by Simon Jones
Tuesday was another big night for the power hitters. Apart from a couple of standout performances, it was mainly a night when you wished you’d benched your starting pitchers. We also saw Pujols close in on a milestone and yet more starting pitchers heading to the DL.
So let’s look at some of the bigger stories from Tuesday’s games.
1) Ray fires first career shutout….
Robbie Ray put in a brilliant performance against the Pirates last night, pitching a complete game shutout, and putting up ten strikeouts in a four hit performance. It’s fair to say that 2017 was looking quite underwhelming for Ray, but something seems to have clicked since May 20th. Over his last three starts he hasn’t conceded a run across 23 2/3 innings with only 8 hits and a 25:3 K:BB ratio. It finally looks like all that breakout potential is coming through.
2) Holliday and Gardner pummel the Orioles….
Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday got to the Orioles early and often on Tuesday night at Camden Yards, with two home runs apiece in the 8-3 win. Gardner started it off with a lead-off shot and then Holliday followed up with another solo home run in the first. Chris Tillman was chased from the game in the third after another Holliday solo homer, and then Gardner added another solo shot for good measure in the fourth. Both Yankees hitters now stand on 11 HRs for the season, and Gardner has been particularly hot of late, not having hit his first until April 29th.
3) Pujols nears milestone….
Albert Pujols slugged his 599th home run against the Braves on Tuesday. He also matched the hit total of the great Babe Ruth with 2,873. After some pretty underwhelming early season form, it seems that the milestone chase has given us a vision of a younger Albert Pujols, as he’s now hit home runs in three of his last five games.
4) Bauer Ks 14 in Jackal and Hyde performance….
Trevor Bauer produced another mixed bag on Tuesday against Oakland. Through four innings, this was another messy and frustrating outing – five strikeouts but three runs and six hits. Then Bauer suddenly seemed to dig deep and struck out the side three the next three innings allowing just a solitary hit. His story is similar to Robbie Ray, in that the strikeouts aren’t really a question, but the inability to keep runs of the board have led to a messy bottom line. Bauer owners will hope he can turn the corner in the same way that Ray appears to have done.
5) Velasquez goes down with elbow strain….
Vince Velasquez was pulled from Tuesday’s game with the Marlins after only four outs with an elbow flexor strain. Velasquez himself described the strain as “mild”, but he’s heading for the DL and an MRI, so this doesn’t look promising at all. Velasquez is yet another promising starter who hasn’t managed to pull it all together in 2017.
6) Red Sox use the long ball to chase Quintana….
Tuesday was another night of big power and ugly pitching lines at Fenway Park. Jose Quintana got rocked by three home runs giving up 7 ER across less than three innings. Deven Marrero was the major thorn in his side two homers and five RBIs in his two times facing Quintana. Overall the Red Sox bats erupted for six homers and 13 runs, enough to give Chris Sale the win, despite an ugly line of his own – six runs (five earned). Quintana has now been stung for 15 runs in his last two outings across only seven innings pitched.
7) Cozart continues to hit….
Zack Cozart continues to confound expectations and had another big night against Toronto on Tuesday. He hammered two home runs (bringing his season total to seven) and also walked twice. We’re all expecting the 31-year-old to cool down after never showing this form over close to a full season, but each time he seems determined to buck the trend. His OPS is back over 1.000 after Tuesday.
8) Bautista’s resurgence continues….
After a truly awful April, many including myself, were writing Bautista off completely. It wasn’t just the scoring categories, but every peripheral had red flags against it. It just shows what a difference a month makes. Tuesday’s homer against the Reds marked his ninth of May and his tenth for the season. It’s not just the power numbers that are back, as the K% has dropped and the batting average has rebounded .251 after being .178 at April 30th. It’s anyone’s guess as to which Bautista we’ll see ongoing, but he appears totally locked in at the moment.
9) Royals’ Skoglund in impressive debut….
Royals’ southpaw Eric Skoglund had a night to remember against the Tigers on Tuesday, pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed only two hits and a walk whilst striking out five. Skoglund isn’t a heralded prospect, but should stick around for a while in the Royals’ rotation, whilst Danny Duffy is on the DL.
10) Happ inefficient but healthy in comeback…
J.A. Happ returned from the DL on Tuesday against the Reds and promptly conceded two home runs in the first, to Zack Cozart and Joey Votto. He needed 81 pitches to get through four innings, but limited the Reds to just a single hit after the home runs. The good news was that Happ appeared healthy, after DL stint that dragged on for over six weeks despite the initial positive prognosis. Look for him to hopefully be sharper on his next outing.
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||April 26|
|Second Base||May 1|
|Third Base||May 4|