The Thursday Takeaway
Every now and then, there is poetry in baseball. Often it involves Wilmer Flores.
The Mets and Nationals played a ridiculous game at Citi Field on Thursday night. The contest included eight home runs (a Citi Field record), 27 hits (two of them from Oliver Perez, a reliever), 11 walks, 15 runs, 32 players, and one post-game shouting match between Nats GM Mike Rizzo and umpire Jim Joyce.
Bartolo Colon had almost nothing. Lucas Giolito didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. It seemed that the game, haunted by the specter of Matt Harvey’s potential shoulder surgery, would be a story of wasted opportunities for the Mets. It seemed that the story would be that Daniel Murphy once again did everything in his power to ruin his former club. That Perez had somehow found more ways to torment the Mets by getting his first hits in six years.
Flores would personally see to it that that would not happen.
He came off the bench and put the Mets ahead for good with a second deck shot. Flores so famously won over the souls of Mets fans with his flowing tears and heroics last summer. He’s recently been on a power surge, and provided the decisive blow to earn the Mets an important win.
But they have Wilmer Flores. And that has to count for something.
Quick Hits from Thursday
The Pirates are bleeding pitchers faster than a buccaneer peppered full of splinters after his ship has taken a full broadside from an English frigate. Gerrit Cole, Ryan Vogelsong and the recently promoted Jameson Taillon are all on the disabled list. That’s part of why Tyler Glasnow was brought up on Thursday to start against the Cardinals. The other part of why is the fact that Glasnow entered the year as the Pirates’ top prospect and the 11th best prospect in all of baseball, and he had a 1.78 ERA and almost 11 Ks per nine in Triple-A. Little things like that will get a guy a shot in the big leagues.
Even sans Matt Carpenter (who was placed on the DL), the Cards are tough assignment for one’s first start, especially since Glasnow has displayed more than a little wildness at Triple-A. The nature of debuts being what it is, one might think that his start would either go marvelously or result in a smoldering crater where the pitching mound once stood, with little room for flexibility in between.
Instead, Glasnow threw 5 1/3 innings of wholly unremarkable baseball, at least from a box score standpoint. The 6-foot-8 righty allowed three hits, one of them a home run to Randal Grichuk, struck out five, and walked four. However, he showed flashes of why he’s probably going to be be pretty darn good at this whole pitching thing.
He also notched his first big-league hit with an opposite-field single. It will be a rocky road for Glasnow as he tries to wrangle his control and hit his spots more consistently. If he does, he will be a true threat.
Mike Trout is an exceptional ballplayer, as you may be aware. He does nearly everything extremely well. Hitting. Fielding. Running. Putting the ball into the next county. Smiling.
Because of all that talent, it’s almost shocking that he hasn’t stolen home until now.
A perfectly executed double steal, with Albert Pujols stopping short of second base to distract the Tampa Bay fielder. The Angels' star center fielder may be a Trout, but he’s also a wascally wabbit.
Why yes, I’ll log off. Why do you ask?
It’s been a frustrating week and change for the Cubs. There were losses at the hands of the Marlins, a Dexter Fowler injury, and their first series loss to the lowly Reds of the year. How could it get worse?
Oh, buddy. It can always get worse. Enter the Atlanta Braves, and a rain delay.
Jason Hammel has been struggling recently, and he left the game with cramps in his pitching hand. The game would eventually go to extra innings, but not before Jeff Francouer took exception to being pitched inside to, since Hector Rondon was clearly trying to hit him in the ninth inning of a tie game or something. The benches would clear for a good old-fashioned standing around and shoving and being big gruff manly men.
Because life is pain, the Cubs would go on to lose. Nick Markakis had his first multi-homer game in roughly half a century. It was that kind of night. Chicago limps onwards to the All-Star break, praying for a reprieve.
Defensive Play of the Day
Ketel Marte isn’t Francisco Lindor. He isn’t Carlos Correa, nor is he Xander Boegarts or Corey Seager. Because of this, it’s easy to lose track of him in the sudden cascade of young talented shortstops. That doesn’t mean that he can’t play.
In fact, Marte can play just fine.
What to Watch on Friday
In the remake of “Clash of the Titans,” Liam Neeson, playing the Greek god Zeus, so iconically bellowed an order to “Release the Kraken!” Thor is not a member of the Greek pantheon, but he is a god no less, and there will indeed be a clash of the titans tonight in Flushing, as the mighty Noah Syndergaard will have to contend with fellow All-Star Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals at 7:10 EST. This is must-see TV of the highest order. Yoenis Cespedes. Bryce Harper. The ridiculous Daniel Murphy. Jeurys Familia, the Danza Kaduro king himself. Catch this game.
An hour from then, two exciting young pitchers will go head to head in the worst place possible for exciting young pitchers. Vince Velasquez and the Phillies are at Coors Field to play Jon Gray and the Rockies. Neither team is much to write home about (the Phillies much more so than the Rockies), but these are two of the emerging pitchers in the game, and it’ll be fun to see just how into the stratosphere Maikel Franco will be able to launch a baseball. Plus, Nolan Arenado defense. There’s always that.
For your late night viewing, the unstoppable train of the San Francisco Giants barrels into Arizona, much to Patrick Corbin’s chagrin. The DBacks haven’t been very good and it’s possible that they smell blood in the water. The Shark, Jeff Samardizja, will toe the rubber for San Francisco. I could go on about a sacrificial Lamb, but Jake Lamb and his buddy Paul Goldschmidt aren’t exactly pushovers. It should make for a good contest.
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