The Monday Takeaway
For someone whose year began with a battle for a fifth starter spot, Kyle Hendricks has had quite the impressive season—quietly pitching himself into the Cy Young conversation with the best ERA in baseball, though that’s certainly the most flattering statistical lens through which to view him (elsewhere: a 3.69 DRA, strikeout and walk rates slightly worse than what he posted last year, the fact that he rarely goes past the sixth inning). But that parenthetical serves mostly as a technical grain of salt to accompany a noteworthy year, and Monday, he came close to adding another dimension to that noteworthiness: a no-hitter.
Perfection was taken off the table early, with a walk in the second, but the opening frames were otherwise spotless. Hendricks made it through the first four innings in 39 pitches, with his signature control allowing little in the way of close calls and a few examples of Cardinals being made to look silly (see: Matt Carpenter here).
The Cubs gave him a cushion of run support to work with early on, and by the fifth, they’d built a 4-0 lead. Some solid defense was needed in the sixth to keep the no-hitter alive, but Addison Russell provided…
…as did Jason Heyward.
Hendricks added another walk in the eighth, but he still looked in control heading to the final inning, just three outs away from sealing the deal. And then, to lead off the ninth, Hendricks put Jeremy Hazelbaker in an 0-2 count and went with a changeup and—
No-hitter gone, shutout gone, Aroldis Chapman in to finish it up (though not without a little flare-up between Joes West and Maddon that ended in an ejection for the latter).
It didn’t take long for Wade Miley’s start against the Red Sox to unravel. The very first pitch of the game yielded a Dustin Pedroia single—followed by another from Xander Bogaerts and then yet another from David Ortiz. Just four pitches into the game, Miley had loaded the bases. And just as quickly as they had filled, they started to empty…
Four runs, no outs, and little hope for the Orioles just in the first inning. For Miley to make it through the rest of the inning required allowing the Red Sox to score once more, and though he returned to the mound afterward, he wasn’t given the chance to stick around for too long as his second inning looked much like his first (i.e., he loaded the bases before putting two outs on the board). Baltimore’s bullpen followed Miley’s disastrous outing with some similarly weak performance of their own, and the Red Sox went on to win by a score of 12-2.
Kansas City remains on the fringes of the Wild Card race, but they’re still playing to win, as evidenced by the fact that they went a bit extreme in playing match-ups with four pitchers in four batters… in the fourth inning. But their efforts proved fruitless, as Oakland got three runs out of the inning and exploded on offense from there. They ultimately beat the Royals 16-3, anchored by a five-run sixth inning that included this Marcus Semien shot.
Brian Dozier continued his crazy second half with his 40th home run of the season—the most by a player in a Twins uniform since 1970 and within spitting distance of the record for a second baseman (43, Davey Johnson). That makes 21 homers since August 1st, with a 1.128 OPS in that time. But, of course, most of that offense has come in losses, and the situation was no different Monday, as the Twins fell to the Tigers, 4-2.
Mat Latos? Bat Latos! The pitcher went yard for the first time since 2012, contributing to an 8-1 Nationals win over the Mets.
Defensive Play of the Day
A diving Dansby Swanson was too much for this grounder, complemented by a pretty flip to second for the forceout.
Unfortunately for Swanson, the rest of the game did not bode so well for him (though the Braves did beat the Marlins, 12-7):
— MLB (@MLB) September 13, 2016
What to Watch on Tuesday
Tuesday’s Julio Urias (20 as of a few weeks ago) and CC Sabathia (36) match-up is about as dramatic a young/old split as you can get, as the Dodgers take on the Yankees at 7:05 EST. The Yankees sit two games back of the second Wild Card spot, while the Dodgers are trying to grow their four-game lead atop the NL West.
The first Jharel Cotton start was a success, more than six innings of two-hit ball. The Oakland rookie will try to replicate last week’s performance against Kansas City, who are fighting for relevance from the outskirts of the playoff picture. Four games behind the second Wild Card spot in a crowded race, the Royals have little margin for error moving forward—and Danny Duffy on the mound should certainly help with that (7:15 EST).
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