10 Important Stories from 04/01/19 Box Scores: Clevinger Turning Into An Elite, Urias Stars In Return & More

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It’s always a great thing to start off the week with close to a full slate of games. The problem though, was that Pittsburgh’s home opener was a matinee so it was a rush to the first true lineup lock of the season. However at the same time, it was nice to have some afternoon baseball to enjoy. Let’s jump right into take a look at some of the performances that stood out to me from a busy day on the diamond.

1) Hicks Bounces Back
Regardless of what Andrew Miller used to be, I don’t think it’s even up for debate that Jordan Hicks is the best reliever in the St. Louis bullpen. So far this season, after a rough and injury plagued 2018, it hasn’t been smooth going for Miller in his new home. On Monday, Miller walked the one batter he faced without recording an out, and through five games, his ERA sits at 9.00. Now, Miller still needs to be owned as he will ultimately pick up some saves this season, but Hicks is truly the pitcher to target. Yesterday, Hicks bounced back from a blown save over the weekend to pitch two scoreless innings for the victory. The right-hander struck out two batters while not allowing a hit and just walking a batter. And any mention of the Cardinals should also include Kolten Wong who continued on his hot start with his third home run of the season. The second baseman was a popular FAAB addition over the weekend, and while you want to resist the urge to buy in too heavily on him, Wong certainly warrants some attention.

2) A Career Day for Clevinger
While it didn’t result in a victory for the right-hander, it was hard to argue with Mike Clevinger’s success on Monday. Again, it did take place against the Chicago White Sox so it has to be taken with somewhat of a grain of salt, but it was an encouraging sign as we look to Clevinger to take the next step this season. In seven innings of work, Clevinger limited Chicago to just one hit and three walks while striking out a career high 12 batters. He did need 106 pitches to get through the start, 62 for strikes, but it certainly was a good sign to see Clevinger avoid trouble.

3) An Unlikely Shot at History…
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the final score, but Baltimore flirted with a no-hitter on Monday. We don’t want to be a broken record, however at the same time, it has to be noted, that the opponent was Toronto. Despite the no-hitter, Baltimore stayed true to David Hess’ pitch count and removed him after 6.1 innings of work. Hess limited Toronto to just one walk while striking out eight batters on 82 pitches. The Blue Jays ultimately ended up coming back to within a run, but that shouldn’t take away from Hess’ success. At the same time though, we are talking about a pitcher with a career ERA of 4.51 in 111.2 major league innings, so this really shouldn’t change how we view Hess.

4) Lowe Cleans Things Up…
Playing time hasn’t been consistent for Brandon Lowe so far this season, but when he has been in the lineup, it has been as the clean-up hitter. However, now with Joey Wendle heading to the Injured List, playing time should become more abundant for Lowe. It is also a good sign for him that Tampa Bay is clearly committed to him as they gave him a contract extension prior to the beginning of the season. On Monday, Lowe went deep for the first time this season, a two run shot, as part of a two hit effort to raise his batting average to .154.

5) A Bright Spot for the Yankees…
On a day that saw Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar head to the Injured List, New York did get a bit of good news as Domingo German picked up his first victory of the season. German allowed just one unearned run on one hit while striking out seven batters in five innings of work. To throw a little bit of cold water on the fire though, German did walk five batters. Control will be an issue for the young right-hander, but it’s also clear that he brings a pretty good repertoire to the table. As long as German continues to pitch like this, he will remain in the rotation.

6) Peacock Flies Strong…
Alright, so as far as puns or plays on words go, it’s not my best work, but Brad Peacock certainly impressed on Monday. Houston’s fifth starter didn’t pitch like one against the Rangers as a Ronald Guzman solo home run was his lone blemish. Peacock allowed just one other hit over 6.2 innings of work while not walking a batter and striking out five. After posting a 3.46 ERA out of the bullpen last season in 61 games, one start, the right-hander has gotten off on the right foot as he looks to transition back into a starting role.

7) The First Of Many…
While it was clearly the correct decision, in today’s climate, we still have to give the Padres credit for taking Fernando Tatis Jr north with them to begin the season. In what was an otherwise forgettable game for San Diego, their young phenom at least provided a bright spot. We had a pitching match-up between two buzz worthy pitchers, Matt Strahm and Merrill Kelly, and only one delivered. Strahm allowed five runs on eight hits in just 2.2 innings, but despite those struggles I wouldn’t send him to the waiver wire just yet, as Kelly picked up a quality start and the victory by allowing three runs over six innings. Now with Kelly, I was somewhat skeptical entering this week, so it will be interesting to see how he follows up later in the week. And his lone blemish, was courtesy of a two run blast from Tatis who got on the board with his first career home run and first two RBI’s. We should also note that Arizona called up top pitching prospect Jon Duplantier earlier in the day and he pitched the final three innings for the save allowing just one hit while not walking a batter and striking out two.

8) Pinder Drives in Three…
Regardless of the fact that Oakland acquired Kendrys Morales or whatever other personal they might accumulate, Chad Pinder will continue to have a role as a super utility player. That is of course, as long as he continues to hit. Last night, Pinder came through as he went deep for the first time this season (a two run shot) as he drove in three as part of a two hit effort. Pinder is now hitting .238 on the season with four RBI, but at this point the season, you don’t need me to tell you how fluid batting averages are.

9) This is What We Came For…
Mallex Smith found his way onto our draft boards for one reason, and one reason alone; stolen bases. Yes, he does hit for a solid batting average and he will score runs batting atop Seattle’s lineup, but its the stolen bases we really want. Last night, Smith got on base three times (two singles and a walk), scored a run, but most importantly, stole this first two bases of the season. Smith is now hitting .294 on the season with four runs scored. In fact, given the success Seattle’s offense has been having this season, it is slightly surprising that Smith has only scored four runs so far in 2019.

10) Finish on a High Note…
Regardless of who the opponent was, the San Francisco Giants, we can’t discount how dominant Julio Urias looked last night. The Dodgers were careful with their, still, 23 year-old phenom as they lifted him after five shutout innings and 77 pitches (51 strikes). Urias limited the Giants to just three hits as he struck out seven batters to start the season off on a high note. We can expect to see Los Angeles monitor Urias’ innings throughout the season, but his season debut has to make you feel optimistic.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Prof, I asked earlier last week about trading Brantley for Dahl, i didn’t follow through with it, but have someone kicking the tires on offering me Conforto for him. What do you think about this one? I would love to have Conforto if he’s finally going tl live up to the potential

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