The Wednesday Takeaway
Jacob deGrom made the start for the Mets on Wednesday against the White Sox, and as usual, he had pretty good day. He banked a line of 7 IP, 10 K, 2 BB, and only one earned run. Other than making the understandable mistake of giving up a home run to Todd Frazier, deGrom was on point. And on most days, his performance would be the main talking point here. Maybe we'd talk about how his ERA+ has improved for a second consecutive year, as he seems to be getting even better; or we'd talk about his less enthralling DRA and cFIP, and wonder whether that presages regression or just a reevaluation of how good pitchers find ways to succeed. On most days. Most days aren't as fun as Wednesday was.
It was an interleague game in a National League ballpark, which means that we were given the relatively rare sight of American League pitchers trying to hit. For another, the game went long enough that, eventually, this applied not only to starters but to relievers. If AL pitchers batting are rare like emperor penguins, AL relievers batting are bona fide unicorns. Matt Albers: Grab a bat.
After Albers entered the game in the 12th inning and kept the Mets from scoring, Robin Ventura decided that Albers was going to keep on pitching into the 13th inning. That necessitated him leading off the 13th. Going into this game, Albers had two career major-league hits—and no plate appearances since 2009 none since 2009—and he hadn’t gone past first base in his entire professional career. Now he has.
Baseball is just so obviously easy.
Shortly afterward, Albers managed to lumber his way to third base (in a decidedly non-cat-like manner) following a wild pitch, and eventually made it all the way home thanks to a sacrifice fly from Jose Abreu.
After scoring the go-ahead run to put the White Sox in the lead, Albers returned to the mound for the 13th to perform his actual job of getting the other team’s batters out. A groundout, a strikeout, a walk, and a groundout later, he did just that, and so goes the story of the day when Matt Albers basically won a game for the White Sox.
When it’s lit. pic.twitter.com/sMKWtqGzj4
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) June 1, 2016
Boston may have lost 13-9 to the Orioles on Wednesday night, but it’s still all about Mookie Betts right now. Fresh off of smashing three dongers for the Red Sox on Tuesday night, Betts decided that he wasn’t satisfied. So, he went and smacked another two homers in his first two plate appearances on Wednesday night.
That’s now 14 homers on the season for Betts, and he’s now four away from matching his total for the entirety of the 2015 season, and nine away from doubling his career number of 23 homers going into the 2016 campaign.
Kind of amazing that Xander Bogaerts just extended hitting streak to 25 and it's the second-longest for Sox in first two months of season.
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) June 2, 2016
But if you come at the King's brother, you best not miss: Bradley is hitting just .167 in the five games since his hit streak maxed.
On Tuesday, the Cubs had the audacity to lose a game that Jake Arrieta started. If you were worried about the Cubs following that traumatic occasion, Jon Lester put those worries to rest by delivering his 13th career complete game.
Freddie Freeman has had a rollercoaster of a season so far, and the absolute last thing the Braves and their light-hitting offense need is for their best hitter to be fighting a slump. So, if anybody on the Braves roster needed to hit a massive walk-off homer to propel the team to victory, it was Freeman. His 11th-inning game-winner gave the Braves at least a split of their four-game series against the Giants, because baseball is weird.
Defensive Play of the Day
In the second inning of last night’s game between the Astros and Diamondbacks, Michael Bourn robbed Marwin Gonzalez of extra bases by making a spectacular catch near Tal’s Hill.
In the very next frame, the Astros got payback off of Michael Bourn himself when Carlos Gomez made a jumping catch at the wall to keep Bourn off of the basepaths. The best part of this is Bourn’s facial expression after the catch, though. He respects it!
What to Watch on Thursday
Speaking of Arizona and Houston, if you had been told going into this season that Zack Greinke and Dallas Keuchel would be squaring off for a potential pitcher’s duel, you probably would’ve been pretty excited for that game, right? Greinke finished 2015 with a DRA of 2.96 and a cFIP of 74, while Keuchel capped off his AL Cy Young-winning campaign with a DRA of 3.12 and a cFIP of 69.
Fast forward to June 2016, and things haven’t been as smooth for either pitcher. While Greinke bounced back from a slow start and is currently sitting on a 3.53 DRA and 86 cFIP, Keuchel’s DRA and cFIP have ballooned to 5.43 and 110, respectively. Keuchel did have a solid performance against the Angels in his last outing, so the hope for Houston is that he’ll be able to string together a couple of positive starts and get things rolling in the right direction. As goes Keuchel, so go the Astros, perhaps.