Archive for the 'MLB' Category

Brewers Outslug Nationals 15-13

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

The balls were flying out of Nats Park Friday night. Sean Doolitle came into pitch with a three run lead and he threw five strikes to the first four hitters he faced. He gave up three homeruns and a double into the gap. The last homerun, the eleventh in the game, was the game winner by Eric Thames, a two run shot in the top of the 14th inning to give the Brewers a 15-14 win. The Nationals scored one in the bottom of the 14th and had the go ahead run of first, with the tying run on third, but ran out of position players and had to pinch hit Joe Ross for Javy Guerra. He struck out to end the game.

The game started out innocently enough with the Brewers erupting for five runs in the top of the third off Anibal Sanchez without benefit of a homerun. With one out Anibal walked the pitcher Jordan Lyles and the leadoff man Trent Grisham. That proved costly as five consecutive hits, four singles and one double plated five runs for the Brewers to jump into a 5-0 lead.

The Nationals were the first to hit the ball out of the park. That came on a two run homer from Juan Soto in the bottom of the third, a ball that just reached the left field bleachers. The Nationals got three more in the bottom of the fourth and tied the game on a three run homer from Adam Eaton into the right field bullpen. What appeared to be a Brewer rout early was now a game.

The Brewers got their first homerun when Ryan Braun hit a ball off the top of the right field bleachers off Matt Grace. The umpires originally ruled it a double, but after review they reversed the call and gave Braun the homerun. Matt Grace gave up another homerun in the top of the sixth, hit by lefthander Trent Grisham to give the Brewers an 8-5 lead. That was it for Grace. As he left the mound the crowd was roaring something other than “Doooo”.

Just when they thought they had gained the momentum the Nationals struck back off Freddy Peralta, who could not get anyone out. Kurt Suzuki led off the inning with a double off the right field scoreboard. Victor Robles followed with a run scoring blooper down the left field line that he turned into a double. Peralta walked Howie Kendrick and then Trea Turner turned on a Peralta pitch and lined it into the left field bleachers just to the right of the left field foul pole for a three run homerun. The Nationals had the lead for the first time 9-8.

It appeared the Nationals put the game away in the seventh when Howie Kendrick launched a ball into the centerfield bleachers for a two run homerun and a 11-8 lead. Fernando Rodney retired the Brewers in order in the eighth. Doolittle had pitched the day before. Most in the stands wanted a rest day for Doolittle and felt a three run lead was enough for Daniel Hudson to pitch, but on came Doolittle.

He got behind Christian Yelich 1-0 and Yelich hit homer number 40 on the next pitch into the left field bleachers. He got behind Keston Hiura 2-0 and Keston ripped the next pitch into the left centerfield gap for a double. He got behind Mike Moustakas 2-1 and the Moose tied the game rifling a pitch over the center field wall. Not wanting to get behind anymore Doolittle threw his first pitch to Ryan Braun across the plate and Braun sent it deep into the left field bleachers to give the Brewers a 12-11 lead. Doolittle did face one more hitter, Eric Thames, who got the barrel of the bat on the ball and hit one deep into center, but Robles was able to catch the ball. That was it for the Doo.

Josh Hader came on to seal the game in the bottom of the ninth. Yan Gomes drew a walk. No pinch runner but no bench players left for Davey. Kurt Suzuki lined a 2-0 pitch into leftfield. Gomes raced for third and the throw from Braun was way off line. Suzuki advanced to second. Now you had two catchers on base. There had to be a pitcher that was faster than Suzuki on second who represented the winning run. Victor lined a single into right field to score Gomes but Suzuki was held at third. Robles advanced to second on the throw because the throw went home to get Suzuki. Robles run meant nothing. Kendrick was walked intentionally to lead the bases with no outs. Trea Turner ran the count to 3-2, even fouling a pitch into the left field bleachers but just foul. He swung and missed for strike three. Adam Eaton was overmatched against the lefty Hader, failing to make contact on three pitches. Anthony Rendon came up with two outs and he too struck out. Extra innings.

The Brewers got another homerun from Christian Yelich in the top of the 13th to take the lead again. The Nationals made it four comebacks with a Victor Robles sacrifice fly to tie the game.

