The second to last Sunday in August boasts a full slate of action. Let's get to it.
- Rays 2, Red Sox 0 (box score)
- Reds 11, Giants 4 (box score)
- Indians 8, Orioles 0 (box score)
- Yankees 10, Blue Jays 2 (box score)
- Pirates 2, Cubs 1 in 11 innings (box score)
- Rockies 4, Braves 2 (box score)
- Marlins 12, Nationals 1 (box score)
- White Sox 7, Royals 6 (box score)
- Twins 5, Tigers 4 (box score)
- Brewers 2, Cardinals 1 (box score)
- Angels 4, Rangers 2 (box score)
- Astros 9, Athletics 4 (box score)
- Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3 (box score)
- Dodgers 12, Mariners 1 (box score)
- Mets 8, Phillies 2 (box score)
Phillies lose Little League Classic, drop series to Mets
Sunday evening of course occasioned the second Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. As was the case last year, the event featured plenty of opportunities for Little Leaguers and Major Leaguers to interact and discuss their craft. Speaking of which, you no doubt remember." Well, Phillies masher Rhys Hoskins got the privilege of hanging with Big Al before his team took on the Mets ...
Dingers indeed. Also, check out this enterprising townie, who would clearly not be stopped in his quest to see some big-league baseball ...
As for the game itself, the Mets prevailed and thus took three out of five from the Phillies. That also makes them 8-5 against Philly this season. Amed Rosario, who earlier on Sunday hung with some of the Little Leaguers ...
... went 3 for 5 with three RBI, and the Mets bullpen put up 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Of course, it wouldn't be the Little League Classic without the postgame handshake line ...
The Phillies' loss in tandem with other results on the senior circuit give us this current madness ...
Right now, there is a three-way tie for the two NL wild-card spots among Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Colorado, with St. Louis a half-game back and LA 1.5 behind. Add in division-leading Arizona and Atlanta, and there are seven NL teams within two games of each other. Chaos rules.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 20, 2018
Yep, the stretch drive is going to be flat-out coconuts in the National League.
Verlander wins No. 200 as Astros reclaim first place
The Astros defeated the Athletics in Oakland on Sunday and in doing so moved back into first place in the AL West by a single game over those same A's. Houston ace Justin Verlander wasn't his vintage self -- four runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings -- but thanks to run support and good bullpen work behind him he was able notch the win. That happened to be No. 200 for his career. .
Kershaw makes Dodger history in blowout win
For a second time in the series, the Dodgers pretty well wrecked the Mariners. In Sunday's rubber-match win for L.A., Justin Turner gathered four hits, a home run and five RBI. He's now batting .305/.398/.498 this season. Also thriving was ace Clayton Kershaw, who twirled seven innings of one-run ball to pick up the win. Speaking of picking up the win ...
While injuries have become an increasing concern for Kershaw in recent seasons, he's still excellent when healthy despite some downward trends with his velocity. After shutting down the M's, Kershaw in 2018 has pitched to a 2.40 ERA in 116 1/3 innings with 115 strikeouts against just 20 walks. Just twice this season has he allowed more than three runs in a start (four runs on both occasions). When healthy, he's still among the very best in the game.
Also of note? This Zac Rosscup immaculate inning ...
Goldy's still good
Remember when Diamondbacks fulcrum Paul Goldschmidt was struggling such that some were wondering about premature decline? As recently as May 23, Goldschmidt was lugging around a sub-.700 OPS (a .200/.324/.371 slash to be precise). Since then, though, he's been in vintage form. Coming into Sunday's game against the Padres, Goldy since that low point had a line of .349/.442/.654 with 22 homers in 73 games. Then against the Padres he went 1 for 3 with a pair of walks, which means his OBP for the season is now up to .399.
Also in this key win for Arizona, Zack Greinke pitched a quality start, and A.J. Pollock and David Peralta each homered. Speaking of Greinke, check him out with the back-pocket scouting report ...
Nats lose boat race to Marlins
Time is beginning to run out on the Nationals season. On Sunday, they fell back below .500, to 62-63, with a blowout loss against the Marlins.
The Nationals managed just one run and two hits against Jose Urena, who threw his first career complete game. Urena started because he continues to appeal the he was awarded after intentionally hitting Ronald Acuna Jr. earlier in the week.
Gio Gonzalez's last 13 starts: 7.07 ERA, 1.91 WHIP. Unless the Nationals rally today, his record in those games will be 1-8.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 19, 2018
Washington starter Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, probably wished he was suspended for Sunday's game. He failed to complete five innings, permitting eight runs on 10 hits. He walked four and struck out just five. Later in the game, Tommy Milone gave up four runs in four innings.
The Nationals will now return home and take Monday off. They'll face the Phillies six times between now and the end of the month.
Brewers edge back into wild-card position
The Brewers concluded their three-game set in St. Louis on Sunday, and they avoided the sweep thanks in part to Jhoulys Chacin ...
Chacin has now logged three straight quality starts, and he's also put up consecutive scoreless starts. For the season, his ERA now stands at 3.58 after 151 innings. On offense, Mike Moustakas plated those two runs with a clutch double in the third.
The win nudges the Brewers past the Cardinals in the NL wild-card standings, and they're now tied with the Rockies and Phillies for the two NL wild-card spots.
Cubs' offense makes weird history in series against Pirates
As you see above, the Cubs managed only one run in their extra-inning loss to the Pirates on Sunday. In splitting the four-game series at PNC Park, the Cubs managed just four total runs all series. But wait, there's more ...
Sunday's solo shot came off the bat of Kyle Schwarber, who hit his 22nd homer of the season. Playing a major role in all of this was Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon, who struck out eight over six innings. The Pirates' bullpen worked five shutout frames en route to the win.
Giants drop fourth straight
The Giants' slim playoff hopes took a big hit in Cincy, as the Reds swept the three-game series. On Sunday, San Fran starter Andrew Suarez was battered for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. Eugenio Suarez of the Reds hit his 20th double and 27th homer of the season, and he's now batting .297/.378/.557 on the year. Overall, the Giants managed just six total runs in this series. Coming into Sunday's tilt, the SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) gave the Giants less than a 1.0 percent chance of making the playoffs.
Rockies sweep Braves
Give the Rockies credit, they're hanging around.
Colorado went into Atlanta for a four-game set probably hoping to split the series. They did more than that -- they swept.
Sunday's contest saw the Rockies receive home runs from both starting middle infielders, Trevor Story and DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies also received a strong outing from German Marquez, who held the Braves to five hits and two runs over seven frames.
The Rockies will have to see how other games play out before knowing whether they'll finish the day in sole possession of first in the division. At minimum, they'll have a happy flight home.
Happ shuts down Jays
Think J.A. Happ enjoys being a Yankee?
Happ entered Sunday's start against the Blue Jays -- his former team -- with a sub-2 ERA in his first three starts. He then added another strong outing to his collection.
Happ struck out eight and walked one in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits while tossing 103 pitches. The Yankees bats seemed pleased that Happ is their teammate, too, as they scored 10 runs en route to a blowout.
- The Cubs will face the Pirates in the 2018 Little League Classic in Williamsport, Penn.
- Indians OF Leonys Martin .
- The White Sox will promote SP Michael Kopech to start Tuesday's game.
- Cubs SP Yu Darvish left his rehab start after one inning with an apparent arm issue.