MLB Saturday highlights, live team updates, news…
D-Backs win ninth consecutive series
So far this season, the Diamondbacks have been the most consistently excellent team in baseball. The D-Backs have yet to lose back-to-back games this year, and Saturday’s extra-innings victory against the Nationals improved their record to 19-6.
Saturday featured two comebacks — the D-Backs were down 2-0 in the fourth and 3-2 in the eighth — as well as a big blunder by Nationals manager Dave Martinez. The rookie skipper forgot to wait for the pinch-hitter to be announced before making a pitching change, allowing the D-Backs to maintain the platoon advantage.
The lefty-hitting Jarrod Dyson remained in the game to face the right-handed throwing Austin Adams, and he drew a walk to load the bases in the 10th. The next batter, A.J. Pollock, drew a walk that forced in the winning run. Martinez fell for the deke. The D-Backs had the right-handed hitter in the on-deck circle and he made a pitching change anticipating the pitch-hitter that never came. Cost the Nats the game.
That clinched a ninth consecutive series victory for the D-Backs. It has been a long time since a team won nine consecutive series to begin a season.
That 2001 Mariners team won 116 games, you might remember. Expecting the 2018 D-Backs to have 2001 Mariners success is unfair. Point is, this club is off to a fantastic start to 2018. Pretty much everything is going right.
The Nationals, meanwhile, have dropped to 11-16 on the season. They are 1-8 in one-run games.
Twins finally snap losing streak
Minnesota is finally off the schneid. On Saturday afternoon, the Twins outlasted the Reds to snap their seven-game losing streak. They suffered two walk-off losses and were outscored 66-27 during the seven games. It was not pretty.
Opening Day starter Jake Odorizzi played the role of stopper Saturday, holding the Reds to one run in six innings of work. It was the third time in six starts this season that Odorizzi completed six innings with no more than one run allowed.
Fernando Rodney did walk two and allowed the tying run to get into scoring position in the ninth inning, but he eventually nailed down the save and ended the losing streak. The Twins are now 9-13 on the young season.
Amazingly enough, the seven-game losing streak did not bury the Twins in the AL Central race. This victory combined with the Indians’ loss puts Minnesota 3½ games back of first place. That’s nothing. You worry about a 3½-game deficit in September, not April. There’s plenty of time to make that up.
Getting out of this funk is a two-step process. Step one is ending the losing streak, which the Twins did Saturday. Step two is starting a winning streak. Staff ace Jose Berrios will be on the mound Sunday when the Twins look to continue climbing out of this early hole.
Rays win eighth straight
The hottest team in baseball? The Rays! They beat up on the Red Sox on Saturday for their eighth consecutive victory, pushing their record to 12-13. No, 12-13 isn’t good. But the Rays started the season 4-13.
Tampa Bay’s resurgent lineup — they’ve averaged 7.88 runs per game during the winning streak — pounded David Price (six runs in 5 2/3 innings) and reliever Brian Johnson (five runs in two innings) on Saturday. Wilson Ramos, Carlos Gomez, and the wonderfully named Johnny Field all went deep. It was career home run No. 1 for Field.
The eight-game winning streak is tied for the third longest in Rays franchise history. Here are Tampa Bay’s longest winning streaks:
- June 9-22, 2004: 12 games
- July 12-26, 2014: 9 games
- Four 8-game winning streaks.
The 2004 Rays had a 12-game winning streak? Huh, how about that. That team went 70-91. Tampa Bay will look to clinch its third winning streak of at least nine games Sunday.
As for the Red Sox, they’ve lost five of their past seven after starting the season with a franchise-record 17 wins in their first 19 games.
Quintana shuts down Brewers again
There’s just something about the Brewers that brings out the best in Cubs southpaw Jose Quintana. Quintana went into his Saturday start with a career 0.75 ERA in five career starts against the Brew Crew. That’s three earned runs in 36 innings.
Saturday was more of the same. Quintana shut the Brewers out across seven innings, allowing only one single, one double, and one walk. He struck out seven.
Quintana now owns a career 0.63 ERA in six starts against Milwaukee. Always nice to have a guy who, for whatever reason, dominates a team in your division, especially when you figure to compete with that team for a division title all season.
Another day, another White Sox rout of the Royals
Good gravy, the White Sox have had their way with the Royals so far this season. An 8-0 Saturday afternoon victory improved the ChiSox to 5-0 against the Royals this year, and they’ve outscored them 39-17. All five games have been played in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, too.
