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The Thursday Takeaway

Thursday marked the return of Corey Kluber from the disabled list, making his first start in a month after he strained his lower back. Although his return only lasted six innings and 77 pitches, it was clear from the early stages of the game that we were going to get a vintage performance from Kluber. That meant that the A’s were in for a long, long day.

Kluber tore through Oakland’s first seven batters without much of a problem, as an old friend of Cleveland’s was the first man to make it on base for Oakland. Rajai Davis reached on a single and eventually made his way to third base after stealing second base. Kluber surrendered a walk that put runners on the corners with two outs, but the former Cy Young winner got out of the mini-jam by throwing his sixth strikeout of the game at that point.

Kluber eventually finished his outing three innings later with 10 total strikeouts while only giving up two hits and one walk. Rajai Davis making it to third base was the closest that Oakland would come to scoring all day, as Kluber and the rest of Cleveland’s pitching staff was on point for the entire afternoon.

Cleveland’s pitchers made life easy for the rest of the team, but Oakland’s defense also had a part in making Thursday afternoon a breeze for the defending American League champions. In the bottom of the third, Daniel Robertson led off with a double, and thanks to a pair of gifts from Jharel Cotton and Josh Phegley—specifically, a passed ball and a wild pitch on two consecutive pitches—Robertson was able to easily score Cleveland’s first run of the game.

Oakland wasn’t done handing Cleveland runs, though. The sixth inning is when things got ridiculous for the A’s. Nine batters came up for Cleveland in that frame, and they only managed to hit two balls past the infield. However, they managed to score six runs because Oakland took a page out of the Braves’ playbook from earlier this week and had an absolute nightmare playing defense in this frame.

Cleveland went on to easily win the game, and they’ll be traveling to Kansas City on a high note. They’re on top of the AL Central and their ace appears to be in prime shape after spending a month on the shelf.

Quick Hits

There’s always something going on with the Mets. After they had a mascot-related scandal on Wednesday night, they had a batboy-related scandal on Thursday afternoon. Eric Sogard was initially called out when Wilmer Flores ran into Milwaukee’s batboy while trying to catch a foul ball, but the umpires reversed it and manager Terry Collins got tossed when he argued. Milwaukee went on to win the game 2-1, and now we’re all wondering what the next wacky moment in this Mets season will be.

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There have been some concerns about Gary Sanchez’s lack of power so far this season, which is understandable when a guy goes from having a .358 ISO and 20 home runs over 53 games in 2016 to having a .147 ISO and only four homers going into last night’s game against the Blue Jays. Both of those numbers went up after the night Sanchez had on Thursday, with two massive dingers in a blowout victory for the Yankees.

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The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 2-0, and the two runs St. Louis scored came off the bat of pitcher Adam Wainwright. He now has four home runs since the 2016 season began, and a total of 10 for his career.

By the way, he also threw six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and only two walks. If this whole “hitting” thing doesn’t work out for him then he can still lean on his day job.

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You’d think that after Jarrod Dyson lost this attempt at a snow-cone catch, the Rockies would be satisfied with what they got.

Gerardo Parra wasn’t satisfied with a single, so he got caught in a rundown. While this was going on, Carlos Gonzalez decided that he wasn’t satisfied with just being at third base, so he lit out for home. It didn’t end well for him, as the Mariners defense made a heads-up play to easily put him out at home.

The moral of this story is simple: Don’t get greedy, kids. Colorado still won, but greed isn’t good.

Defensive Play of the Day

The Twins turned a good old 5-4-3 triple play last night. It’s about as straight-forward as triple plays get, but it’s still always impressive to see one happen.

What was impressive as well is that the Twins’ radio crew knew it was going to happen from the crack of the bat.

What to Watch on Friday

The AL East is figuring to be intensely competitive this season, as there’s not much separating first place from last place at the moment. Though you wouldn’t know it from last night’s blowout loss, the Blue Jays have done a decent job of recovering from their horrid start to the season. Still, they’ve got a tough road ahead of them and they’re going to have to start picking up wins in the division if they really want to get back into this.

Toronto had a tough time dealing with CC Sabathia last night, and they could have an even tougher time dealing with Michael Pineda and his 1.90 DRA and 81 cFIP. We probably won’t see a repeat of the drubbing that Gary Sanchez and the rest of his pinstriped friends gave the Blue Jays on Thursday night, but Toronto will have to be at their best to avoid it against the current AL East leaders.