadoff spot for the Angels in Friday's game, after coming off the 10-day disabled list. The veteran second baseman went 3-for-4, stole two bases, scored twice and drove in the game-winning run with a sac fly in the eighth inning.

Kinsler's .367 batting average is positive sign that he's ready to go the distance atop the LA lineup.

The Angels improved to a stunning 12-3, their sixth straight win vaulting them past the Astros into a 1/2-game lead in the division. They'll be looking for their seventh straight win when they take the field at KC on Saturday. Game time is 7:15 pm EDT.

National League

Sanchez: 6 scoreless, 6K
The last time the Braves made the playoffs was 2013, when they ran away in the AL East, posting a mark of 96-66 to win the division by 10 games. Since that time, they've spent four years finishing under .500, but with an 8-5 start to the season, 2018 could be a year of change.

Opening a three-game series in Chicago, Atlanta posted a 4-0 win over the Cubs. Dominating from the mound with six innings of scoreless, three-hit ball was starter Anibal Sanchez, who struck out six and walked one as his teammates built a lead, Preston Tucker's three-run homer in the fifth off You Darvish providing most of the cushion.

The veteran right-hander threw 63 of 94 pitches for strikes, earning his first win of the year in three appearances. Now in his 13th season, Sanchez gives the Braves some depth in their starting rotation.

It was the second straight win for Atlanta, moving them into second place, 3 1/2 games behind the streaking Mets, who lead the division with a 11-1 mark, including nine straight wins.

Game two of the series at Wrigley Field is slated for a 2:20 pm EDT start on Saturday.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Francisco Lindor Leads Cleveland To 5th Straight Win; Jose Martinez Drives In Six As Cards Drub Reds, 13-4

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 12, 2018

American League
Lindor: 2-4, HR, 3R, 3RBI

Winning their fifth straight, he Cleveland Indians completed a four-game home sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 9-3 laugher over their AL Central opponents.

Francisco Lindor socked his initial home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning to get the Indians started, then doubled in a pair of runs before scoring on Jose Ramirez's two-run homer, putting Cleveland up 6-0.

In the fourth, Lindor was hit by a Michael Fulmer pitch, loading the bases, eventually scoring the last of Cleveland's runs.

Fulmer didn't get an out in the fourth, and was responsible for eight earned runs, officially over three innings.

Instrumental to Cleveland's success the past few seasons, Lindor belted 33 home runs and drove in 89 runs last season, mostly from the leadoff position in the Indians' lineup.

The Indians remain tied with Minnesota for the division lead, 3 1/2 ahead of the Tigers and White Sox. Toronto comes to visit for a three game series starting Friday at 7:10 pm EDT.

National League

Opening a four-game series in Cincinnati, the St. Louis Cardinals got off to a flying start with a 13-4 romp over the Reds, highlighted by a six-RBI effort by second-year star, Jose Martinez.

Martinez: 4-6, HR, 6RBI
Marinez singled in the first to put get the Cards on the board, drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to tie the score at 4-4, socked a solo homer in the seventh and doubled in both the eighth and ninth innings, driving in two in the eight and one more in the ninth.

Batting .364 with three home runs and 14 RBI (second in the majors behind Pitssburgh's Gregory Polanco, 15), Martinez is proving that he's a major leaguer for the long run.

Making a bid for rookie of the year in first full season, Martinez batted .309 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI in 109 games for the Cardinals in 2017.

St. Louis, along with the rest of the division is chasing Pittsburgh in the NL Central. St. Louis is 3 1/2 back, the Cubs three behind and Milwaukee in second place, 2 1/2 behind the Pirates. Cincinnati is off to a horrific start, seven games out with a 2-10 record.

Game two of the series is Friday at 6:40 pm EDT at the Great American Ball Park.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Zack Wheeler Pitches Mets To 8th Straight Win; Yankees Even Series In Boston As Gary Sanchez Homers Twice

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 11, 2018

American League

Sanchez: 2B, 2HR, 4RBI
Heading into his third start of the season, Boston hurler David Price hadn't given up a run, blanking the Tampa Bay Rays in back-to-back seven inning stints.

In a New York minute, the Yankees put an end to that streak, scoring four runs in the first inning on their way to a 10-7 win at Fenway Park, evening their series with Boston at a game apiece.

Giancarlo Stanton tripled in the first pair of runs; Gary Sanchez brought Stanton home with a bomb over the Green Monster, a 432-foot belt that set the tone for the night. Price finished the inning and was not seen again.

Sanchez, however, was not quite finished, doubling and scoring in the third prior to homering again with a man aboard in the fourth.

Beyond the Yankee onslaught, the game also featured a grand slam by Boston's J.D. Martinez and a bench-clearing brawl in the seventh inning after Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly plunked Tyler Austin in retaliation for a hard slide by Austin earlier in the game. Keely, Austin, Yankee reliever Tommy Kahnle, and third base coach Phil Kevin were all ejected.

