The Monday Takeaway
The fun thing about this column is that the writers get to choose what you need to know. It’s our call, and having that power is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, especially on a night like Monday when there are only eight matchups. What if those matchups turn out to be boring? What if nothing especially exciting happens?
Well, thank goodness for the Indians’ offense exploding against the Rangers. At first, I was going to focus on the Rangers, because they had jumped all over Carlos Carrasco to start the game. When the top of the first ended, Texas starter Cole Hamels was gifted with a 4-0 lead. And what a way to make your return to the majors after being on the disabled list for 50 days, right?
Wrong. Hamels may have escaped the bottom of first inning unscathed, but he was having some control issues all night and it was just a matter of time before they caught up to him. And boy did they ever. Texas was up 4-1 after the first inning. They were up 7-1 after the second inning. They were up 9-3 after four innings. And then …
Another part of writing this column is that you try your best to keep up with every game that’s on, so I had four games on my computer screen and a game on my TV. So I turned my attention to the other games for a little while. I’m not exactly sure how long it was, but it didn’t seem like very long before I looked at the game in the bottom left-hand corner of my computer screen and saw a score of 10-9. I did a double-take, then hit the MLB scorebug extension I have on Google Chrome and saw it again; Cleveland had taken a 10-9 lead and they had two runners on base.
Hamels exited the game with one out in the bottom of the fifth. He gave up seven runs on eight hits. He walked four and struck out one batter. Cleveland then jumped all over Texas’ bullpen, scoring three runs off Tanner Scheppers, two off Alex Claudio, and three more off Preston Claiborne, who gave up four doubles. The only guy in the bullpen who escaped unscathed was Dario Alvarez, who gave up a hit and a walk in his appearance in the fifth inning when he relieved Hamels.
Cleveland went on to score 13 unanswered runs and won the game, 15-9. Carrasco wouldn’t factor in the decision, but how’s this for an odd pitching line? He pitched 3 1/3 innings, gave up eight runs on six hits, walked three, struck out seven, and surrendered three home runs. He will have to wait at least another five days for his ninth win of the season.
Last night's offensive outburst by Cleveland was the first time they’ve scored at least 15 runs without hitting a home run since July 31, 1983. On that day, the Indians beat the Blue Jays 16-11. Toby Harrah had two doubles, Pat Tabler had one, and Julio Franco hit a triple. Also on that day, the number one song in the U.S. was “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.
One of the first big plays on Monday was this solo shot from the Diamondbacks’ Chris Herrmann that went straight into the pool at Chase Field.
It was his seventh home run of the year and it gave the D'backs a quick 1-0 lead over the Phillies.
Zack Greinke entered the game 6-0 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts at Chase Field in 2017 and he picked up his ninth win of the season. Greinke allowed only three hits and three walks with five strikeouts in five innings of one-run ball. He got into a jam in the fifth, which elevated his pitch count, and he had to be taken out of the game after 102 pitches. Greinke hasn’t been able to complete six innings in three of his last four starts, but he still has solid numbers overall (3.08 ERA, 114 SO, 22 BB).
The Diamondbacks won, 6-1 and they’re only one-and-a-half games back of the surging Dodgers.
The Rockies continued to slide, losing their sixth in a row to the Giants, 9-2. Jeff Samardzija picked up the win with a solid performance. He lasted 6 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and he didn’t walk a batter. The Rockies have fallen to third place in the National League West, but are still in the thick of things with their 47-32 record.
On the other end of the streak spectrum, the Dodgers saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end courtesy of the Angels, but at least their fans had this throw from Yasiel Puig to marvel at:
Before the game began, I noticed this factoid in my Twitter timeline:
— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) June 26, 2017
Then thought to myself, “The Dodgers are definitely not hitting any home runs tonight.” Isn’t that always the way?
Chris Sale won another game. Ho hum. It was his 10th of the year. He outdueled Twins phenom Jose Berrios, but he must have been feeling a little under the weather because he only had nine strikeouts. Closer Craig Kimbrel earned his 21st save.
The Red Sox are still tied for first place with the Yankees in the American League East, by far the most competitive division in baseball. Only five-and-a-half games separate first place from last place, so it should be a lot of fun watching how everything unfolds through the summer and into September and October. Well, for everyone else, not fans of the teams in that division. Those poor folks will have a whole lot of agita.
Jordan Montgomery pitched well for the Yankees in their 6-5 win over the White Sox. He allowed only one run in seven strong innings of work and he struck out eight. His bullpen, on the other hand, nearly blew it for him. Chasen Shreve and Aroldis Chapman nearly blew a 6-1 lead in the ninth inning. Shreve allowed a three-run homer to Tim Anderson and Chapman gave up an RBI double to Jose Abreu to cut the Yankees' lead down to one. He was able to get the last two outs of the inning and escape with his eighth save of the season.
Speaking of agita, fans of the Nationals know what it’s like to have it. Their bullpen has made it so Nats fans experience agita nearly every day, but in a bit of a role reversal the Cubs’ bullpen decided to imitate the Nationals’ bullpen by nearly blowing a 5-0 lead in the ninth inning in Washington. Hector Rondon and Wade Davis combined to give up four runs and to make things even more nerve-wrecking for Cubs fans watching at home, Davis uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded to make it 5-4 with two outs and then got Ryan Zimmerman, he of 19 home runs, to strike out swinging to end the game.
Defensive Play(s) of the Day
The second, a sliding grab in foul territory in the eighth inning, for which he traveled a 132 feet.
Javier Baez…. Covering 132ft to make a great catch in foul territory. pic.twitter.com/XBxE0yGleU
— Daren Willman (@darenw) June 27, 2017
I guess that’s just Javy being Javy.
What To Watch On Tuesday
Jake Arrieta (3.96 DRA, 89 cFIP) faces off against Max Scherzer (1.70 DRA, 70 cFIP) in D.C. on Tuesday night. Arrieta is coming off a strong performance (seven innings, one run) and a win against the Marlins on June 22, while Scherzer is coming off what could have been a perfect game but instead turned into a loss on June 21. Scherzer struck out 11 batters and pitched a complete game in the loss. The Cubs won the first game of the series, so the Nats are looking to even things up. (7:05 ET)
The Athletics and the Astros are playing again. This time in Houston. Sean Manaea (4.05 ERA, 84 cFIP) and Mike Fiers (5.58 DRA, 117 cFIP) are facing off. Houston is 8-1 against Oakland so far this season. Both teams have winning streaks coming into the series, so who will prevail? I’d bet on Houston. So would Pete Rose, probably. (8:10 ET)