A two run homerun from Eric Thames in the top of the 14th to make it 15-13 appeared to seal the deal. The Nationals still battled back thanks to a throwing error by Keston Hiura with two out that allowed one run to score and advance Soto to second. The Brewers chose to walk Asdrubal Cabrera intentionally to put the game winning run on base, knowing the pitcher’s spot was coming up next and the Nationals had no position players left to pinch hit. Davey pinch hit Joe Ross for Javy Guerra and he struck out. No fifth come back was in the cards because the Nationals had run out of players.

Game Notes: Victor Robles threw out two runners at second, Mike Moustakas and Keston Hiura, who were trying to turn singles into doubles. That is four assists for Robles in the week….After Joe Ross pinch hit for Javy Guerra the Nationals had run out of bullpen pitchers. If the Nationals had tied it would Davey had pitched Joe Ross in the 15th…Patrick Corbin had pitched the previous night. It was Patrick Corbin bobble head tonight…Christian Yelich inched closer to becoming the first player in major league history to 50/30 by hitting two homeruns and stealing a base to put him at 41/24…Both Hader and Doolittle are struggling. Hader has blown four of his last five save appearances with an ERA of 10.50 in his last seven appearances. Doolittle has given up seven homeruns in his last 10 appearances and seen his ERA rise to a non closer like 4.33. In his last seven appearances his ERA is 15.00, even though he has been credited with four saves during that time…The Nationals gave up five homeruns after the ninth inning, which tied a major league record, another one of many homerun records being broken or tied this year. Who says the ball is not juiced?…Other than Sean Doolittle Matt Grace is the lone lefty in the Nationals bullpen. He has given up 11 homeruns in 44 innings. Lefthanders are hitting .313 against him (righthanders .320). He is not too successful at getting anyone out.

Nats Bury Bauer for Sweep of Reds

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Juiced baseballs can result in long ball games. The Nationals scored 16 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 17-7. Stephen Strasburg got a ten run fifth started with an RBI single and Adam Eaton kept the train rolling with a three run homer. The game lasted just over three hours.

It started out as a pitchers duel between Trevor Bauer and Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals scored first using Victor Robles legs. He led off the third with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a bunt by Strasburg and scored on a Trea Turner sacrifice fly to left. In the fourth the Reds scored a run when Kurt Suzuki could not prevent the ball from hitting the back stop. The inning started with a one hop single to Turner, who failed to handle the ball cleanly. Suarez advanced to second on a wild pitch and eventually scored on a swing and miss strike three wild pitch that went to the back stop.

The Nationals blew the game open in the fifth. Bauer had only given up one hit entering the inning. It started innocently when Asdrubal Cabrera beat the shift by hitting a single by Freddy Galvis, who was in short right field. Victor Robles lined a double into right center. With the infield in and runners on second and third, Strasburg poked a single into right field. Trea Turner followed with a seeing eye hit up the middle that Bauer failed to back hand and the middle infielders fell short of reaching the ball. Adam Eaton took a 3-2 pitch into right center for a three run homer. Anthony Rendon followed by hitting a pitch just to the left of the Eaton shot in right center.

Bauer lasted two more batters, giving up a single to Juan Soto and walking Matt Adams. Dal Romano came in to pitch and could not contain the damage. Cabrera got another single and Kurt Suzuki blasted one into the left field bleachers to complete the 10 run inning. All nine Nationals players scored in the inning with Suzuki plated twice.

Stephen Strasburg struggled a bit in the top of the sixth, slated to a 11-1 lead. He gave up an RBI double to Jose Iglesias and a two run homer to Tucker Barnhardt. After getting a second out Davey Martinez went out to the mound. Strasburg tried to wave him back with the glove but Davey continued his trek to the mound. After a discussion he decided to leave Strasburg in. Strasburg walked Jesse Winker on four pitches and he was gone.

In the sixth the first eight hitters in the lineup for the Nats got on base. It could have been back to back double digit innings, but Davey Martinez let Matt Grace hit even though he was not going to pitch in the seventh. Grace struck out. Trea Turner grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Nationals only plated six runs.

