MLB Wednesday scores, highlights, live team updates, news
Twins continue to skid
Minnesota’s losing streak has hit six games. After getting swept by the Rays over the weekend — and getting walked off by former Twin Carlos Gomez — the Twins have dropped the first three games of their four-game series in Yankee Stadium. They’ve been outscored 55-22 in the six games and have allowed at least seven runs in each game.
The biggest problem, obviously, has been the pitching. Both the starters and relievers. Lance Lynn didn’t make it out of fourth inning Wednesday and even staff ace Jose Berrios struggled Tuesday night. Here are the pitching numbers during this six-game losing streak:
Not enough innings thrown by the starters and not enough quality innings thrown by anyone. Ervin Santana is on the mend following finger surgery and he’s not too far away, but in the immediate future, the Twins are going to need the guys on the roster to right the ship. Kyle Gibson gets the ball in Thursday’s series finale against the Yankees.
The good news for the Twins is that the Indians have yet to really get hot, so they remain only 3 1/2 games back in the AL Central. That’s nothing. You worry about a 3 1/2-game deficit on September, not April. There’s plenty of time to recover from this six-game skid, assuming they put an end to the losing soon.
The other good news for the Twins: After this series in New York, they’ll go home to play three games against the woeful Reds. Any team can beat any other team on any night in this game, but when you’re playing as poorly as the Twins right now, playing a bad rebuilding team at home can sometimes be just what the doctored ordered.
Venters returns to MLB
Welcome back to the big leagues, Jonny Venters.. It was Venters’ first MLB appearance since the 2012 NL Wild Card Game. He got Chris Davis, the only batter he faced, to ground out:
Statcast had Venters’ trademark sinker at 90.9 mph, which is down quite a bit from his peak with the Braves, but that’s understandable after three elbow reconstructions. Besides, who cares about velocity? This is one of the best feel-good stories of the season. Hopefully Venters sticks with the Rays all year. He’s earned it.
Astros avoid sweep, reclaim first place from Angels
The Astros dropped the first two games of their key three-game series with the Angels in Houston, but as you can see above they salvaged the final game on Wednesday. In doing so, they nudged one-half game in front of the Angels in the AL Central and also snapped their rival’s 11-game road win streak. For the hosts, Jose Altuve homered and drew a walk, and Justin Verlander was once again in top form …
On the season, the 35-year-old right-hander has pitched to a 1.36 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings against just eight walks. Remember a few years ago when it seemed Verlander’s deep decline phase had set in? Well, since the start of the 2015 season, he’s pitched to a 136 ERA+ across 92 starts. Speaking of which, he picked up career win No. 192 on Wednesday.
On the subject of future Hall of Famers, across the way Albert Pujols in defeat collected career hit No. 2,994 — a seventh-inning linde-driver home run off Verlander.
Happy Acuna Day!
The Braves have belatedly called up outfielder/top prospect in all of baseball Ronald Acuna, and he made his big-league debut on Wednesday evening in Cincinnati. He manned left and batted sixth in the Atlanta order. Acuna’s a natural center fielder, but that’s of course the territory of Ender Inciarte, at least for now.
Acuna lined out in his first at-bat, flew out in his second at-bat, struck out in his third at-bat, then singled back up the middle in his fourth at-bat. Here is the young man’s first MLB hit:
Acuna later came around to score the game-tying run on Kurt Suzuki’s single. He added another strikeout in the ninth inning to complete the 1-for-5 day. Not a bad MLB debut, I’d say.
The 20-year-old Acuna is the youngest player currently in the show, and he’s got the full complement of baseball tools. While he didn’t hit in Triple-A this season (.625 OPS in 17 games), he owns a minor-league line of .305/.375/.475 with 78 stolen bases, 30 home runs, 49 doubles, and 14 triples in 253 games. Moreover, Acuna was much younger than his peer group at every stop.
In a just universe, Acuna would’ve cracked the Opening Day roster for Atlanta. However, like a lot of clubs these days the Braves manipulated his service time and kept him in the minors until his free agency had been delayed by a full year. The fact that this promotion comes after relative struggles at Triple-A Gwinnett pretty much exposes the Braves’ motivations — this was never about further development.
Gregorius goes deep again
Is anyone hotter than Didi Gregorius right now? Sir Didi went deep again Wednesday night, giving him nine homers for the season and an MLB-leading 29 RBI. He had an RBI single in the first inning as well. Here’s the homer:
Gregorius has now gone deep in a career-high four consecutive games. He’s the first Yankees shortstop ever to hit a homer in four straight games — that Derek Jeter guy was never a big power hitter — and the first Yankee at any position with a homer in four straight games since Gary Sanchez in September 2016.
