I renew my grievance against Major League Baseball for having so many night games on a Saturday. This is bush league, MLB! Anyway, I'm here to round up everything interesting and/or exciting from Saturday's action.
- Yankees 11, Blue Jays 6 (box score)
- Athletics 7, Astros 1 (box score)
- Mets 3 Phillies 1 (box score)
- Orioles 4, Indians 2 (box score)
- Pirates 3, Cubs 1 (box score)
- Marlins 7, Nationals 5 in 10 (box score)
- Reds 7, Giants 1 (box score)
- Tigers 7, Twins 5 (box score)
- Royals 3, White Sox 1 (box score)
- Rockies 5, Braves 3 in 10 (box score)
- Red Sox 5, Rays 2 (box score)
- Cardinals 7, Brewers 2 (box score)
- Angels 11, Rangers 7 (box score)
- Padres 7, Diamondbacks 6 (box score)
- Mariners 5, Dodgers 4 (box score)
M's win on 'balk-off'
The Mariners defeated the Dodgers on Saturday night in what's either the most or least thrilling fashion: a walk-off balk, or "balk-off," as the hip say.
Keep your eye on Dylan Floro's lower body here:
Did you see his knee buckle? If so, you may or may not be manager Dave Roberts, who concluded after the game that the umpiring crew was justified in its call:
When he watched the balk replay, Dave Roberts saw Dylan Floro’s knee buckle. “As the rule states, he got it right,” Roberts said of the umpire. But he maintained there was no intent to deceive the runner.— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) August 19, 2018
The Dodgers remain in third place. At this rate, they'll have lost by every possible means before the season ends.
A's dominate Astros in all facets, tie for AL West lead
The biggest series of the weekend coming in was the Houston Astros visiting the Oakland Athletics, and so far it's been all A's. After winning Friday night in extra innings, Saturday was just sheer domination.
A's starter Trevor Cahill went seven scoreless innings and only allowed one hit. He walked one and struck out seven. Jeurys Familia struck out two in a perfect eighth, then Yusmeiro Petit got three of the four batters he faced, giving up a solo homer to Tony Kemp.
No Astros runner even reached second base until the ninth, and the A's only faced two batters over the minimum.
On the other side, Khris Davis opened the scoring with a two-RBI double in the first inning:
It was a harbinger of things to come. The A's would pound out eight doubles and, get this, it was from four players -- Davis, Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty and Josh Phegley -- with two each. The eight doubles tied a franchise record. Again, this was total domination.
Most importantly, the A's are now tied for first with the Astros after being 11 1/2 games out just over two months ago. Here are where things stood in the AL West heading into June 16.
- Astros, 46-25, --
- Mariners, 45-25, 0.5 GB
- Angels, 38-32, 7.5 GB
- A's, 34-36, 11.5 GB
And now, the A's are sitting with a 74-49 record, identical to that of the defending champion Astros. The Astros haven't even drastically collapsed. They are 28-24 since June 15. The A's have just been beastly.
The two will square off in Oakland again on Sunday. The winner walks away with a one-game lead with six weeks to go.
Yankees keep hitting home runs
The Yankees hit four more home runs on Saturday, giving them 201 on the season. That's of note because ...
Miguel Andujar hit the Yankees' 200th homer of the season in the team's 123rd game— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) August 18, 2018
MLB Teams Fewest Games to 200 HR
2005 Rangers 122
2018 Yankees 123
2000 Blue Jays 123
1996 Athletics 124
1996 Orioles 126
2017 Rangers 127
After that tweet, Greg Bird tacked on a homer, giving the Yankees 201.
With 201 homers in 123 games, that's a 162-game pace of 265 home runs. That would be the all-time, single-season team record. Here's the all-time top five in team home runs in a season.
- 1997 Mariners, 264
- 2005 Rangers, 260
- 2010 Blue Jays, 257
- 1996 Orioles, 257
- 2016 Orioles, 253
The Yankees club record in home runs is 245, which happened in 2012. Even if they don't set the MLB record, surely they'll break the club record.
More importantly, the Yankees did get the win, and that's now two in a row after losing three of four. They keep their grip on the top AL wild card spot and continue their soft part of the schedule with the Blue Jays on Sunday before a road trip to Miami and Baltimore.