Javy Guerra pitched the last three innings for the Nationals. He gave up a solo shot to Aristedes Aquino in the seventh, his ninth homerun in 14 games, the fastest player to nine homeruns in major league history. Freddy Galvis took him deep in the ninth for a two run homer.

Nats Notes: Matt Adams hit a ball foul down the first base line that went out of the stadium. That is the first time myworld has seen a ball hit out of the stadium…The Giants came to town with playoff hopes and were swept by the Nationals. The Reds had the same hope and the sweep hurts their chances of making the playoffs…The ten runs in one inning are the most the Nationals have scored this season in an inning and the 17 runs in a game are also a season high…Myworld was surprised Gerrado Parra did not come in for Juan Soto late in the game. Martinez rested Rendon, moving Cabrera to third but Soto and his bad ankle stayed in the game…Suarez made a couple of border line baserunning errors in the fourth. When he was on second he failed to advance to third on a bloop single that fell in front of Soto. He did eventually get to third but went to far off the bag on a line drive to left field and was late getting back to the bag to tag up. He eventually scored on a strikeout/wild pitch.

Nats Hang on Despite Bullpen

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

When you are up 7-2 going into the eighth inning odds are good the victory is yours. Not with the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals survived a two run homerun in the eighth and two more runs in the ninth, and with the go ahead run standing on first, the Nationals closer was able to get a pop up to third for the final out in a 7-6 victory. Not the way you want to plan it.

Erick Fedde pitched well despite allowing his first pitch to Jessie Winker to be deposited into the left field bleachers. He was also helped by the Reds third base coach who sent Joey Votto home on a single to center. Joey does not have the fastest legs and he was thrown out by Victor Robles by five feet. Not much you can do when the catcher has the ball and you have not gotten far enough to home to start your slide.

The Nationals came roaring back in the bottom half. Adam Eaton started the rally with a walk. With two outs Matt Adams sent one deep into centerfield that hopped off the top edge of the fence and bounced back onto the field. The umpires reviewed the hit and it was confirmed to be a homerun. Asdrubal Cabrera continued his hot hitting since being acquired by the Nationals with a double to right center. Nick Senzel dove for the ball but it hit off his glove and rolled to the wall. Gerrado Parra lined a single into right center to score Cabrera to give the Nationals and Erick Fedde a 3-1 lead.

Fedde continued his early struggles giving up a one out hit to Tucker Barnhart. Jose Iglesias blasted a ball deep to right center for a double, scoring Barnhart. After that hit Fedde settled down facing the minimum number of hitters into the sixth. In the sixth he put two runners on with one out and got out of the jam with a whiff and a ground out. It would be his last inning of work.

Trea Turner provided Fedde with tremendous support in the fourth with a 3-run homer. Turner also delivered on an RBI single in the seventh to give the Nationals a 7-2 lead. But in the eighth with the bases loaded and two outs he grounded to short, meaning Sean Doolittle had to come on in the ninth for the save rather than Fernando Rodney.

The Reds started their comeback with a 2-run homer by Aristedes Aquino off Tanner Rainey. For Aquino that was his eighth homerun in 12 games, a major league record. Rainey started the inning by walking the first hitter he faced Joey Votto. Walks continue to be a big problem for Rainey.

Doolittle came on in the ninth. Phillip Ervin pinch hit for Barnhart and took Doolittle’s first pitch into the left field bleachers. Jose Igesias lined a single into right field. It appeared to be the Mets all over again with a three run lead looking thin. Doolittle was able to retire the next two hitters but Joey Votto hit one deep to left field. Parra made it an adventure trying to catch the ball, turning the wrong way and the ball hit against the fence, Iglesias scoring and Votto stopping at second. The Nationals chose to walk Eugenio Suarez intentionally to put the winning run on first but have Doolittle face the lefty hitting Josh Vanmeter. Josh swung at the first pitch and popped it up foul along the third base side. Rendon squeezed the ball to get the win and the fans all breathed a sigh of relief. Another win despite another bullpen meltdown.