With the series squared and Boston's eight-game winning streak over, the Yanks and Sox will finish off the series Thursday at 7:10 pm EDT. Boston remains in first place in the division, with a 9-2 mark. The Yankees are 6-6.
Wheeler: 7IP, 2H, 1ER, 7K

National League

Starting the season off by taking two of three from the Cardinals at Citi Field, the New York Mets were just getting warmed up.

Since that opening series, the Mets haven't lost, winning their eighth straight Wednesday night with a 4-1 win over the Marlins at Miami.

Doing it with a combination of solid pitching and timely hitting, the Mets came through for starter Zack Wheeler after being held hitless for six innings by Maimi starter, Jarlin Garcia.

Wheeler surrendered a first-inning solo homer to the second hitter he faced, Miguel Rojas, but settled in, giving up just one more hit and a walk, fanning seven over seven innings. Pulled in the top of the seventh for pinch hitter, Adrian Gonzalez, Wheeler got the win when Gonzalez mashed a two-run homer and the Mets added two more in the frame.

Having missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Wheeler returned to start 17 games for the Mets in 2017, going 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA, but his first start of the new season was very encouraging, ensuring he'll see the mound more often.

With the win, the Mets maintained a 3 1/2-game lead over the Braves in the NL East. After a day off Thursday, they open a weekend series at home with the Brewers on Friday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mookie Betts 4-for-4, Grand Slam Lifts Boston Over Yanks; Stephen Strasburg Hurls Nats Past Braves

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 10, 2018

American League
Betts: 4-4, 5R, GS, 4RBI

Opening a three-game series, the Yankees and Red Sox renewed their legendary rivalry on Tuesday at Fenway Park, but, other than Aaron Judge, the Yankees turned out to be largely spectators as Boston beaned the Bombers, 14-1.

Making life difficult for Yankee pitchers was Mookie Betts, Boston's leadoff hitter, who went 4-for-4 with a walk, scored five times and socked a grand slam, capping a nine-run sixth inning that put the game out of reach.

Chris Sale cruised through six innings, scattering eight hits and one earned run for his first decision of the season.

Betts, whose effort put him atop the majors with a .432 batting average, started the Sox off with a leadoff double, scoring the initial run in the first inning, singled and scored in the second, walked and scored in the fourth, doubled and scored in the sixth before his slam in the same inning completed the rout.

The Yankees will try to forget their game one flop when they meet Boston in game two, Wednesday night at 7:10 pm EDT. 9-1 Boston leads the AL East by two games over the Blue Jays. The Yankees are 4 1/2 back, at 5-6.

National League
Strasburg: 8 scoreless

For the second time in as many games, the Washington Nationals scored in the first inning and rode their starter's arm to victory over the Atlanta Braves.

On Monday, Max Scherzer shut out the Braves. Tuesday's mound heroics were performed by Stephen Strasburg, who shut out the opposition on three hits over eight innings, after Ryan Zimmerman's triple put two on the board for Washington en route to a 4-1 victory.

Strasburg improved to 2-1, walking two and striking out eight. After allowing a Dansby Swanson single in the second, Strasburg didn't allow another baserunner until Ender Inciarte singled with one out in the sixth, setting down 12 straight.

Swanson doubled in the only run for the Braves in the ninth, off reliever Ryan Madsen.

Strasburg is working on back-to-back 15-4 seasons, and is off to a solid start with a 2.21 ERA and 21 strikeout victims in 20 1/3 innings.

The Nationals improved to 6-5, tying them with the Braves for second place in the NL East. Both teams are trailing the red-hot Mets, who won their seventh straight with an 8-6 comeback win at Miami. The Mets are 9-1 and lead the division by 3 1/2 games.

The Nationals will be looking for the series sweep Wednesday when A.J. Cole takes the mound against Atlanta's Brandon McCarthy at 1:05 pm EDT in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer's Brilliant Mound Work Results In Shutout Wins For Indians, Nationals

Players of the Day for Monday, April 9, 2018

American League

Kluber: 8IP, 2H, 0ER, 13K
As ESPN reports, cold weather made it tough for hitters, especially against two of the best pitchers in the majors, who were patrolling the mounds in Cleveland and Washington, DC.

In Cleveland, with the thermometer registering a chilly 33 degrees, Corey Kluber picked up his first win of the season, blanking the Tigers 2-0 over eight innings in the opener of a four-game series.

Last year's AL Cy Young award recipient had the Tigers flailing in the wind, allowing just two hits while fanning 13 with one walk.

The Indians got their two runs on a fifth-inning home run by Bradley Zimmer, the second-year player who has taken over the starting spot in center field.

Kluber is 1-1 after three starts, but he's pitched better than his record, allowing 11 hits and four earned runs over 23 innings. His 27 strikeouts lead the AL.

Game two is slated for Tuesday night, at 6:10 pm EDT.

National League

Scherzer: CG, SO, 2H, 10K
In Washington, the temperature was a relatively balmy 45 degrees, but with Max Scherzer toeing the rubber it might as well have been -25 for the overmatched Atlanta batters.

