The Thursday Takeaway
Back on Tuesday night, Cleveland and Boston treated the baseball world to a spectacle of a game that had all of the ingredients of an instant classic. There were multiple lead changes, amazing highlights, and a ninth inning that resulted in one of the most exciting walk-off wins that you'll see this season. What that game's ending gave us in excitement, that's what Thursday's ending between the Rockies and Mets gave us in strangeness.
This game wasn't on par with the Fenway classic that we saw, but it was still an entertaining one. This was also a game that the Rockies needed to win in order to keep pace with the Diamondbacks and also keep the Brewers a safe distance away from them. Colorado got things going on the third inning when they strung together four consecutive hits to go up 2-0.
The next four innings swayed in favor of New York, though. The Mets scored one run in each of the next four frames—the first run being a bomb from Yoenis Cespedes. He's been scuffling of late, but a dinger could possibly be the tonic that cures his recent woes at the plate.
The four runs that the Mets scored in those frames were enough to tie things up 4-4, and it headed into the bottom of the ninth still tied. That’s when Hansel Robles was given the ball for his second inning of relief duty for the Mets, which is something that they probably shouldn’t have done with the clarity of hindsight.
Robles had numbness in fingers pitching the ninth. In the eighth he landed awkwardly and pinched his genitals, prompting Ray Ramirez visit.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 3, 2017
So with that in mind, Robles went out there for the ninth inning and threw 18 pitches. Only one of those pitches was a called strike. The only out he recorded was a sacrifice bunt, and that came after he led off the inning by hitting Jonathan Lucroy. Of those 18 pitches, 10 were balls. That included the final pitch of the game, which landed at the backstop.
That’s the story of how the Rockies picked up a walk-off victory without even getting a base hit in the ninth inning. Walk-off walks are fun, but manufacturing a game-winning run solely due to walks is something else. For the Rockies, it was a precious victory when you consider the results elsewhere, and for the Mets it was another reminder of how poorly 2017 has gone for them.
Before we get into what happened on the field in Chicago, we have to touch on the fact that the Arizona’s bullpen should probably take up bobsledding as a hot stove hobby during the winter.
Before and after the rain delay hijinx, Paul Goldschmidt decided to remind us what he’s capable of. Goldschmidt has been hitting at a clip similar to what he produced during his 9.2 WARP season back in 2015, and he showed off his power stroke on Thursday evening. Goldy hit a trio of home runs—including the go-ahead shot that eventually put the Diamondbacks ahead for good in a 10-8 slugfest.
I’d be remiss to not mention the fact that Wilson Contreras matched Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI total on the day, with a pair of dingers as well. They both had six RBIs and on a normal day, that may have been enough to push Chicago to victory. That wasn’t the case on Thursday for Chicago.
The focus may have been on Sonny Gray and his debut as a Yankees starter, but Corey Kluber decided to nab the attention for himself. Kluber delivered his third complete game of the 2017 campaign as he befuddled the Yankees by only giving up three hits while striking out 11. The only man who managed to get something past Kluber was Gary Sanchez—other than that, it was the Corey Kluber show in Cleveland on Thursday night.
Fresh off of snapping a lengthy win streak (both in terms of wins and in terms of winning games in which the Dodgers had a lead), the Braves saw a couple of players reach milestones. For starters, Nick Markakis now has 2,000 hits under his belt and it came in typical Nick Markakis fashion—a single.
Later on in the game, Ozzie Albies hit his first career home run. It may have just snuck over the wall in left-center field but hey, a dinger is a dinger.
However, the Dodgers left Cobb County with what mattered most, and Alex Wood exacted a bit of revenge for the last time he ran into the Braves by having a much better outing this time around. He only gave up one earned run over six innings of work, which was way better than the disastrous outing he had against Atlanta in Los Angeles.
Brandon Moss has hit 152 home runs so far during his career. He went into Thursday’s game against the Mariners having hit 14 home runs against them. By the time the game was over, the Royals had a 6-4 victory in their back pocket and Moss increased his home run total against Seattle to 16. Unfortunately for Seattle, Moss still has three more games to add to that tally.
The Brewers beat the Cardinals 2-1, and St. Louis is probably going to look back on this game and wonder what would’ve happened had this fly ball from Jose Martinez actually gone over the fence for a solo home run. Instead of putting the Cardinals ahead by one in the first inning, Keon Broxton robbed St. Louis of what ended up being a precious run.
Defensive Play of the Day
The ruleset for giving out this honor isn’t set in stone or written in permanent ink, but if it were then I’d imagine if you get a triple play then you get the award over anything else that happened. So congratulations to the Baltimore Orioles—your triple play wins the day.
What to Watch on Friday
While the Cubs and Diamondbacks were playing their rain-delayed marathon of a game, the Nationals flew into Chicago in order to prepare for what should definitely be an interesting three-game series. The Nationals are currently cruising towards another NL East title, while the Cubs are starting to hit their stride. The Diamondbacks proved to be a stiff test for Chicago, and it’s only going to get tougher for them this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Yankees and Indians have got the second game of their four-game series tonight. This will be the second night in a row where the Yankees will have a new starter making their debut for them, as Jaime Garcia (4.86 DRA, 100 cFIP) will be taking the ball after making just one single start for Minnesota.