Daily Dose of MLB Action from April 22nd
With a two homer performance in Tuesday's game in our nation's capital Albert Pujols became the third youngest player in Major League Baseball history to hit 500 home runs. Only Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx reached the milestone faster. Pujols tagged Taylor Jordan for home runs number 499 and 500 while collecting 5 RBI on the night. Pujols' season total is now up to 8 HR and he has now driven in 18 runs over the last 13 games. He's no spring chicken but don't sleep on the greatness that is Albert Pujols. For a decade he was the best we may have ever seen. To me, you may not find a sweeter stroke in the game than Albert's and it surely looks as though he is poised to stick around a while longer. Congratulations to one of the greatest hitters of all time. Hopefully he can stay healthy enough to get to 600 and beyond.
A GIF to you: Pujols #500
I Challenge You to a Duel: Jose Fernandez vs. Alex Wood
While the Braves and Marlins might see like a ho-hum early season contest with little to get amped about, a fan of great pitching such as myself was drooling when I saw the listed match-up of Jose Fernandez and Alex Wood. Obviously Fernandez has been ridiculously filty. Add a dash of free swinging Braves to the mix and there was a recipe for high strikeout totals for the Marlins young ace. Alex Wood has been no slouch in his own right; boasting a squeaky clean 1.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a 24:7 K:BB over 27 innings coming into the game. From the opening salvo you could tell both pitchers were locked in. The K-fest which ensued was beautiful. Talk about a tough luck loss again for Wood who has allowed just 4 ER combined in his 3 losses while going at least 7 innings in each loss.
Check out these lines:
Wood: Loss, 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 11 K, 4 H, 0 BB
Fernandez: Win, 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 14 K, 3 H, 0 BB
AL Notes: McWho is McHugh?
Jason Castro, Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez homered in support of Astros spot starter Collin McHugh, who picked up a win Tuesday by striking out 12 Mariners with zero walks. McWho??? Okay, before we don Collin McHugh the next messiah of pitching, let's take into account that the Mariners are possibly the worst team in baseball right now. McHugh held a 4.50 ERA with a gross 5.19 K/9 in Triple-A before this tangent Tuesday night. Before you dump FAAB bucks into this 'Stros bro, take a chill pill and hold off. Josh Fields also notched his second save of the season and looks like the current "closer" in Houston.
George Springer struck out in three of his four at-bats. Those who own shares of Springer are going to take their lumps, just like the talented rookie will.
Danny Salazar fell to 0-3 on the season after giving up four ER on seven hits over 4.1 innings. On the bright side, he did strike out six.
James Shields led the Royals to victory with six solid innings and nine strikeouts. Shields evened his record to 2-2 on the season with the W. Mike Moustakas connected with his third homer, a three-run shot which was his only hit in five trips to the plate.
Masahiro Tanaka again did not disappoint as he improved to 3-0 on the season with a win over the rival Red Sox.
Edwin Encarnacion finally put a tally in the HR column on Tuesday. E5 is primed to break out of his power outage, and this could mark the beginning. His teammates Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera doppleganged with dingers of their own as the Jays downed the Orioles. Nelson Cruz parked his fourth tater in the losing effort.
Tommy Milone was denied a win as Luke "I am your Father" Gregerson blew another save for the A's. It's time to put Cook in the role. I suggest grabbing him in deeper formats and watching closely in shallower leagues.
As if the White Sox weren't already salty about having to shelve ace Chris Sale, they surely cannot be satisfied with the start by fill-in Chris Leesman. Leesman was victimized by the Tigers and Miguel Cabrera. Miggy tagged a two-run homer in the third for his second on the season. Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn would homer for the Sox in a losing effort, their sixth and fourth respectively.
Justin Verlander overcame a shaky first inning to earn his third win with seven innings, two ER and seven strikeouts. Joba Chamberlain earned his first save of the season after Phil Coke imploded to the tune of 3 H, 3 ER in 0.2 IP in the 9th.
All David Price did was pitch a complete game while striking out 12. He allowed 3 ER while taking 113 pitches to complete the game, improving to 3-1. Twins 2B Brian Dozier swatted his sixth homer of the season but is still batting just .221. Chris Colabello hit number 2 and now has a whopping 22 RBI. David DeJesus drove in 3 on a 3-for-4 night.
NL Notes: Completely Cueto
Johnny Cueto tossed his second complete game of the season Tuesday, again besting the Pirates with one ER and four strikeouts on the day. Billy Hamilton swiped his eighth stolen base along with a 2-for-5 game. Andrew McCutchen took Cueto deep for the only damage, it was his third homer on the season. Pedro Alvarez was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .179 on the season. Heady owners would be buying low on El Toro right now.
Chase Headley homered for the Fathers as San Diego, pronounced [Dee-YAH go] would top the Brewers 2-1. Huston Street steered his way to save number seven with a clean ninth. Side note: Jim Henderson struck out three in a perfect ninth inning of a tie game. Even with K-Rod looking strong, owners should NOT be relinquishing control of Henderson just yet.
Madison Bumgarner allowed solo homers to Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado, and took a complete-game loss; the Rockies' Franklin Morales baffled the Giants, with the exception of Hunter Pence who was 2-for-4 with a solo shot. LaTroy Hawkins nailed down his sixth save and looks surprisingly solid as the Rockies closer thus far.
Mike Olt connected for his fourth homer, a three-run jack as the Cubs topped the DBacks. Of course he did, he's on my bench in favor of Conor Gillaspie, who is now hurt. I despise weekly lineups for this reason. Kill them with fire. DBacks starter Brandon McCarthy was actually decent, but surprise, surprise, J.J. Putz got shelled for three runs. Jason Hammel moved to 3-1 with seven solid innings of one-run ball.
Adam Wainwright was fantastic again, as he shut out the Mets over seven superb innings in which he allowed just four hits while walking no one. The Mets had no answer for Waino's muy bueno dealings, but it's worth noting that he left after just 79 pitches with a hyper-extended knee, suffered while covering first. Trevor Rosenthal walked two but escaped with save number six.
The Phillies outlasted the Dodgers Tuesday as Domonic Brown drove in the game's winning run in the top of the 10th. Jonathan Papelbon would pitch a clean bottom half of the frame to seal the W and earn his sixth save. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz collected the other two RBI for the Phillies. Dee Gordon was removed after taking a knee to the dome piece late in the game but passed concussion tests and should be good to go tomorrow. Gordon swiped his league leading twelfth SB in the losing effort.
Questions for This Week & Beyond:
Clayton Kershaw could start his rehab Friday. Yay! I pried he and Lucas Duda from their owner in a local league last week for Alex Cobb, Valverde and Gregory Polanco the day before Cobb's injury. I feel kinda swanky, in a good way. Will he revert back to being the most dominant pitcher in baseball?
Can Carlos Gonzalez shake off the knee tendinitis which seems to have slowed his production?
What version of Cole Hamels are we about to see?