Scherzer went the distance for his second win against one loss, as the Nationals evened their record at 5-5 with a 2-0 triumph over the visiting Braves.

Scherzer struck out 10, didn't walk a batter and surrendered just two hits, a one-out single by Kurt Suzuki in the second inning and a leadoff single by Nick Markakis in the fifth, after which, Scherzer was perfect, setting down the final fifteen Atlanta batters in order.

The Nationals got their two runs off a first inning double by Howie Kendrick, plating Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper. Staked to that early advantage, Scherzer sliced through the Braves' lineup as only a two-time Cy Young Award winner could. Scherzer took the prize in p2016 and 2017 and is chasing a third straight.

Scherzer improved to 2-1 with his fifth career shutout. His 27 strikeouts lead the National League and are tied with Kluber atop the majors.

Game two of the three-game series starts Tuesday at 7:05 pm EDT.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Jameson Taillon Tosses 1-Hitter As Pirates Thump Reds; Shohei Ohtani Fans 12 In Angels' Win

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 8, 2018

American League

Mike Trout and Ryan Shrimpf socked solo home runs, and Shohei Ohtani improved to 2-0, blanking the Athletics on one hit over seven full innings en route to a 6-1 win.
Ohtani: 7 IP, 1H, 0ER, 12K

Ohtani, the widely-hyped, 23-year-old rookie from Oshu, Jpana, had a perfect game going over the first six innings, but Marcus Semien’s one-out single in the seventh ended the no-hit bid. After walking the next batter, Jed Lowrie, Ohtani finished up the inning by getting Khris Davis on a comebacker to the mound and striking out Matt Olson for his 12th K of the afternoon.

Already up 6-0, manager Mike Scioscia went to his bullpen. Blake Wood tossed a scoreless eighth and Felix Pena allowed a meaningless run n the ninth.

In two starts - both against the A's - Ohtani has two wins, no losses, 18 strikeouts, and is living up to the advance billing.

The Angels kept pace with division-leading Houston, trailing the Astros by a game in the AL West at 7-3.

Hitting the road Monday, the Angels travel to Texas for a three-game series with the Rangers. Game one starts at 8:05 pm EDT.
Taillon: 1-hit Shutout

National League

Swashbuckling their way through the early schedule, the Pittsburgh Pirates finished up their four-game series with the visiting Reds on Sunday on a one-hitter by starter, Jameson Taillon, who went the distance for his first major league shutout in a 5-0 victory.

Taillon stymied the Reds throughout, the only hit an ironic third inning single by opposing starter Tyler Mahle. Otherwise, Taillon was spectacular in his second start and second win of the season, hitting a batter - Alejandro Suarez - in the fifth and walking a pair while striking out seven.

Throwing 110 pitches, Taillon had exceptional control, with 67 of his throws for strikes.

In his third season with the Pirates, the 6'5" 25-year-old has a positive career mark of 15-11 with a 3.82 ERA.

Pittsburgh continues to dazzle opponents, improving to 7-2, taking three of four from the Reds. They lead the Cubs by two games in the NL Central and will try to put some distance between themselves and the reigning division champs when they travel to Chicago for a three game series with the Cubs, starting Monday at 2:20pm EDT.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Phillies Hammer Marlins, 20-1, As Maikel Franco Drives in 6; Xander Bogaerts Leads Red Sox To 7th Straight Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 7, 2018

American League

Bogaerts: GS, 6 RBI
After the Rays scored two runs in the top of the first, the Red Sox responded with four of their own, highlighted by Xander Bogaerts two-run double to take an early lead.

In the second, Bogaerts put another ball out of reach, mashing a grand slam to left-center, putting Boston up for good in their 10-3 rout at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox won their seventh straight after opening the regular season with a loss and lead the AL East by 2 1/2 games over the Yankees and Blue Jays.

Bogaerts tally of six RBI left him one shy of the AL lead, with 10. Toronto's Justin Smoak and the Yankees' Didi Gregorius each have driven in 11 runs.

For Tampa Bay, their losing streak equals Boston's winning skein as Tampa Bay won their home opener against Boston, but has lost every game since, including two at Yankee Stadium earlier in the week.

The Rays will try to stop the rampaging Red Sox on Sunday in the finale of their three-game series. Start time is 1:05 pm EDT.

National League
Franco: GS, 6 RBI

Vince Velazquez allowed four hits and one measly run over six innings and Jake Thompson blanked the visiting Marlins on one hit over the final three innings in Philadelphia's 20-1 smackdown of Miami.

With the Phillies' pitching more than adequate, Maikel Franco led a 20-hit assault against six Miami hurlers, socking a first-inning grand slam and a two-run double in the fourth to drive in six runs.

Philadelphia scored five runs in the first, four in the third and eight in the fourth, outdistancing their opponent early in the game.

For Franco, the home run was his second in as many games, the six RBI tying him for the league lead with Atlanta's Freddie Freeman and Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco, each with 11.

The win was the second straight for Philly over the Marlins, and they will be looking for the series sweep Sunday afternoon, at 1:35 pm EDT.