MLB Saturday scores, highlights, live team updates, news: Cubs storm back to beat Braves

Saturday promised us a full 15-game slate of MLB action, but Mother Nature/la belle dame sans merci decided that would not the case. A pair of games have been banged (more on that below), but that still leaves us with pretty much wall-to-wall baseball. Let's jump right in ... 

Saturday's scores

Cubs muster huge comeback

There was a point during Saturday's Braves-Cubs contest in which the Braves led their northern hosts by a 9-1 score. As late as the seventh inning, the Braves were up 10-3.  Atlanta seemed certain to win, dropping the Cubs to 6-8. You know what happened next.

The Cubs scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, then poured it on for a nine-run eighth that saw the Braves bullpen fall apart. Luke Jackson, Jose Ramirez, Sam Freeman, and Peter Moylan combined to get three outs, but did so while allowing three hits and five walks.  Freeman in particular was ineffective, as he walked all three batters he faced, with 12 of his 14 pitches missing the zone. Woof.

Credit the Cubs' lineup (and the Braves' bullpen) for bailing out Jose Quintana. In an uncharacteristically poor outing, he allowed seven hits on seven hits and four walks across 2 1/3 innings. The Cubs would get better pitching from their bullpen, with Brandon Morrow locking down the final three outs

The Cubs are now 7-7 on the young season. The Braves, on the other paw, are 8-6.

On the bright side for Atlanta, Ozzie Albies had another big game: he went 3 for 5 with a home run, a double, and four runs batted in. He also drew his first walk of the year. 

Astros rotation continues to strike out everyone

The Astros entered Saturday as one of two teams who had received multiple double-digit strikeout games from their rotation this season. The Astros had four; the other team, the Nationals, had two. To confirm your gut feeling -- yes, the Astros chalked up their fifth such game against the Rangers, much to the delight of Charlie Morton.

Morton fanned a career-best 12 batters across six innings, all the while keeping the Texas bats in check: two runs (both on solo homers) on six hits and a walk. Morton recorded 17 swinging strikes on 106 pitches -- 10 of which came on his curveball, while another seven came on fastball variations.

For those wondering, Gerrit Cole has three of the Astros' five double-digit strikeout games. Lance McCullers owns the other. Four of the five have come against the Rangers.

Cobb gets rocked in Orioles debut

Like a lot of free agents, right-hander Alex Cobb was presented with a slow-to-develop market this winter. He wound up signing a $57 million pact with the Orioles, but the deal wasn't finalized until March 21. That's why Cobb worked four simulated games and then threw six innings back in Sarasota before being activated. As his first start as an Oriole, the 30-year-old Cobb drew the Red Sox, who entered Saturday ranking second in the AL in OPS, in Fenway. 

Did things go well for Cobb? No, things did not go well for Cobb ... 

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Alex Cobb BAL • SP • 17
vs. BOS, 4/14
IP3 2/3
H10
R8
SO0
BB1
HR2

Notable among the many wounds inflicted upon Cobb by the Bostons was this laser off the bat of Hanley Ramirez ... 

Cobb's ERA as an Oriole now stands at 17.18, and he hasn't struck out any of the 21 batters he's faced. To some extent, this can be explained away. He was facing a tough lineup and was coming off nothing even remotely close to his usual spring routine. Cobb will get better -- how could he not? -- but the Orioles still don't look like anything resembling contenders. 

The Reds haven't been this bad since the Great Depression

As you see above, the Reds got thumped by the Cardinals on Saturday and in doing so dropped their seventh game in a row. As well, the Reds are now 2-12 on the year. That grim start brings us to this similarly grim factoid ... 

So, yeah, it's been quite a while since the Reds were this lousy to begin a season. They've been outscored by their opponents by a margin of 47 runs, which is the worst mark in MLB by a wide margin. In the NL, only the Giants have scored fewer runs, and no team in baseball has given up as many runs as the Reds have. 

At this point, it seems almost certain that Bryan Price will become the first manager fired in 2018. He's managed four seasons and change in Cincy and is already 106 games below .500 as a skipper. To be sure, that's not all his fault -- the Reds would be a bad team even with Earl Weaver at the helm -- but that's how these things go. 

