It's getaway day, meaning nearly a full slate of baseball goodness. There's 15 games on the schedule, including the resolution of Tuesday's Yankees-Nationals game and nine others of the day variety. Keep it here for the latest news, notes, and scores.
- Phillies 4, Orioles 1 (box score)
- Pirates 3, White Sox 2 (box score)
- Blue Jays 12, Mets 1 (box score)
- Cardinals 7, Twins 5 (box score)
- Indians 6, Tigers 0 (box score)
- Rays 5, Royals 3 (box score)
- Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 2 (box score)
- Rangers 5, Mariners 1 (box score)
- Reds 6, Giants 3 (box score)
- Red Sox 6, Athletics 4 (box score)
- Marlins 6, Dodgers 5 (box score)
- Braves 4, Cubs 1 (box score)
- Astros 2, Angels 0 (box score)
- Yankees at Nationals, Game 1 (completion of Tuesday's suspended game) -- POSTPONED
- Yankees at Nationals, Game 2 -- POSTPONED
The Dodgers and Marlins now have the same record
To repeat the headline: The Dodgers and Marlins now have the same record. It's May 16. Yes, the Marlins edged the Dodgers on Wednesday night, and in doing so secured the season series win over L.A. Both teams are now 16-26. The Dodgers had hopes for a reversal of fortunes, what with phenom Walker Buehler and his 1.64 ERA on the mound. Buehler, however, allowed five runs in as many innings, and a Dodger comeback in the middle innings came up just short.
Bad baseball was expected on the part of the Miami. After all, they were 77-85 a season ago, and over the winter they traded away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon. The Dodgers, though, won 104 games and the pennant last year. Suffice it to say, this wasn't expected.
Framed another way, the Dodgers, who have won the last five NL West titles, haven't been 10 games under .500 since June of 2013. Given that the Dodgers rallied to win 92 games and the flag that season, maybe that's consolation? Well, right now the SportsLine (@SportsLine on Twitter) Projection Model forecasts them to win 82 games. So at least that's a winning season?
Right now, though, the Dodgers keep reaching new depths. They've lost six in a row and those six losses have come against two of the worst teams in baseball (the Reds and Marlins). Given what we told you about the Marlins' record and the Dodgers' record, maybe you can safely call the last-place Dodgers one of the worst teams in baseball. At the moment, yes, you can do that, unlikely as it seems. In conclusion ...
There are six teams that would lose 100 (or more) games at their current pace: White Sox, Royals, Orioles, Marlins, Reds. And the Dodgers.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 17, 2018
Hinch sticks with Verlander, and it pays off
So it's a key game against the division rival most likely to challenge the champion Astros. Ace Justin Verlander was at 83 pitches after seven scoreless innings -- he'd allowed just two singles -- and was staked to a 2-0 lead. That's not a lock by any means, but you had to like Verlander's chances of continuing to cruise, especially considering he likes to leave something in the tank for the late innings.
In the eighth, though, Ian Kinsler hit a one-out single, and Kole Calhoun followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Verlander rebounded to strike out pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena, which brought Mike Trout to the plate. Verlander presented the best player in baseball with a 97-mph fastball up and in, and Trout tapped it back to the mound for a 1-3 putout ...
Trout's now 2-for-24 against Verlander. At that point, Verlander was at 99 pitches. He's a veteran workhorse, as you know, so he came out for the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Verlander struck out Shohei Ohtani and got Justin Upton to pop out. Then, however, Albert Pujols hit a sharp single to right, and after getting a first-pitch strike to Andrelton Simmons, Verlander walked him on four straight breaking balls that missed. So that brought the potential winning run to the plate in the person of Zack Cozart. Verlander was at 114 pitches, showed slipping command, and Ken Giles was warm in the pen. Still and yet, Houston manager A.J. Hinch let Verlander keep going. The decision was rewarded, as Verlander conjured up another 97-mph fastball on 2-1 and got Cozart to pop up to first base.
This, of course, is the era of "bullpenning" and an abundance of caution when a pitcher faces a lineup for the third time in a game. Famously, though, Hinch promised Verlander last season that he'd eschew all those trends and let him be that old-line ace if he'd just approve a trade to Houston. We know how that worked out, and Hinch and Verlander are continuing to buck the trends in 2018.
For his efforts and for his manager's faith, Verlander recorded his first shutout since 2015 and drove his majors-leading ERA down to an absurd 1.05. Most importantly, he pitched the Astros to a win in this key rubber match.
J.D. Martinez is who they thought he was
The Red Sox this past winter paid nine figures to J.D. Martinez because he's been one of the very best power hitters in baseball since he rebuilt his swing prior to the 2014 season. This year, he's reminded us that he's still one of the very best power hitters in baseball.
On Wednesday night, for instance, he went 1 for 3 with a walk against the A's, and here's that one hit ...