Moncada has arrived
Yoan Moncada was of course the key piece the White Sox received when they traded Chris Sale to Boston in December of 2016. He came to the Sox of White as one of the two or three top prospects in all of baseball, and he showed signs of promise last season at the highest level. This season, he’s taken it to another level.
That’s Moncada’s fifth homer of the season, and he’s now got a slash line of .253/.359/.544. That’s excellent production, especially for a young middle infielder who also runs the bases well. Yes, Moncada strikes out a lot, but he offsets that at the plate with power and walks. Thus far, the 22-year-old is looking like a future star — just as anticipated.
The Nats’ lineup is not pretty, but effective
So here’s the Wednesday lineup for the Nationals, who’ve won 192 games over the past two full seasons and who entered 2018 as heavy favorites in the NL East …
That’s Grapefruit League-quality right there. Mostly, though, it’s a reflection of how banged up the Nats are at the moment. Presently, the Nationals have the following position players on the disabled list: 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B Anthony Rendon, OF Adam Eaton, OF Brian Goodwin, and OF Jhonatan Solano. The Murphy-Rendon-Eaton troika has certainly taken a bite out of the lineup. Throw in days off for Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Wieters, and Howie Kendrick, and you get what you see above.
Naturally, that lineup put 15 runs on the board against Jeff Samardzija and the Giants. Fifteen runs on 18 hits and six walks. That’ll work. Matt Adams and rookie Andrew Stevenson had the big days at the plate. Adams went 3 for 5 with a double and a three-run homer, and Stevenson went 4 for 5 with two doubles. They drove in seven of the team’s 15 runs.
Dave Martinez’s club is now 11-14 following Wednesday’s win, which still has them sitting in fourth place in the division. Stated another way, the Nats are closer in the standings to the last-place Marlins than they are to the second-place Phillies. The hope in D.C. is that they get healthy soon (they’ve also got a chunk of the bullpen on the DL) and stay that way. Otherwise, the 2018 season — almost certainly Bryce Harper’s last in Washington — could wind up being a huge disappointment.
Cobb struggles again for O’s
Alex Cobb’s season to date is a pretty good argument for the importance of spring training. Cobb signed late, had an abbreviated spring, and has really struggled since joining the Orioles rotation. The Rays, his former team, tagged him for five runs in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night.
Wednesday’s start was the best of Cobb’s season, so far. He allowed 15 runs (12 earned) in seven innings combined in his first two starts. Cobb has surrendered exactly 10 hits in each of his three starts. It hasn’t been pretty.
The O’s are going nowhere fast so far this season, but they gave Cobb a four-year contract, so they want to get him going at some point so they can feel good about him as a rotation piece going forward. Right now though, it’s a real grind each time he takes the mound.
Kershaw labors against Marlins
What a weird season for the Dodgers. Nothing has really clicked yet. And on Wednesday night, Clayton Kershaw walked six batters — six walks! — in only five innings against the Marlins, the team with the fifth-lowest walk rate in baseball.
Kershaw walked Justin Bour and Cameron Maybin back-to-back with two outs in the fifth, then gave up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas. Ouch.
Wednesday’s game was only the third six-walk outing of Kershaw’s career. You have to go way back to his early days as a big-leaguer for the other two times he did it. He’s never walked seven batters in a game.
- August 3, 2009 vs. Brewers: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 6 K
- April 7, 2010 vs. Pirates: 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 4 K
- April 25, 2018 vs. Marlins: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 7 K
Trevor Richards, who opposed Kershaw on the mound Wednesday, struck out 10 and allowed just one hit in 4 2/3 scoreless innings, by the way. Heck of a night for that young man.
Brewers lose Thames
The Brewers announced on Wednesday that slugger Eric Thames has been placed on the 10-day DL with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Potentially, he could be out for six to eight weeks..
- Jonny Venters is .
- Our own Matt Snyder examines whether Mets RHP Matt Harvey might be in a better place .
- Coming into Wednesday’s action, more than half of MLB’s teams were on pace to win or loss at least 100 games. .
- The Rangers have placed 3B Adrian Beltre on the 10-day DL with a left hamstring injury.
- According to multiple reports, the Marlins expect Wei-Yin Chen and Dan Straily to rejoin the rotation in the coming days.
- The Braves have designated OF Peter Bourjos for assignment to clear roster space for OF Ronald Acuna.
News by CBS Sports