Big name pitchers dominated last night’s action … Chris Sale hurled eight scoreless innings, tallying 13 strikeouts … of his 102 pitches thrown 80(!) were strikes … Stephen Strasburg tossed his fourth straight quality start … he went seven innings and punched out 10 for his second victory of the season … Mets closer Jeurys Familia made his 2017 debut when he struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning.
Franco comes alive
There’s Maikel Franco! The Phillies third baseman broke out of his slump after he went 2-for-4, including a two-run homer. Franco is off to a rough start, as his average was a measly .148 before last night’s game. His current .152 BABIP is way below last year’s .271. Expect his production to rise at least to respectable levels as the season progresses.
Getty ImagesMike Stobe
Souza just short
For the second night in a row, a player came up a single short of the cycle. Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza hit a homer, a triple and a double in the Rays’ 8-1 win over Detroit. Souza has been on fire. He has multi-hit games in three of his last four and a hit in all but four of his 17 appearances. Souza is tied for third in the American League with 15 RBI and is boasting a strong .349/.438/.603 stat line. Houston’s Josh Reddick came up a single shy of his own cycle on Wednesday night.
USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Kelley the man in DC
Washington’s puzzling bullpen continues to take shape. According to The Washington Post, Shawn Kelley, not Koda Glover will be manager Dusty Baker’s first choice to close. In eight appearances this season Kelley has compiled a 2-0 record with two saves and 10 strikeouts. Kelley is currently owned in just over 19 percent of FOX Fantasy baseball leagues.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Mills
Take note of Oakland third baseman Ryon Healy’s recent success. Before his recent outburst, he was hitting .170/.204/.340. Owned in just 11.4 percent of FOX leagues, he’s currently on a four-game hitting streak, raising his triple-slash to .268/.317/.446. If you need a player to hit lefties, Healy is your guy – he’s batting .391 against them with three doubles and six RBI in 23 at-bats.
Mariners starter James Paxton was banged around for the first time this season in a loss to the A’s. He surrendered five runs on nine hits in just 4 1/3 innings. Paxton had been lights out until last night. He hadn’t surrendered a single earned run in three starts and was boasting a 22:4 strikeout to walk ratio.
USA TODAY SportsSteven Bisig
Byron Buxton’s titanic struggles continue. The Minnesota outfielder’s batting average is down to just .082 after another four hitless games. After finally raising his batting average to triple digits on April 15, Buxton is 0-for since. Three more strikeouts in his last four games bring his season total to 24. At least he isn’t leading the league in that category anymore. Baby steps.
Mark J. Rebilas
Big bats whiffing
Speaking of strikeouts, there are some big names on the wrong end of that spectrum … Evan Longoria is fifth in the league with 23 … Edwin Encarnacion has 21 … Jose Bautista has whiffed 22 times … Jonathan Villar (2B-2) leads the league with 28 in 69 at-bats … I’m sure Joe Maddon had a different vision in mind when he placed Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot … He’s tied with Longoria at 23.
Yoenis Cespedes is expected to miss two to three days with the dreaded hamstring tweak, according to the New York Daily News.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting Adrian Beltre (calf) began ramping up his workouts on Wednesday. Beltre is just starting to put weight on his strained calf and isn’t expected to return until May.