Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, July 8.
For the second time in 3 games the Marlins’ embattled pitching staff has been shredded by the Nationals. This time it was an 18–4 demolition in which the Fish never had a hope, unlike Thursday night’s game where they led 9–0 and lost. Again, one man went on an RBI spree. Thursday it was Trea Turner with 8 in a game. Not to be outdone, his teammate Mark Reynolds notched 10 RBIs in last night’s game in the nation’s capital
Reynolds has been around the block a few times in the bigs. Next month he’ll turn 35. Last night he went 5 for 5 and by driving in 10 runs he tied Anthony Rendon for the Nationals’ record. Rendon tallied 10 RBIs in the game the Nationals won when Noah Syndergaard shredded his shoulder last season. Among Reynolds’ 5 hits, 2 home runs were included. The Elias Sports Bureau couldn’t find another time when two teammates had 8 or more RBIs in a game during the same week. It was a stretch to find a case where two teammates did the deed in the same season. The Rangers’ Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton did it in 2012.
Reynolds got on a roll starting with a pinch-hit walk-off home run Friday night, and he homered on his first atbat last night with Bryce Harper on base. In the 4th he doubled a run home. In the next 3 innings he drove two or more men across the dish each time. He drove in two with a single in the 5th, then hit a 3-run home run in the sixth and a 2-run single in the 7th requiring a curtain call. The only thing missing was a triple, which wasn’t a likelihood for the lumbering Kentucky native. This was a rare day for Reynolds, a man who has led his league in strikeouts 4 years in a row. His 204 K’s in 2008 while he was with the Diamondbacks set a new league record, which he broke with 223 K’s in 2009. He has survived seasons in which he hit .198 and .196 but his streaky hitting and dependability at first base keeps him playing.
In yesterday’s game Bryce Harper also had 3 for 3 and Rendon drove home a pair as the Nationals for once gave Max Scherzer run support. Not to be left out, Juan Soto singled home two runs and reserve catcher Pedro Severino hit a 3-run home run. This is a guy with a .190 lifetime average mostly kept around for his gun. He once threw out 40% of hopeful base stealers during his minor league career in the Nats’ system.
The day’s best game was played in Cleveland where the A’s surprised the host Indians 6–3 in 11 innings. While Corey Kluber pitched for the Indians, Oakland never had a hope. They were behind 3-0 after 7 innings when Kluber was removed. It seems 102 pitches was all he would be allowed, even if it cost his team the game. 5 pitchers later the Tribe went down to defeat. In the 8th, reliever Neil Ramirez gave up home runs to Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis which tied the game. In the 11th, Josh Tomlin, now 0–5 became the sixth of the Indians’ pitchers to work in the game. Former Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty crushed a two-run home run off him to break the 3-all deadlock. As the inning went downhill, Matt Chapman collected his 4th hit of the day and was driven home by Jonathan Lucroy on a grounder. The A’s closer, Blake Treinen claimed a win in this game, and is now 5–1.
In spite of the new minor league extra-inning rule, we finally had an old-school extra inning game. The A-ball Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals) got the better of the Lynchburg Hillcats (Indians) 9–7 in 13 innings. This was a 3-3 game through the regulation 9. Each team scored a run in the 10th and 11th, aided by the rule that each half-inning must start with a runner on second. With the score at 5-5, the visitors from Wilmington, Delaware put up 2 in the 12th but were matched by Lynchburg when Mitch Longo hit a 2-run home run. Finally the Blue Rocks scored 2 in the 13th and were not matched by the home team.
On today’s schedule the Yankees send out Domingo German because they have no other choice. He hasn’t lasted 5 innings in his last 2 starts. He faces Ryan Borucki of the Jays who is even less experienced than German. Borucki has only made 2 starts in the bigs as of now. He does have experience in the game of a pitcher’s life. After being drafted out of high school in 2012 he almost immediately needed Tommy John surgery which cost him all of 2013. He had lasted all of 6 innings before his elbow blew out. His is a story of recovery unlike some Tommy John victims whose tales are of abject failure. He spent parts of 2 seasons at Dunedin, the only hitter-friendly ball park in the Florida State League. He left there in mid-2017 with a 3.58 ERA and dominated AA with a 1.94 ERA. His first MLB start was a loss in Houston. After taking no decision against Detroit, today will be his third start. The word is, if he holds together today his next foe will be Boston. His name should be David if you consider the Goliath he saw in Houston, and will see today and against Boston. Nick Kingham of Pittsburgh tries to bounce back after a 17–1 loss in his last outing. He faces the Phillies and emergency starter Drew Anderson. He was summoned from AAA since Vince Velasquez is hurt and the Phillies also have a double-header tomorrow in New York. With their Lehigh Valley team, Anderson is 5-3 with a 4.15 ERA.
Arguably the day’s best matchup is in Milwaukee. Atlanta are in second place, just percentage points behind Philadelphia in the NL East. Meantime the Brew Crew are a game and a half ahead of the Cubs with the Cardinals also on their trail. The Braves have Sean Newcomb carrying the mail. The oppressive heat and humidity in New York got to Newcomb as he walked 5 Yankees and didn’t survive the third inning. His mound opponent is the Brewers’ Junior Guerra, who was a 30-year-old rookie from Venezuela 3 years ago when he made his MLB debut with the White Sox. Now the Brewers count on him as a regular in the rotation. He had bounced around on buses in the minors as far back as 2001 when the Braves signed him. Early on the Braves wanted him as a catcher but by 2006 he was a pitcher. Now he faces the team that first employed him.0