by Simon Jones
There was plenty happening in the baseball parks on Friday night, however the biggest fantasy story revolved around a dirt bike accident, which set social media alight. I seems that Bumgarner’s owners are even angrier about his stupidity than Marte owners were about him cheating!
So let’s look at some of the bigger stories from Friday’s games.
1) Gallo crushes two homers….
Joey Gallo notched up his first multi-HR game of his young career last night against the Royals. His boom or bust approach appears to be paying dividends. He strikes out a load (now 23 Ks in 56 ABs) and he will never help you in the Average department, but the power is there for all to see, and both home runs last night were absolute no-doubters. Texas will look to find at-bats for Gallo, even when Adrian Beltre does eventually return.
2) Wainwright does it all against the Brewers….
At first glance Adam Wainwright going five innings and giving up two runs hardly warrants round-up status, however that doesn’t nearly tell the story. On the mound, this was by far the most encouraging night of 2017 for Wainwright. He struck out nine without issuing a walk. He also picked up his first win, in large part due to his performance at the plate, driving in four runs, including a two-run homer in the third inning. Wainwright still sports an ugly 6.27 ERA, but will look to continue his improvement against the struggling Blue Jays next week.
3) Wild fourth inning sees Rockies score six….
There was a surreal feel to the fourth inning at Coors Field on Friday. The Giants had a 3-0 lead when Johnny Cueto loaded the bases. For reference, Cueto, had never allowed a grand slam in his career, however Trevor Story, launched a bomb to make it 4-3. A few batters later, it got even worse for Cueto as Hunter Pence lost Charlie Blackmon’s line drive in the lights, and suddenly there was an inside-the-park home run in the same inning as a grand slam – the first time in nearly 70 years!
4) Kluber pitches shutout against the White Sox….
Corey Kluber put aside some of his early season woes with a dominant performance against the White Sox last night. Kluber allowed only three hits and two walks whilst striking out nine Chicago batters. It was certainly a big improvement over the first three games, and lowered his ERA from an unsightly 6.38 to a more respectable 4.28, although Kluber owners will expect to see that number drop further over the coming weeks.
5) Miggy leaves game with groin strain….
Miguel Cabrera was pull from the Twins game last night with a groin strain. Cabrera has also been struggling with a lower back issue, although it appears that his new injury is unrelated. There’s no word yet on how serious this new problem is, but don’t be surprised if there’s a DL announcement in advance of Saturday afternoon’s game.
6) Neris notches second consecutive save….
Despite the Phillies still not naming an official closer, Hector Neris was brought in again in the ninth to convert the save against the Braves last night. It was a pretty ugly outing for Neris, allowing one run on three hits, and you had to wonder if the Phillies closer curse was about to strike again. Fortunately Neris struck out Tyler Flowers to strand to and salvage the save. Neris looks the best immediate bet for saves, but nothing appears certain in Philadelphia right now.
7) Bautista finally hits first home run of the season….
Well it took 16 games and 13 innings but Jose Bautista is finally on the board. Bautista has been horrible at the plate recently, and last night looked no better as he extended his hitless streak to 19 at-bats, before collecting an infield hit in the ninth and then hitting a three-run homer in the top of the 13th inning. Remarkably this also represented Bautista’s first multi-hit game of 2017. He did strike out twice again though, so it would be unwise to think his struggles are behind him just yet.
8) Harper continues monster April….
Bryce Harper continued his MVP-like form against the Mets on Friday. His homer in the first inning was his seventh of the year, and he finished the night 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs and RBIs. Pick any number from Harper’s stat line (apart from the steals) and they are ridiculous. He certainly looks back to his 2015 form.
9) Verlander unravels in the sixth….
For five innings, it appeared that Justin Verlander had put Saturday’s horror show against Cleveland firmly behind him. When Verlander entered the sixth, the Tigers were leading 3-0 and Verlander had allowed just two hits and three walks. Unfortunately, that was the point that Verlander’s control deserted him completely. He proceeded to walk the first three batters before giving up a two-run single to Robbie Grossman. Although he left the game with a 3-2 lead, Joe Jimenez allowed another four runs to plate, leaving Verlander with an unsightly four earned runs and six walks. Verlander now sports an ugly 6.04 ERA and 1.52 WHIP – a far cry from his outstanding 2016.
10) Familia rusty and wild on his return….
It was only to be expected that Jeurys familiar would be rusty upon his return from suspension, and that inconsistency cost the Mets the game on Friday. Familia entered the game in the 11th inning with two men on and the game tied at 3-3. He proceeded to advance the lead runner to third on a wild pitch, and then score that runner after walking twice to load the bases and then let the runner plate. He managed to limit the damage with two strikeouts to end the inning, but don’t expect to see Familia to see too many save opportunities until he finds his rhythm again.