Matt Davidson did not homer in Saturday afternoon’s game, which is surprising. Already he has hit seven — seven! — home runs against the Royals this year. That leads us to crazy stat No. 1:
- Matt Davidson homers at Kauffman Stadium in 2018: 7 (in 6 games)
- Royals homers at Kauffman Stadium in 2018: 8 (in 14 games)
Goodness. Davidson is the first player ever to hit seven home runs at Kauffman Stadium before May 1, and he doesn’t even play for the Royals. Now here is crazy stat No. 2:
- White Sox runs at Kauffman Stadium in 2018: 41 (in 6 games)
- Royals runs at Kauffman Stadium in 2018: 49 (in 14 games)
I guess the good news is the Royals were able to win the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, so now they have merely 1-5 against the White Sox at home this season.
Herrera robs Freeman of a home run
The Braves and Phillies gave us a catch of the year candidate Saturday. Odubel Herrera robbed Freddie Freeman of a home run at Citizens Bank Park, and he went way up to take the ball out of the bushes beyond the center-field wall. Check this catch out:
You’re not going to see many catches better than that this season, folks.
Colon picks up first win for Rangers
The ageless Bartolo Colon picked up his first victory of the season Saturday, throwing seven innings of three-run ball against the Blue Jays. He’s sitting on a 2.87 ERA in 31 1/3 innings this year.
It was Colon’s first victory with the Rangers. He joins Mike Morgan, Ron Villone and LaTroy Hawkins as the only pitchers in baseball history to earn a victory with 11 different teams. Bartolo has won games with the Indians, Expos, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Mets, Braves, Twins, and now the Rangers.
Sandoval pitches in blowout loss
The Dodgers and Giants played a rare doubleheader Saturday — the two clubs hadn’t played a doubleheder against each other since 2003 — and the worst-case scenario played out for San Francisco in the first game. Starter Chris Stratton didn’t make it out of the second inning and the Giants needed two relievers (Roberto Gomez and Derek Law) to combine for 6 1/3 innings and 136 pitches. Ouch.
So, rather than continue to burn out his bullpen in the first game of a doubleheader, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to put a position player on the mound in the ninth inning. That position player: Pablo Sandoval. Check out his curveball:
Kung Fu Panda was his team’s most effective pitcher Saturday afternoon. Three quick groundouts on 11 pitches. Never good when a position player is your best pitcher (unless it’s Shohei Ohtani, I guess).
- Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani is out of the lineup Saturday. He left Friday’s game after rolling his right ankle running through first base. Ohtani is day-to-day, though the Angels are unsure if he’ll make his scheduled start Tuesday, reports MLB.com.
- Red Sox OF Mookie Betts exited Saturday with a hamstring injury, the team announced. Betts appeared to suffer the injury legging out a double. The Red Sox say the move is precautionary and Betts is day-to-day.
- Angels SS Andrelton Simmons was a late scratch Saturday with lingering soreness in his forearm, according to the Los Angeles Times. Simmons is still sore after being hit by a pitch last weekend.
- Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig left Saturday with a hip issue, the club announced. Puig crashed into the outfield wall at full speed while making a catch. The severity of the injury is unknown.
- Rays C Wilson Ramos exited Saturday with “bilateral leg tightness,” the team announced. The Rays say Ramos was removed as a precaution and he is day-to-day.
- The Giants placed OF Mac Williamson on the 7-day concussion DL and 2B Joe Panik on the 10-day DL with a left thumb injury, the club announced. OF Austin Slater and INF Alen Hanson were called up in corresponding moves.
- Braves RHP Julio Teheran expects to make his next start, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Teheran left Friday’s start with a trap issue. The team has not yet committed to a plan for Teheran.
- The Twins designated RHP David Hale for assignment, a day after claiming him off waivers, the team announced. He threw three innings Friday in a blowout loss. RHP Matt Magill was called up in a corresponding move.
- The Marlins activated LHP Wei-Yin Chen off the disabled list, the team announced. He hasn’t started a game since May of last season due to a partially torn elbow ligament. He was able to avoid surgery and rehab the injury.
- Pirates RHP Joe Musgrove will soon begin a minor league rehab assignment, according to MLB.com. He has been out with a shoulder issue. Musgrove came over from the Astros in the Gerrit Cole trade.