That's 422 feet to center. On the season, Martinez is now batting .344/.395/.644 with 12 home runs. So, yes, still one of the best hitters on the planet.
Bauer helps Indians avoid sweep
Tuesday night the Indians suffered a brutal loss in Detroit, as the bullpen blew an 8-3 lead to drop Cleveland to 20-21 on the season. Andrew Miller faced six batters, walked three, and recorded one out. .
Trevor Bauer came to the rescue on Wednesday afternoon, throwing eight masterful innings to help the Indians avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the rebuilding Tigers.
Closer Cody Allen struck out three in the ninth inning to clinch the win.
Bauer now owns a 2.59 ERA in 59 innings this season, and his fielding independent numbers (2.81 FIP) suggest it is not a fluke. He's been excellent so far, and, when the time comes, Bauer will receive serious All-Star consideration.
Phillies reach new heights
Central to the Phils' interleague win over the Orioles on Wednesday was 25-year-old righty Nick Pivetta, who whiffed 11 batters in seven innings of work ...
On the offensive side of things, second baseman Cesar Hernandez homered and tripled. He's now running a .383 OBP on the season.
What's most important is that the win means that the Phillies are at least eight games over .500 for the first time since late in the 2011 season and also off to their best start in seven years. Read more about.
For the moment, the Brewers have the most wins in the NL
Coming off a surprise run at contention in 2017, the Brewers this past offseason seized the day by trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain, among other moves. Thus far in the 2018 season, they haven't disappointed.
While the Brewers trail the upstart Pirates by percentage points in the tightly bunched NL Central, their victory over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday marked their 26th win of the season, and that means for the moment they have the most wins in the NL. In related matters, they're also playing at a 96-win pace.
On Wednesday in Phoenix, the story was the Milwaukee bullpen, which worked four scoreless innings, and the Milwaukee power bats, which accounted for four homers on the day ...
Let's watch Almora do his thing
Cubs fly-catcher Albert Almora has been quite a useful hitter this season, and he's of course a real difference-maker with the glove in center. On Wednesday against the Braves, he reminded us of that in spectacular fashion ...
Not a great pitch from Tyler Chatwood, but Almora was there to bail him out. That blast from Tyler Flowers may have made it over the wall if one of the best center fielders in baseball weren't on the case.
As you figured out from the scores above, Almora's miracle snare turned out not to be a difference-maker. Across the way, Brandon McCarthy pitched six strong innings, and Ozzie Albies doubled and tripled. Speaking of Albies, the 21-year-old second baseman is now slugging .598 and leading the NL with 110 total bases.
And speaking of Atlanta superstars in the making ...
FROM ELIAS: Ronald Acuña Jr. is the youngest player (20) with a go-ahead hit in the 8th-inning or later of back-to-back games in the expansion era (since 1961). He had a go-ahead single in the 8th inning tonight, and a go-ahead HR in the 8th last night.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 17, 2018
Bartolo can still get it done
That's Colon's longest outing since early August of last year, and it's the first time in a little more than two years that he's gone more than seven innings without allowing a run. Colon turns 45 later this month, and on the season he's pitched to a 2.82 ERA with 32 strikeouts against just four walks in 51 innings. His strategy of pounding the zone with sinkers while rarely walking a batter continues to work despite his advanced age. The early returns in 2018 suggest he's still got some outs in that old arm of his.
Happ stymies Mets
Remember when the Mets were 11-1? Feels like a lifetime ago. They were shut down by J.A. Happ and the Blue Jays on Wednesday for their 10th loss in the last 13 games. The Mets are now 20-19 after starting 11-1.
Happ reached base more times (3) than baserunners he allowed (2). He went 2 for 3 with a walk and scored two runs.
Like the Mets, the Blue Jays have scuffled since a strong start. They went 12-5 to open the season, but, since then, they are 10-16, and that includes Wednesday's blowout win.
Giants lose but Belt continues raking
The Giants fell to the Reds on Wednesday, but San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt continued to enjoy what's looking like a career year. He went 2 for 5 with a homer ...
He's now batting .301/.405/.562 with nine homers, nine doubles, and 22 unintentional walks. Belt's always been something of an underrated hitter -- he carried a career OPS+ of 128 into Wednesday's action -- and this season he's been on another level thus far. He's rather easily been the Giants' best hitter in 2018.
On the other side of things, Matt Harvey made his second start for the Reds. He struck out five against no walks, but he also gave up three runs on seven hits in four innings of work.
- Red Sox C/UTL Blake Swihart .
- The Mets placed OF Yoenis Cespedes on the DL.
- The Cardinals placed RHP Luke Gregerson on the DL.
- Twins C Jason Castro will miss the rest of the season, as his knee injury was worse than feared.
- The Astros optioned OF Jake Marisnick to Triple-A.
- The Mariners purchased the contract of SP Christian Bergman. He will start Wednesday's game.