The Monday and Holiday Takeaway
There were two putrid pitching performances on Monday. In one, Wade Miley of the Orioles allowed seven runs in only an inning-and-a-third of work against the Brewers in what turned out to be an 8-1 loss. The game also included a really bad baserunning play that somehow turned into a run for the Brewers.
This is dumb, dumb play and Orlando Arcia had no business going home, and yet he was rewarded for it. That’s the thing about baseball, you never know what you’re gonna get. No, wait, that’s a box of chocolates. Anyway, it was just that kind of an afternoon for the poor Orioles. It happens.
The second putrid pitching performance was from poor Jeff Locke of the Marlins, who surrendered 11 runs on 11 hits in 2 2/3 thirds innings against the Cardinals. He struck out two and walked four. He earned his fifth loss of the season and became the first pitcher to give up 11 earned runs while not giving up a homer since Scott Schoeneweis of Anaheim on May 23, 2001. And then after the game he was designated for assignment.
In other putrid pitching news, the Nationals’ bullpen was at it again on Monday. This time, Matt Albers came in to try and secure a 2-0 victory against the Mets in the top of the ninth with two outs and a runner on base when he gave up a game-tying home run to Curtis Granderson. Luckily for Albers, that’s all he’d allow and the Nats would walk it off in the bottom of the frame and win, 3-2.
The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka had been putrid for most of the season, but turned things around recently and it was more of the same on Monday night against the Blue Jays. During his last three starts, including his seven-inning, one-run performance against Toronto, Tanaka has held opponents to a .192 batting average, has a 1.29 ERA, and hasn’t surrendered a home run. He’s only walked five and has struck out 22.
Clayton Kershaw is not putrid and he honored America on the Fourth of July by taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Diamondbacks. Chris Owings ended it by hitting an infield single on Kershaw’s 102nd offering. Kershaw currently has a streak of three straight starts without giving up an earned run. It’s his first such streak since September 14-24, 2016.
Kershaw’s closer nearly ruined the game for him by surrendering a three-run home run to Daniel Descalso in the top of the ninth inning and turning what was a nice 4-0 game into a sweaty, nerve-wrecking 4-3 game. Fortunately for Dodgers fans, and for Kershaw, Kenley Jansen got Chris Herrmann to strike out swinging with a runner on first to end the game.
Yonder Alonso hit two home runs on Independence Day.
So did Andrew McCutchen.
So did Andrew Benintendi. He also had five hits in total, six RBIs, and scored four runs. He’s one of the youngest players to pull off that feat. He joins such luminaries as Joe DiMaggio (1937) and Andruw Jones (1999).
Aaron Judge only hit one home run, his league-leading 28th, but he also dented part of Yankee Stadium.
The Astros are 30 games above .500 and they continued their winning ways by crushing the Braves 16-4 in Atlanta. George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Josh Reddick, the top three hitters in their lineup, were a combined 10-for-16 with nine RBIs. Each of them hit a home run, Springer and Altuve hit doubles, and they combined to score eight runs. In fun news, the Astros’ magic number is 62 and at this rate, they should probably send out invoices to their season-ticket holders for playoff tickets. It’s getting late early, in a good way.
Back to the A’s, Alonso wasn’t the only one going deep. Franklin Barreto sent everyone home with some Fourth of July fireworks in the form of a walk-off dinger.
Stephen Vogt has come alive since joining the first place Brew Crew. He hit his third home run in six games since joining the team.
The Brewers won 6-2.
Don’t look now but the Royals are right in the thick of things in the AL Central, only a game-and-a-half behind Cleveland thanks a 7-3 win over the Mariners. Home Run Derby participant and Final Vote nominee Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer to help lead the Royals to victory.
The Cubs and Rays met up in a battle of Joe Maddon’s current and former clubs, and the former club prevailed. Chris Archer helped his own cause hitting an RBI single—his first career hit—in a five-run fourth inning that led the Rays to a 6-5 victory over Jon Lester and the Cubs.
Defensive Play(s) of the Day(s)
Dustin Pedroia made a play that made everyone freak out on Monday night. Judge for yourselves.
Benintendi didn’t only shine at the plate on Tuesday night, he also made a nifty play in the field. Mike Napoli hit the ball well into left field and he probably thought that maybe he’d have at least a double. Nope. Try again, sir.
Freddie Freeman is back and he’s playing third base now. He made a play there on Tuesday night. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but he didn’t muff it so good for him.
What to Watch on Wednesday
Did you know that the Rays’ Blake Snell (5.30 DRA, 104 cFIP) still hasn’t won a decision? It’s true and on Wednesday afternoon at 2:20 pm ET, he will try to get his first win of the season against John Lackey (6.46 DRA, 112 cFIP) and the Cubs.