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April 19, 2017

What You Need to Know

Eight Is Enough

by Emma Baccellieri


The Tuesday Takeaway

The Yankees entered yesterday looking to preserve their eight-game winning streak, and they seemed pretty well-equipped to do so. They’d be pitting Luis Severino, coming off the single best game of his career, against Miguel Gonzalez, coming off a game in which he was pulled in the fifth inning.

But Gonzalez disposed of the Yankees rather easily—and not only that, but he did so with remarkable efficiency. He didn’t allow a baserunner until the fifth, and after giving up one single to Starlin Castro there, he really got down to business. Gonzalez went through seven of eight batters on the very first pitch, moving through more than two innings of play in what could have been a single plate appearance’s worth of pitches. (One of those got a man on base, in the form of a successful first-pitch bunt single from Jacoby Ellsbury, but that was quickly rendered irrelevant by Matt Holliday grounding into a double play on the next pitch. And while the eighth batter took a few more tosses, Gonzalez probably felt they were worth it to get a swinging strikeout of Brett Gardner.)

Meanwhile, Severino was dealing in his own right. With 10 strikeouts in eight innings, he came up just one short of matching the personal strikeout record he set in his previous start. But a pair of home runs doomed him and put the White Sox ahead by a score of 4-0.

The Yankees didn’t go down without a fight—putting two men aboard in the bottom of the ninth and forcing the Sox to pull Gonzalez, robbing him of the chance to go for his second ever complete game. Closer David Robertson took a moment to settle in and botched the shutout in the process, walking in one run before managing to tie things up. But Gonzalez still walked away with one of the best stat lines of his career and the Yankees walked away with a winning streak broken—and thanks to Gonzalez’s efficiency, they did so in just two hours and 16 minutes, the shortest game of the season so far.

Quick Hits

The Mets’ bullpen has had six chances to record a save so far this year. As of last night, they’ve blown three of them. They jumped out to a quick 2-1 lead over the Phillies behind Zack Wheeler, in his best start this season after two years of surgery and recovery. Wheeler recorded seven strikeouts in five innings, allowing just one run in the form of a solo shot. But that one-run lead disappeared in the eighth, when a call on the field was overturned to grant Andres Blanco a ground-rule double that drove in one.

The game went into extras from there, and it didn’t take long for the bullpen to unravel. Rafael Montero came out to start the 10th after four days of rest, and he promptly gave up two singles followed by a sac fly that broke the tie, plus two more singles that helped break it open. By the time Montero was replaced with Sean Gilmartin, it was too late for the Mets. The Phillies scored four in the top of the 10th to win, 6-2.

***

The Reds came out swinging early to allow 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo to win his first game since 2014. A grand slam from last year’s early-season-darling Adam Duvall exploded the offense in the second inning, and a two-run shot from Joey Votto in the third added on to give Cincinnati a decisive lead over Baltimore.

***

Wei-Yin Chen wasn’t necessarily overpowering yesterday—just two strikeouts—but he was getting results, to the tune of carrying a no-hitter through the end of the seventh inning. But at 100 pitches heading into the eighth, Chen was pulled in favor of Brad Ziegler. Mitch Haniger broke up the team’s chance for a collective no-hitter with a double in the ninth, but Miami still walked away with the 5-0 victory.

Defensive Play of the Day

Carlos Gomez robbed Yonder Alonso of an extra-base hit with this leap at the wall in the first inning last night. Ultimately, the A’s beat the Rangers by a score of 4-2, but at least Gomez got these style points in early.

What to Watch for Wednesday

Vincent Velasquez has gotten off to a rough start to the year: giving up four and five runs, respectively, in starts that lasted four and five innings each. Of the 27 outs he’s recorded, 17 have been strikeouts, but in between has held plenty of walks and plenty of other struggles. He’ll try to right his season against Robert Gsellman and the Mets at 7:10 ET.

Madison Bumgarner has had three strong outings so far this season, and the Giants have failed to back him up in all three. One bullpen collapse and two days without run support have meant three losses under Bumgarner for San Francisco, and he’ll try to change that tonight against Jason Vargas and the Royals at 8:15 ET.

Emma Baccellieri is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Emma's other articles. You can contact Emma by clicking here

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (04/19)
<< Previous Column
What You Need to Know:... (04/17)
Next Column >>
What You Need to Know:... (04/20)
Next Article >>
Short Relief: Business... (04/19)

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