The Monday Takeaway
Before Monday night’s game between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, the big news for Arizona was that slugger Paul Goldschmidt was being sent back to Phoenix for an MRI on his balky right elbow. In some instances, losing a player who’s hitting .314/.424/.597 with 34 home runs and 109 RBIs could cause a team falter a bit or at least reel from the news. But not the Diamondbacks and definitely not on Monday night.
Whatever fears Diamondbacks fans may have had about their lineup were short-lived thanks to J.D. Martinez, who hit four home runs against Dodgers pitching. He’s the first Diamondbacks player to accomplish the feat and he’s the second player to do it this year—Scooter Gennett of the Reds did it back on June 6. He’s the first right-handed batter to do it since Mike Cameron back in May of 2002.
Some fun facts about Martinez’s night:
Look at where the Dodgers were throwing to him. You’d think by the third home run, they’d stop doing it. Nope.
Here’s no. 1 off Rich Hill:
Here’s no. 2 off Pedro Baez:
Here’s no. 3 off Josh Fields:
Here’s no. 4 off Wilmer Font:
Have yourself a day, J.D. Martinez.
Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray was also resplendent against the Dodgers on Monday, but because of Martinez’s feat his performance will probably get overlooked. Ray pitched 7 2/3 innings, gave up only three hits, and struck out 14 batters. He didn’t walk anyone and he set down the Dodgers in order until the bottom of the sixth when Logan Forsythe hit a single. He’d give up a single to Justin Turner and another to Forsythe, but that would be all the Dodgers could muster against him. He had his slider and fastball working all night and the Dodgers couldn’t do anything.
The Diamondbacks are now on an 11-game winning streak and have a 6.5-game lead for the first National League Wild Card slot. The Dodgers have lost four in a row and they’re 1-9 in their last 10 games. They are still 12.5 games up on the Diamondbacks and it would take a collapse of Metsian proportions for them to blow their division lead. So don’t fret, Dodgers fans. They’ll be fine. We think.
Oh hey, the Indians are on a bit of a streak. They’ve now won 12 games in a row, which is the longest streak by any team in the majors this year. Starter Trevor Bauer is also on a bit of a streak. He hasn’t lost a decision since July and he won his eighth decision in a row on Monday.
Carlos Santana also hit his 22nd home run of the year:
Jose Ramirez hit his 23rd home run of the year:
Bauer pitched 6 1/3 strong innings. He gave up two runs on three hits—one was a home run by Rymer Liriano—he walked one and struck out nine. The Indians’ win over the White Sox officially eliminated Chicago from playoff contention—not that they had a shot—and it drops Cleveland’s magic number to clinch the AL Central to 17. It awhile to going, but the Indians are rolling again.
Giancarlo Stanton hit another home run. It was his 53rd of the season and it broke a camera.
But the Marlins dropped their game to the Nationals, whose magic number to win the National League East is now down to 10.
It was Seager’s 20th of the year and it tied the game, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Mariners, who fell to the Astros, 6-2. The Astros' magic number to clinch the AL West is down to 12. With the loss, the Mariners’ record dropped to 69-69. (Say it …) Nice.
Baltimore opened up to a 3-0 lead on Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery. Then the Yankees woke up—they got into their Baltimore hotel at 2:45 a.m. after playing the Sunday Night ESPN game against the Red Sox—and they scored seven unanswered runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings combined. They’d go on to win the game, 7-4.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius hit his 20th home run. He’s reached that milestone for the second year in a row and if you can believe it, he’s the first Yankees shortstop to accomplish that feat—20 home runs in back-to-back seasons. And no, Derek Jeter never did it.
The Yankees' win coupled with the Red Sox's loss to the Blue Jays trimmed Boston’s lead in the American League East division to 2.5 games. It also increased the Yankees’ lead in the Wild Card standings to three games over the Twins, who dropped their game to the Rays.
The Blue Jays hit four home runs against the Red Sox including Justin Smoak going deep for the 37th time this season.
If things continue in this manner, the Yankees may need to send the Blue Jays and Rays cookies and/or flowers by the end of the week.
Defensive Play of the Day
Poor Mikie Mahtook. On Sunday, against the Indians, this happened to him:
MLB Hangtime. pic.twitter.com/TnlXrAxWPa
— MLB (@MLB) September 4, 2017
And Monday afternoon, against the Royals, this happened in almost the same exact spot!
How is this even possible? Yes, it’s a great play by Alex Gordon and he timed it perfectly, but man, look at pained expression on Mahtook’s face. Here he is thinking he's hit a home run and he even exchanges a slap of the hand with his first base coach. And then he gets nothing. What a bummer.
What To Watch On Tuesday
There are a lot of things to watch on Tuesday. You have games with Wild Card implications: Yanks-O’s: CC Sabathia (11-5) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (2-3) and Twins-Rays: Bartolo Colon (4-2) vs Jake Odorizzi (7-7). You also have pitchers looking for big number wins: Royals-Tigers Jason Vargas (14-9) vs Anibal Sanchez (3-3), Brewers-Reds Zach Davies (16-7) vs Robert Stephenson (3-4), Phillies-Mets Ben Lively (2-30 vs Jacob deGrom (14-8).
Then you have Justin Verlander making his Astros debut against the Mariners. He’ll be facing off against Ariel Miranda (8-6), but all eyes will be on Verlander, who will be pitching for a team other than the Tigers for the first time in his 13-year career. (10:10p ET)
And you finally have the Diamondbacks and Dodgers battling again with Zack Greinke looking for win no. 17 against a reeling Dodgers team. (10:10p ET)