The Monday Takeaway
Astros reliever Ken Giles has given up seven runs on the year and is sporting a 3.44 ERA, but five of the seven runs were given up during three not-so-great appearances on April 6, 11, and 15. Since then Giles has been almost lights out and he now has eight perfect appearances at home. Opposing batters are 0-for-21 against him during that streak and he now has 12 saves on the season.
His bread and butter this season has been his slider. Giles has used it more than 50 percent of the time. He also tends to throw it when he’s ahead in the count against batters rather than behind in the count. When that happens, he’ll go to his four-seam fastball instead. Hey, whatever works, right?
In Monday’s somewhat sweaty 1-0 win over the Tigers, Giles struck out Justin Upton to open the ninth inning and struck out Alex Avila to secure the win. With a 2-2 count against Avila, Giles went to his four-seam fastball.
The Astros have to be thrilled with how Giles is performing. Last season, he finished the year with a 4.11 ERA in 69 games and 65 2/3 innings). He also pitched 69 games in 2015 for the Phillies and finished with a 1.80 ERA in 70 innings. If Giles is back to his 2015 form, and starter Dallas Keuchel is back to his 2015 form (and recovers from the pinched nerve that he’s on the disabled list for right now), the Astros will be in good shape.
It seems Sports Illustrated may have been right after all when they said that Houston would win the 2017 World Series. Many people thought it was hilarious at the time, but they are currently 30-15 and have the best record in baseball. They didn’t win their 30th game of 2016 until June 11.
His home run was part of a five-run second inning for the Orioles against the Twins. Unfortunately, the Orioles didn’t hold on as the Twins scored a combined two runs in the third and fourth innings, and a combined 10 runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Minnesota tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth inning thanks to a home run by Miguel Sano, his 11th of the year. He finished the night with four hits and three RBIs.
The Twins won 14-6.
In news that seems fake when you say it outloud: Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson have 12 home runs apiece for the Rays. Dickerson, who is having a grand old time as the Rays’ leadoff hitter, is batting .345/.394/.644 in 44 games this season, and also has 12 doubles to go along with his 12 home runs. Monday’s dinger was of the leadoff variety, which tied the game at one. It also happened to be Dickerson’s birthday. JC Ramirez decided that a 2-0 fastball would be a great present and Dickerson quickly deposited the ball into the left field seats.
Morrison, who had a breakout year in 2011 when he hit 23 home runs for the Marlins, hadn’t shown much power since then. Last season, he hit 14 homers in 107 games. With the way things are going this season, he’ll surpass that number very soon. It wasn’t Morrison’s birthday but Ramirez sure gave him a nice a present, a 2-1 fastball that got way too much of the plate and Morrison sent it into the right field seats to put the Rays up 2-1.
The Angels tied the game on a catwalk home run by Cameron Maybin. On the catwalk, yeah. (If that song is going to get stuck in my head, it’s going to get stuck in yours too.)
And the Angels ended up winning the game thanks to a bases-loaded wild pitch by Ryne Stanek in the seventh inning.
Brett Gardner is on fire. He went deep again on Monday night against the Royals at Yankee Stadium. The homer was his ninth of the season and also his ninth in the last 21 games. This is noteworthy because the veteran outfielder and longest-tenured Yankee only hit seven home runs all of last season. It was a solo shot off Royals starter Jason Vargas, which cut the Royals' lead in half, 2-1.
Before Monday’s game, the Yankees unveiled a new hot spot in right field:
They pick 18 random fans to sit in the Judge’s Chambers and provide them with judges robes adorned with interlocking NY’s.
In Ender Inciarte must be psychic news: The Braves outfielder tried to make a bet with teammate Dansby Swanson before their game against Pittsburgh. He told Swanson that if he (Inciarte) got five hits on Monday night, Swanson would have to cut his luxurious locks of hair. Swanson didn’t bite, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but Inciarte did end up hitting five singles in Atlanta’s 5-2 win over the Pirates. Maybe we should find out if Inciarte has Powerball or Mega Millions numbers he’d like to share with us.
Defensive Play of the Day
Here’s your everyday 5-2-3 double play by the White Sox against the Diamondbacks.
What to Watch on Tuesday
Danny Duffy shut down the Yankees' lineup last week, striking out 10 in seven scoreless innings in a 5-1 win in Kansas City. On Tuesday night, Duffy will be matched up with Jordan Montgomery again. Will he be able to shut down the Bronx Bombers again or will they figure him out this time? (7:05 ET)
Matt Harvey will be pitching at home for the first time since his team suspension earlier this month. He is 2-6 on the year and hasn’t won a game since April 11 against the Phillies. In his last outing, on May 17, Harvey didn’t factor in the decision but gave up three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked four batters, struck out five, and surrendered a home run. (7:10 ET)
Clayton Kershaw is looking for win no. 8 on the season. He will go up against Lance Lynn (4-2) and the Cardinals. In nine starts, Kershaw has struck out 62 batters while only walking eight. His ERA is 2.15. Lynn, who won four starts in a row from April 17 to May 5, is looking for his elusive fifth win of the season. (10:10 EST)