The Tuesday Takeaway
When Jordan Montgomery left Tuesday’s game after just one inning with an elbow injury, the Yankees bullpen picked up their teammate and shut down Houston the rest of the way en route to a huge early-season win. But with four games remaining against 2017 playoff teams before their next off day, the Yankees needed Wednesday starter Luis Severino to work deep and give the ‘pen the night off. New York’s ace was exceedingly up to the task.
It was the first career shutout for the 24-year-old, who struck out ten in the effort. Ensuring that the gem would not go to waste was Giancarlo Stanton, who took Dallas Keuchel deep to right field in the first inning and to left field in the fourth, en route to driving in all four Yankee runs:
The Yankees might have taken two games from this road series in Houston, but even the best of Luis Severino couldn’t save them from Astros’ mascot Orbit Wednesday night:
For over half a century, the Boston Red Sox’ career leader in three-home-run games was the great Ted Williams. Earlier this year, 25-year-old right fielder Mookie Betts matched Williams’ record. Wednesday night, Mookie took the record outright from Teddy Ballgame:
The three solo shots proved invaluable, as the Red Sox squeaked out a 5-4 victory over Kansas City. Betts missed the Sox’ prior three games with a hamstring injury—but it’s safe to say that whatever was bothering him is in the rear view mirror for the near future.
The New York Mets raced out to an early lead in the National League East, but have stumbled since the opening weeks of the season. Wednesday, the team took a one-two combo directly to the face.Things started innocently enough, with Jacob deGrom striking out six through four shutout innings. But deGrom came off wincing after a swing in the third, and after an additional inning of work he removed himself from the game. The diagnosis is a hyperextended elbow:
Compounding the misery, the Braves teed off on the bullpen and Sean Newcomb was on his A-game, tossing a two hitter over seven innings and keeping the Mets shut out. The win lifted Atlanta above the Mets into first place in the National League East.
“Yo dawg I heard you like diamonds on your diamonds…” – Yoenis Cespedes
“This is the guy that’s gotta start hittin’ with runners in scoring position,” said the Cleveland play-by-play guy somewhat prophetically as Edwin Encarnacion stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat of the game. He didn’t render any Ted Williams marks obsolete, so it might get lost in the shuffle, but Encarnacion did carry three parrots of his own Wednesday afternoon:
Sometimes you can do everything and it’s just not enough. Seattle pitcher James Paxton was magnificent Wednesday night—7 IP 5 H 0 ER and a personal best 16 K. But he was already 105 pitches deep into the outing, so Juan Nicasio came out for the eighth inning. Nicasio would cost Paxton his shot at the win when Jed Lowrie took him deep.
Defensive Sequence of the Day
Severino would never have gotten to his first career shutout if he didn’t get by with a little help from his friends. In the seventh inning the Astros got a pair of baserunners on with just one out, making their strongest threat of the day. Alex Bregman was the next hitter, and he hit a weak little flair out towards centerfield—but rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres came out of nowhere, ranging deep up the middle and reaching the ball at full acceleration.
Next up was Marwin Gonzalez, who hit a smash to the right side of the infield. First baseman Tyler Austin was able to get down and dirty to make the play in the infield and flip to Severino, which ended the threat.
What to Watch on Thursday
- The Blue Jays and Indians will play a doubleheader to make up for their April 14-15 rainouts. Jaime Garcia and Carlos Carrasco square off in the early billing, Joe Biagini vs Adam Plutko is the—decidedly less glamorous—pitching matchup later.
- The Astros and Yankees have one game remaining in their series, and it will be Masahiro Tanaka aiming to take it, with Lance McCullers aiming to even it.
- The Braves and Mets are separated atop the NL East by just half a game, and they’re playing tomorrow with the division lead hanging in the balance. It’s scheduled to be Julio Teheran for the Braves and Jason Vargas for the Mets.
- The A’s Sean Manaea will make his second start since throwing a no-hitter on the April 21. Countering him for the Mariners is Wade LeBlanc, who is scheduled to start for the first time since 2016. Switching from the rotation to the bullpen was a winning move for LeBlanc—will he remain effective going back to his old, failed job? Only time will tell.
[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post implied incorrectly that the Yankees had won three games in their series against the Astros.]