by Simon Jones
Friday marked a nice change where there were a number of great pitching performances for a change. Stand out performances from the likes of Alex Wood, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and more, actually made it difficult to choose who to include from Friday, instead of the usual power bursts. Friday also say the Rangers closing in on a club record.
So let’s look at some of the bigger stories from Friday’s games.
1) Another scoreless outing for Alex Wood….
Alex Wood’s amazing Los Angeles renaissance continued yesterday as he blanked the Marlins across 7 1/3 innings. He didn’t quite match the crazy strikeout totals of his previous few starts, but this did mark the first time this season that he’s been able to go more than six innings. In the process he’s lowered his ERA to 1.88 in the process with peripherals to match. If it wasn’t for the injury history, then Wood would be climbing into the higher tiers of starting pitching.
2) deGrom dominates before blister issue…
What is it with 2017 and blistered fingers? It’s almost as if people looked at Rich Hill’s success last year and have tried to mimic every aspect! Jacob deGrom cruised through six innings against the Angels before the encountering an issue with the blister. He did escape the seventh after loading the bases, and there shouldn’t be an ongoing issue, but it’s always best to keep note of these things. Remarkably, given the perceived strength of the Mets starters pre-season, this is the first time a Mets starter has lasted seven innings since the end of April.
3) Rangers extend winning streak to 10….
It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Rangers season seemed to be falling apart. They had slipped to a dreadful 13-20 start, and their hopes of retaining the AL West division seemed to be fading fast. It’s amazing what a matchup with the Padres and Jered Weaver will do, and from that point the Rangers haven’t looked back. Last night, they were helped by home runs from Mike Napoli and Joey Gallo, backup up Nick Martinez’s first win since 2015 – he had gone 0-5 over his previous eleven starts. Martinez allowed one unearned run across five innings as the Rangers topped the Tigers 5-3.
4) Sale fans 10 to match his own MLB record….
There seems to be no stopping Chris Sale this season, as he struck out double digit batters for the eighth consecutive game, tying the record he already held from 2015 and also with Pedro Martinez. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, this even this wasn’t enough to win the game as they lost 3-2 to the A’s in extra innings. Sale struck out ten across seven innings giving up two earned runs. His ERA now stands at an outstanding 2.19, although it is noting that he hasn’t gone scoreless since April 20th and his May ERA is now 3.54.
5) Karns lifted early with forearm stiffness….
Nate Karns was pulled from his start against the Twins on Friday after only 72 pitches. Karns was having another strong night giving up only one run over five innings when he was removed from the game. The good news is that the Royals have described this as “precautionary”. As always though, monitor this situation closely for any further news. Karns wouldn’t be the first starter this season to have left a game as a precautionary measure and then end up hitting the DL.
6) Castillo comes up big against the Blue Jays….
Wellington Castillo’s resurgence since his DL stint continued on Friday against Toronto. The Orioles backstop clubbed two home runs, including a walk-off homer in the 10th to give Baltimore a 5-3 victory. Castillo is now 9-15 since returning from the DL, and could soon work his way into the upper tiers of catchers, when so many of the pre-season choices are underperforming (apart from Buster Posey).
7) Quintana dominant in Seattle….
It’s been a mixed season for Jose Quintana – he’s mixed in some great performances with some rather mediocre appearances too. Friday reminded owners why they drafted him, with eight strong innings against the Mariners, allowing one run, striking out seven against only a single walk. In the process he lowered his ERA beneath 4 again to 3.92, although it is worth noting that his ERA over the last 6 starts is sat at 2.70. He is still hampered by pitching for the White Sox, and even last night was a no-decision, and he only has two wins on the season.
8) Padres routed by Diamondbacks and Lamb in particular….
Jered Weaver was torched by Arizona last night, getting lit up for seven runs without even making it out of the first inning. Jake Lamb had a big night with two home runs bringing him up to eleven on the season to go with an impressive .939 OPS. There were also homers for Brandon Drury and David Peralta.
9) Delgado lands bizarre save….
Randall Delgado was credited with his first save of the season after pitching three innings of one run ball against the Padres. This is noteworthy in two ways, firstly highlighting the strange quirk of scoring that can see a pitcher enter a game with a 10-0 lead and record nine outs for the save. The other slightly peculiar point is that Delgado had pitched his previous eleven innings without giving up a run, becoming a useful bullpen arm, so it was a bit baffling to see him go three innings in a blow out.
10) Bellinger hits another homer….
We’ll close this round-up with another page in Cody Bellinger’s outstanding early season form. Friday’s homer was his eighth in only 23 games, and he’s also scored 19 runs and 23 RBIs during that time. The pace has slowed slightly over the last week, but the 21-year-old still has an outstanding 1.016 OPS
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||April 26|
|Second Base||May 1|
|Third Base||May 4|