So what can Reds rooters look forward to? Besides the fifth overall draft pick in 2018 and perhaps an even higher pick in 2019, I mean. Well, infielder Nick Senzel may soon get the call to the majors. He's a consensus top-10 prospect, and last season in his age-22 campaign he dominated at Double-A. He hasn't hit thus far in 2018 at Triple-A, but he's likely in for a call-up anyway. In part that's because an important service-time deadline recently passed, and now the Reds can promote Senzel while still maintaining an extra year of control before he becomes a free agent. 

So that, Reds fans, is what you have to look forward to in 2018. 

The Year of the Postponement continues apace

As noted and as you can see above, two of Saturday's games got 86'd because of rain (including a White Sox-Twins game for the second straight day). This, as you may have noticed, has been a running theme in the early going of the 2018 season. The two postponements on Saturday bring to 2018 total to 14 postponed games thus far. Saturday is also the 17th day of the regular season, so we're approaching an average of one postponement per day. That's ... a lot. 

Consider that, per this Forbes piece, MLB had 25 total postponements in 2016. Last season, that figure increased to 39 postponements (according to this writer's manual count). Weather-based postponements tend to be far more frequent in the early spring and early fall, so the pace set thus far in 2018 doesn't figure to hold. Starting the season a bit earlier this year likely didn't help matters, and neither did having the Tigers open at home (the Tigers have already had four rain-/snow-outs this season). 

Now let's apply some context via this action-news table ... 

SeasonTotal postponements within first 17 days

2016

8

2017

5

2018

15


Yeah, that's a blistering pace thus far in 2018. The good news is that, starting 2018, the regular season spans 187 days, which means four additional off days relative to prior years. That, in turn, means a little more flexibility in terms of rescheduling postponed games. If early trends are any guide, then they'll need those extra days.

It's way too soon to declare the 2018 season an outlier or trendsetter when it comes to baseball-unfriendly weather conditions, but it's certainly been one of the subplots thus far. 

Blackmon comes back strong

Charlie Blackmon entered Saturday's tilt against the Nationals with a 2018 slash line of .282/.391/.641 (165 OPS+). That's a fitting follow-up to his 2017, which earned him a fifth-place finish in the NL MVP balloting. It's also the kind of production that earned him a nine-figure contract extension earlier this spring.

However, Blackmon also entered Saturday's contest coming off a four-game absence, the result of a quad injury. Still and yet, the Colorado fly-catcher did this to no less a moundsman than Max Scherzer ... 

Not exactly a towering blast, but it left the bat at 100 mph. Also, it's Scherzer.

On another level, it's good for the Rox to get Blackmon back and picking up where he left off because Nolan Arenado on Saturday began serving a five-game suspension stemming from the recent brawl with the Padres. Those five games cover two at the Nats (counting Saturday's) and then three at the possibly-good Pirates. Since the Rockies have designs on returning to the postseason in 2018, it's good for their purposes to have Blackmon back for that stretch.

It's easy to dismiss said stretch as a mere five out of 162 games, but as the era of the second wild card has taught us, these days playoff berths tend to be decided by very thin margins. Every game counts, especially these days. 

Quick hits

  • Diamondbacks SP Taijuan Walker left his start with forearm tightness. 
  • Brewers OF Ryan Braun departed their game against the Mets due to a tight back.
  • The Orioles have recalled RHP Alex Cobb, who will make his O's debut on Saturday. To make room on the active roster, the club has placed 2B Jonathan Schoop on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain.
  • Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado has dropped his appeal of the five-game suspension stemming from last week's brawl with the Padres. He'll begin serving his suspension on Saturday. 
  • The Mariners have activated DH Nelson Cruz from the DL.
  • The Pirates have claimed LHP Enny Romero off waivers from the Nationals. 
  • The Padres have claimed LHP Tyler Webb off waivers from the Brewers. 
  • The Nationals have released C Miguel Montero

Live team updates

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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