MLB Thursday scores, highlights, live team updates, news: Judge stays hot with another homer

Thursday is traditionally a travel/rest day in baseball, and as such, there are only nine games on today's schedule. Among those nine games are important early season matchups between AL East and NL West rivals. Here's everything you need to know about the day in baseball Thursday.

Thursday's scores

Judge continues strong start

While Giancarlo Stanton reached base twice for the Yankees on Thursday night, he hasn't homered since April 4. Fortunately for New York, "sophomore" Aaron Judge has brought the thunder.

Here he is abusing a Tyler Clippard offering during Thursday's close win over the Blue Jays ... 

That towering homer left the bat at 106 mph. That's also his fifth homer of the season, and Judge is now batting .339/.481/.629 in this, his age-26 campaign. Judge's outstanding 2017 exceeded expectations, which in turn raised concerns that he might not be able to repeat those kinds of numbers in 2018. Well, it's early, but Judge has continued crushing the ball. Also encouraging is that he's drawn 15 unintentional walks against 19 strikeouts -- that's a nifty ratio for someone with his power. It's also yet another sign that he very much knows what he's doing at the plate. 

Eventually, Stanton's going to start punishing the ball, you know. That Yankee lineup will be scary yet. 

Harvey rocked, in danger of losing spot in Mets' rotation

The Braves thumped the Mets in Atlanta on Thursday night, as you see above, and Mets starter Matt Harvey had much to do with that. Regard his work for the evening ... 

View Profile
Matt Harvey CIN • SP • 32
vs. ATL, 4/19
IP6
H8
R6
ER6
SO4
BB1
HR1

After that rough outing, Harvey for the season now has an ERA of 6.00 after three starts. Those struggles aren't isolated, either. Harvey, in part because of injuries (Tommy John and Thoracic Outlet surgeries are in his recent past), hasn't been both healthy and effective since 2015. In related matters ... 

brooksbaseball-chart-matt-harvey-velo.png
BrooksBaseball.net

That's a steady pattern of velocity loss, and Harvey, despite a somewhat deep repertoire, has been unable to adapt to his declining fastball. 

All of that brings us to manager Mickey Callaway's postgame comments on Thursday ... 

That, obviously, means that Harvey is in danger of losing his spot in the Mets' rotation. Read more here on who might replace Harvey.

Vintage Arrieta dominates

This is the Jake Arrieta the Phils were hoping they'd get at some point. Witness what the veteran right-hander did to the Pirates on Thursday ... 

View Profile
Jake Arrieta PHI • SP • 49
vs. PIT, 4/19
IP7
H1
R0
SO10
BB2

Of his 97 pitches, 65 went for strikes. Speaking of his pitches, Arrieta had his vaunted two-seamer working in this one ... 

This is the first time he's struck out at least 10 batters in a start since April 9 of last year. In terms of Game Score, which is a quick-and-dirty Bill James metric that measures a pitcher's dominance or lack thereof in a given start (50 is average and anything 90 or higher is an absolute gem), Arrieta's mark of 86 in this start is his best Game Score in almost exactly two years.

All of this is especially encouraging given that Arrieta, since he signed so late, isn't coming off his usual spring. As well, he struck out only one batter in 6 2/3 innings in his last start, so whatever concerns that outing raised have been erased (as Jerry Crasnick noted on Twitter, Arrieta generated 14 swings and missed versus six total swings and misses through his first two starts of 2018). 

So three starts into his Philly tenure, Arrieta now boasts an ERA of 2.04. With regard to Thursday night, he hasn't looked this dominant in a long, long time. 

O's losing streak hits six

The longest losing streak in baseball outside Kansas City belongs to the Orioles, a team at a crossroads. They spent some money to add pitching (Andrew Cashner, Alex Cobb) late in the offseason, but with so many players scheduled to become free agents after the season (Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton), this might be their last chance to win with this core.

Following Thursday afternoon's loss at Comerica Park, the O's have now dropped their last six games -- they've been outscored 43-22 in the six losses -- and eight of their last nine games. They're dead last in the AL East at 5-14 overall. Their minus-43 run differential is the AL's worst. Only the Reds (minus-46) have been outscored by more runs in the early going this season.

Cobb made his second start with the Orioles on Thursday and it went just as poorly as the first -- the Tigers hammered him for seven runs (five earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Jeimer Candelario hit a two-run home run and Jose Iglesias had a two-run triple.

In two starts Cobb has now allowed 15 runs and 22 baserunners in seven total innings. He's also allowed three home runs. Cobb signed late and didn't have a normal spring training, which could explain his early struggles -- plus, you know, it's only two starts -- but Cobb is having issues his trademark splitter, and they date back to last season.

Even on April 19, the Orioles can't afford to wait around much longer to go on a hot streak, and for Cobb to right the ship. The wild card race is going to be very competitive. And if the O's don't straighten things out soon, they could become a very interesting team at the trade deadline given all their impending free agents.