Cardinals bump Brewers from playoff position
For nearly the entire season, the Brewers were either in first place in the NL Central or holding onto one of the two NL wild card spots. After yet another Cardinals win on Saturday night, that is no longer the case. The Brewers have gone 5-10 in August while the Cardinals are 14-3. That moves the Cardinals into the second NL wild card spot and into second place in the NL Central, four games behind the Cubs.
Statcast pegged that one at 450 feet.
The Cardinals then got three in the second and never looked back. They are all kinds of hot right now.
The Comeback Rockies do it again
The Rockies went to the ninth inning in SunTrust Park trailing 3-0. They made two quick outs, too. And then, they happened again.
Hell, Desmond was down to his final strike. Here's his double:
In the 10th, DJ LeMahieu homered to break the tie and a Nolan Arenado RBI single would provide unneeded insurance.
The Rockies have now won seven of their last eight, and that all came against quality competition (Dodgers, Astros, Braves). That's not the most interesting part, though. Every single one of those wins was via the come-from-behind route.
Even better, seven of the eight comebacks came in the sixth inning or later, six of them came in the seventh or later and four of them came in the ninth or later. In two of their three games against the Braves this series, they scored three runs in the ninth inning. They did it to win the game on Thursday and tie it to force extras on Saturday.
There's more, too! The Rockies haven't played a team with a losing record (at the time they played them) since June 24. It's true! During this time of only playing non-bad teams, the Rockies are 29-16, which is the best record in the National League in that time.
These guys appear to be for real.
In related news, the Padres beat the Diamondbacks in walk-off fashion:
That means the Rockies are now just a half game back in the NL West and tied in the loss column with the D-Backs.
NL East top three all lose
The Braves entered Saturday with a half-game lead over the Phillies, while the Nationals were barely lingering on the periphery after having won two straight.
The Phillies had to deal with a Cy Young contender (see below) and predictably lost there. As such, the Braves had a nice opportunity to push the lead to 1 1/2 games. They took a 3-0 lead to the ninth, thanks to a masterful start from All-Star Mike Foltynewicz. The youngster went seven scoreless innings, allowing only four hits while striking out nine without walking anyone.
Still, they managed to lose it thanks to the Rockies comeback mentioned above.
The Nationals, meanwhile, were facing a Marlins team that had lost 12 games in a row. They took the loss with the bullpen giving up three runs combined in the ninth and 10th innings. This team is broken.
As such, the standings at the top of the NL East remain the same with one more day in the books.
DeGrom deals again
Both Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola were excellent Friday night, and Saturday it was Jacob deGrom's turn to keep pace with the other two serious Cy Young contenders. He answered the call emphatically. Though he did give up a run in his complete-game masterpiece, it was unearned. The line: 9 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 9 K, 0 BB
DeGrom is now 8-7 with a 1.71 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 204 strikeouts in 168 innings this season.
Price stays in a groove
As usual, the Red Sox won on Saturday. They are now 52 games over .500. Mercy.
Notable here was David Price giving up just two runs in seven innings on five hits. He struck out eight. He's been mostly good all season with several blips. You could probably say his first half was inconsistent without it being too harsh. Since the All-Star break though, Price has a 1.35 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. If he's going to pitch like an ace alongside Chris Sale in the playoffs, watch out.
Cobb delivers gem against Indians
Orioles starting pitcher Alex Cobb has wholly underperformed his four-year, $57 million deal to this point. He entered Saturday with a 3-15 record, 5.31 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. He strikeout rate was well below his career norm, too.
Saturday, he took down a first-place team and didn't even need help in finishing it. He hurled his first complete game since Aug. 13, 2013. In those nine innings, Cobb allowed two runs on five hits. He only struck out three, but he induced 14 groundouts.
- Red Sox ace Chris Sale is .
- The Giants officially activated reliever Hunter Strickland from the DL with rookie Dereck Rodriguez going on it as a corresponding move.
- The A's sent RHP Nolan Blackwood to the Tigers as one of the two players to be named later in the Mike Fiers trade, the teams announced.