keyboard_arrow_uptop

The Monday Takeaway

MLB’s attack on baseballs continued Monday, with Eric Thames leading the charge. The Brewers’ first baseman connected on two more long balls, bringing his season total to 10. And somehow even more impressive than that, they were his sixth and seventh homers against the Reds. Thames is currently on pace to hit 80 home runs. No one is able to keep up that kind of pace, but for now Thames’ at-bats are must-see TV.

He hit a home run to right-center field in the first inning and went opposite field in the next inning. With five games left to play this month, the April record of 14 homers set in 2006 by Albert Pujols and tied by Alex Rodriguez in 2007 may be challenged by Thames. And boy will it be fun to see if he can do it.

Another player who seems to enjoy belting home runs is Rays leadoff hitter Corey Dickerson, who hit his third leadoff dinger of the season—and fifth total—against Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

Tampa Bay has scored 25 runs in the first inning. Dickerson has hit leadoff home runs against the Yankees, the Astros, and the Orioles, but it wasn’t enough for the Rays to win Monday.

Rays starter Chris Archer got himself into and out of trouble a few times against the Orioles, but it was that fourth time that knocked him out of the game. In the sixth inning, he surrendered back-to-back jacks to Hyun-Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop, which tied the game at five. Kim hit a four-seam fastball that got a little too much of the plate. Schoop hit a first-pitch slider.

Archer pitched into the seventh, but walked Seth Smith and gave up a two-run home run on a slider to Adam Jones that put the Orioles up 5-3.

Archer got Manny Machado to line out and struck out Chris Davis before manager Kevin Cash removed him from the game. Archer’s final line was a weird one: 6 2/3 innings, five runs on six hits (three home runs), five walks, and five strikeouts. He’s now 2-1.

Rays outfielder Steven Souza, who was last week’s American League Player of the Week, was celebrating his 28th birthday on Monday while trying to extend his seven-game hitting streak. Unfortunately, he went 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts before leaving the game with an elbow injury. It was a far cry from his 27th birthday, when he hit two home runs against the Yankees in an 8-1 victory.

Another streak that was halted at seven Monday was the Nationals’ winning streak. The Nats flew into the Mile High city looking for their eighth win in a row but the Rockies had different idea. Things were actually looking good for the Nats, who were leading 4-1 after a four-run top of the sixth broke a 0-0 tie. The Rockies then scored seven unanswered runs (two in the sixth, two in the seventh, and three in the eighth) and didn’t look back—Nationals reliever Blake Treinen faced five batters in the eighth and gave up five singles in a row. The Nats threatened in the top of the ninth after a Jayson Werth double and a Michael Taylor walk, but pinch-hitter Bryce Harper grounded out to end the game.

Neither Souza nor the Nationals couldn’t reach eight, the White Sox did, in one inning against the Royals. They were already leading the game 4-1 when the offense exploded in the sixth inning.

It was the first time the White Sox had an eight-run inning since 2012, when they did it against the Rangers. They went on to beat the now 7-12 Royals, 12-1.

Quick Hits

The Cubs got their revenge for their sweep at the hands of the Pirates in Wrigley. The defending champs marched into Pittsburgh and scored seven runs off Pirates starter Chad Kuhl in 1 1/3 innings. Kuhl gave up those seven runs on seven hits, including a three-run home run in the first by Jason Heyward and a three-run double in the second by Ben Zobrist. He also walked three and struck out one batter.

So far in his career, Kuhl has had a not-so-cool time against the Cubs:

The final score was Bears 14, Steelers 3.

The Dodgers and Giants played a nail-biter that ended on a Justin Turner baserunning blunder in the top of the ninth. With Adrian Gonzalez at the plate, Turner wandered off second a little too far after Gonzalez swung at strike two of the at-bat and he was nailed by a great throw by Buster Posey to end the game. It’s a well known rule of baseball: you should never make the third out at third base. Well, you should also never make the last out of the game at second base. The Giants took Game 1 of the series, 2-1.

The other west coast game also ended with a 2-1 score. The Angels beat the Blue Jays, who fell to 5-14. Toronto got their lone run on a solo shot by Russell Martin, his second of the year.

There were 18 home runs hit on Monday and only two games didn’t feature at least one home run: The Twins' 3-2 win over the Rangers and the Giants' 2-1 win over the Dodgers.

Defensive Play of the Day

Yasiel Puig nails Brandon Belt at home:

What to Watch for Tuesday

The Yankees and Red Sox will meet for the first time in 2017. The series is at Fenway Park and the first game is scheduled to feature starters Luis Severino and reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello—if the weather holds up. The forecast doesn’t look great this week. The teams are currently in second and third place behind the division leading Orioles and both teams look a bit different than their 2016 counterparts. There’s no more David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira. Now there’s Andrew Benintendi, Aaron Judge, and younger players who should help this already storied rivalry continue. (7:10 ET)

Three starters—Dallas Keuchel (0.96 ERA, 0.55 DRA), Ervin Santana (0.64 ERA, 1.58 DRA), and Clayton Kershaw (2.54 ERA, 1.81 DRA)—are looking for their fourth win of the season on Tuesday night; Keuchel against the defending American League champion Indians, Santana against the Rangers, and Kershaw against the rival Giants. Keuchel (6:10 ET) looks like he’s returned to his 2015 form when he won the Cy Young award. He’s given up 16 hits in 28 innings while only walking six batters and striking out 22. The 34 year-old Santana (8:05 ET) has only given up nine hits in 28 innings while walking eight and striking out 20. He’s holding opposing batters to a miniscule .114 BABIP. Kershaw’s (10:15 ET) ERA may be a bit higher than Keuchel and Santana, but he’s only walked two batters while striking out 32 in 28 1/3 innings.