by Will Overton
It’s becoming a regular thing to see a near no-hitter. Last night it was Adam Wainwright who took his no-no into the eighth inning. There was also the fast rising Madison Bumgarner turning in another start and Francisco Liriano returning for the Pirates. Those are just a few of the big storylines for the night, here is the full rundown:
- The first start of the season on a new team went better than anyone could hope for Francisco Liriano. The Pirates new starter went 5.1 IP allowing only one run while striking out nine. More importantly than almost anything is that he walked just two batters. On the other end of the spectrum the opposing pitcher Jonathan Niese giving up eight in 4.1 IP. At this point Niese can be dropped in standard leagues.
- For a week Jose Tabata was sidelined with a hamstring injury, since recovering he’s been hitting the ball all over the place. Tabata was 4 – 5 yesterday with 3 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. Tabata is now 7 – 11 the last three days and has been inserted right into the middle of the Pirates lineup. Tabata has shown blips of potential at different points in his career, let’s see if he can sustain some success here.
- Filling in for Neil Walker, Jordy Mercer has made a nice impression. Mercer went deep twice last night and has now hit three out of the park in eight games. Walker is supposed to return Monday so we’ll see what happens with Mercer who could still stay up and see time at SS.
- Last week Adam Wainwright had his first bad start of the season, last night he rebounded by carrying a no-hitter into the eighth. Wainwright threw a complete game shutout allowing two hits and striking out seven with just one walk. Wainwright picked up his fifth win last night and dropped his ERA to 2.30.
- After going homerless the first month of the season and a total of 59 AB’s, Adam Lind homered last night for the second time in three games. Lind had a total of three hits last night and is now 7 – 17 in his last five games. Things are picking up for Lind and his playing time should pick up as well.
- According to reports coming out of Washington D.C. before Friday Night’s game Ian Desmond made some small adjustments to his swing. Desmond has since homered in back to back games, giving him six on the season. He’s also got back to back three hit games. It looks a lot like last season was far from a fluke.
- The way this season has started for Madison Bumgarner you can’t help but wonder if he’s headed to the elite tier of pitching. Bumgarner allowed just one run in seven innings giving up 4 H, 2 BB and racking up 11 K’s. Bumgarner allowed five runs last time out, but that was quickly forgotten. This is now Bumgarner’s seventh start out of eight allowing two runs or less.
- Did anyone think Jay Bruce was really never going to break out in the power department? Bruce homered last night and also hit two doubles. He now has two HR’s and three doubles in his last three games. Now he just needs to do something about this 33% K rate he’s sporting.
- There was some hype behind Jean Segura in the preseason, but I don’t think anyone expected this kind of start. Last night Segura was 4 – 5 with 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 SB. Segura is now hitting .352 and has 6 HR’s and 9 SB’s. Segura showed a little pop in the minor leagues, but he’s not yet shown this kind of power. He’s clearly showing 20/20 potential at the age of just 23.
- He started the season out pretty roughly, but until last night Huston Street was turning things around. Street blew his first save of the season and watched his ERA balloon back up to 4.91. I wouldn’t be too worried about Street right now, but keep an eye on things here.
- Last night for the third time in four games Matt Dominguez had two hits in a game. Even better, both of Dominguez’s hits last night were HR’s, his first two HR’s of the season. Dominguez is 9 – 24 in his last seven games bringing his batting average up to .264. In his minor league career Dominguez showed some power potential and should pick things up in that area.
- The last two starts for Andy Pettite have not been so good and there have been some concerns about him. Pettite claims that before yesterday’s start he had been working on fixing a problem he had caught with his arm slot. If that’s the case it worked well as he allowed only two runs over seven innings. Pettite also struck out seven in the game. In the long run Pettite had two bad starts and he’s a veteran, I don’t think it’s a concern, especially if he did fix things.
- Things are really picking up right now Justin Morneau who is available in quite a few leagues. Morneau was 3 – 4 yesterday with 3 RBI. Morneau is hitting .339 in his last 14 games with 10 R and 15 RBI. It seems clear that the power is declining for Morneau, but he’s still a solid hitter and has value for all league formats.
- Four starts into the season and Ubaldo Jimenez ERA was all the way up to 10.06. Since that time he has won three straight starts. Last night Ubaldo allowed only one run in six innings to the red hot Tigers offense. He also struck out eight in the game. Jimenez has now allowed just three runs in 18.2 IP these last three games with 20 K and 6 BB. He may just be turning the corner back to respectability.
- After starting the month of May going just 6 – 29 at the plate Andre Ethier broke out last night with a 4 – 4 game including two doubles and scoring three runs. The better part of the season certainly seems to be lying ahead still for Ethier and he could make a nice buy low. Ethier is a career .288 hitter and it’s only a matter of time before he’s closer to that point.
- Another hitter busting out of his early season slump is Ben Revere in Philadelphia. Revere was 2 – 3 last night with 2 R and 1 SB. Revere is now 7 – 16 in his last five games and good things should follow. As things start turning around for Revere he should get bumped back up the lineup order and hopefully back to leadoff where he’ll rack up runs and steals. He’s now available in 55% of leagues after being dropped all over the place.