Hoskins just keeps hitting

Here's Phillies cloutsman Rhys Hoskins homering early against the Pirates on Thursday night while wearing high-fashion throwbacks ... 

That's Hoskins' third homer of the season. He just keeps hitting. Last season, he pretty ripped the league apart after his August call-up: .259/.396/.618 with 18 home runs in 50 games. This season -- and as of the homer you see above -- he's batting .340/.493/.642. That OBP, by the way, presently leads the NL. Also impressive is that Hoskins this season has drawn 15 walks against 16 strikeouts. That's an impressive pair of numbers for a power hitter.

Hoskins is 25, and as a college draftee who progressed slowly through the system, he's been overlooked in the past. Still, he's done nothing but rake as a pro, and he's the kind near-his-prime homegrown performer that the Phillies need. Pair him with the impressive younger talent and the vets added via free agency, and the Phillies are looking like contenders. Hoskins has been the biggest reason for that in the early going.  

Stassi could be an important piece for Astros

In Houston's Thursday thumping of the Mariners, catcher Max Stassi went 2 for 3 with a home run, a walk, and three runs scored. Now please regard Stassi's numbers on the young season ... 

View Profile
Max Stassi HOU • C • 12
2018
PA34
AVG.310
OBP.412
SLG.586
HR2

That's obviously excellent production. No, Stassi's likely not going to continue raking like an MVP on a rate basis, but he's put up good numbers at the highest level, albeit across a very limited sample. 

So why are we devoting some much precious bandwidth to Mr. Stassi? We're doing so because he's potentially a key piece for the defending champs.

Brian McCann is of course the Astros' primary catcher, and he's been quite productive on their watch. However, McCann is in his age-34 season, and in his career he's logged more than 12,000 innings behind the plate. McCann played in just 97 games last season, and that may be his workload ceiling, considering his age and odometer. Also notable is that DH Evan Gattis has yet to work behind the plate this season.

Stassi, meantime, has already set a career high for plate appearances in a season. All signs point to the 27-year-old Stassi being a high-volume backup catcher in 2018. Given McCann's present limitations, that means signs point to Stassi's being an important part of the Astros' bid to repeat as champs. So far, he's answering the call and then some. 

The first triple play of the 2018 season was a weird one

Thursday afternoon at Safeco Field, Houston Astros DH Evan Gattis banged into a 5-4-3 triple play that was anything but routine. With runners on first and second, Gattis hit a grounder to Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who stepped on third for the first out and fired to second for the second out.

That's when it got weird. Gattis, who was safe at first after Robinson Cano elected not to make the throw, apparently thought the inning was over. He started to head back to the dugout and the Mariners tagged him out in the middle of the infield. Check it out:

That is definitely a new one for me. I've seen plenty of runners (and hitters and defenders) forget how many outs there are in the inning. But forgetting the outs and becoming the final out of a triple play? Yeah, haven't seen that before. Gattis' teammates are going to get on him about that.

The triple play is the first for the Mariners since 2015, when they completed a 3-6-2 triple play against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Astros last hit into a triple play in 2016. George Springer did the honors with a traditional 5-4-3 triple play against the Chicago White Sox.

Quick hits

  • The Reds have fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins on Thursday. Bench coach Jim Riggleman takes over as the interim manager. Hall of Famer Barry Larkin could be a permanent managerial candidate.
  • Tests showed Braves 1B Freddie Freeman does not have a fracture in his wrist, the team announced. He is day-to-day. Freeman left Wednesday's game after being hit by a pitch. It's the same wrist he fractured last year.
  • Orioles closer LHP Zach Britton is scheduled to throw off a half-mound Friday, according to Baltimore Sun. Britton blew out his Achilles during an offseason workout and is still several weeks away from returning to game action.
  • Cardinals OF Tommy Pham is not in Thursday's lineup after suffering a groin injury Tuesday, reports Fox Sports Midwest. Pham said he did not suffer a serious injury and could've play Thursday. The team is playing it safe though.
  • The Mets signed depth arms RHP Vance Worley and RHP Scott Copeland to minor league contracts, reports MLB.com. Worley spent spring training with the Reds, but opted out of his contract when he didn't make the Opening Day roster.
  • Yankees OF Clint Frazier is working out "full bore" and could soon begin a minor league rehab assignment, according to MLB.com Frazier suffered a concussion crashing into the outfield wall early in spring training, and hasn't played since.
  • Yankees RHP Tommy Kahnle could miss the next three weeks because of biceps and shoulder tendinitis. 
  • The White Sox acquired OF Trayce Thompson from the Athletics in exchange for cash or a player to be named. 
  • The Brewers have acquired INF Tyler Saladino from the White Sox for cash. 
  • Brewers OF Ryan Braun on Thursday became the 285th hitter in MLB history to register at least 1,000 RBI for his career. 

Live team updates

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories
    24/7 Scores, News, Highlights
    FREE ON ALL YOUR DEVICES