Game Notes: Anthony DeSclafani surprised me with his fastball that hit 95-96. That was a surprise. he only lasted four innings, giving up six runs, one of his worst outings of the year…For Doolittle he finished his 48th game. That is more than any relief pitcher in baseball. Unfortunately his ERA is creeping closer to 4 as he gives up runs in the ninth inning. He has appeared in five of the last seven Nationals games and his ERA in those games sits at 11.57…Aquino hit his homerun off Tanner Rainey. Last year the two played for each other in AA Pensacola. Eight of Aquino’s 15 hits have left the park. They don’t call him the “Punisher” for nothing…Aquino has also driven in a run in seven consecutive games. That is three away from the Reds record of ten set by Joe Morgan in 1976…The Reds needed this win to keep their scant playoff hopes alive. The loss now drops them six games behind the Nationals for the first wild card spot…Kevin Guasman pitched two innings in relief. His career has taken a big down slide since he was a first round pick of the Orioles. Throwing strikes has always been an issue. His fastball was only 93, which is four miles slower than it was in his prime with the Orioles. He did pitch well in his two innings, giving up just one hit and striking out two…The throw home from Victor Robles to retire Joey Votto was measured at 99.5 miles per hour by Statcast, the fourth fastest throw to get an outfield assist…The sprained ankle from Soto has gotten much better. He should be back in the lineup in a couple days.

Top First Base Prospects in Minor Leagues

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Not a stellar list. Many of your top first base prospects struggle in the outfield in the minor leagues but have a good bat and eventually move to first base, making it tougher for minor leaguer first baseman to make the major leagues. Right hand hitting first baseman are not liked by scouts. For one, their glove is on the wrong side of their hand for making a tag during pickoffs and two, if you are going to have a left handed bat in the lineup put him at first base. Christian Walker is one of those rare right handed bats who plays first base, but it took him until his 28th year to become a major league starter. He still platoons with the left hand hitting Jake Lamb. So on to the unimpressive list of first base prospects.

1. Andrew Vaughn (White Sox) - He is the right handed bat that many scouts fear putting at first. The third pick in the 2019 draft is said to have a productive bat that will force itself into the lineup. He was the Golden Spikes winner in 2018 in college while playing for California, finishing his college career with a .374 average and a .688 slugging percentage. His bat is expected to produce power that is slotted for the position and because he hits the ball to all fields he will be impossible to defend with shifts. At 6′0″ he does not have the tall frame that you want to see from a first baseman, but his defense will be steady. He pitched a bit in college so he has the arm for a move to third base. In his first minor league season he has already seen himself promoted to High A. His bat has been below average in the full season leagues, hitting just above .250 with a slugging average below .430. Major league teams will want to see more from their first baseman, but he is still learning, getting his first exposure to minor league pitching.

2. Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - The arm is his biggest down side. The Orioles tried him at short and third but the loopy throws to first would not cut it in the major leagues. Left field is another option but the arm could be a hindrance there. His bat is what will get him to the major leagues and while he does not have the power of Yordan Alvarez, a rotation between first base and DH will be in his future. This year has been a breakout season for him power wise. His 20 homeruns is a career high and he is slugging .516. The big cause of concern is his 17/107 walk to whiff ratio, which means his .314 average in AAA will not be sustainable if he keeps swinging at pitcher’s pitches. The Orioles roster is filled with first baseman/DH types (Chris Davis, Trey Mancini, Mark Trumbo) so finding room for him will mean the O’s will have to say bye to Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo and keep Mancini and his sub par defense in the outfield (Renato Nunez is another DH player on their roster). His bat should be ready for the major leagues next year and a September callup is a strong possibility this year.

3. Seth Beer (Diamondbacks) - The bat is what will get him into a major league lineup. The Astros drafted him with their first pick in 2018. He was included in a trade to the Diamondbacks for Zack Greinke. So he has gone from a DH league to a non-DH league, depriving him of an opportunity to play his best position, unless the major leagues adopts the DH for both leagues. He is the first left handed bat in this list, but he throws right handed, meaning his glove is on the wrong side for pickoffs. The Astros have used him in the outfield, but his lack of speed and weak arm make him a liability there. His best position is DH. Last year he hit himself into High A, slugging 12 homeruns. He struggled a bit when trying to hit High A pitching (.262 average, 4/22 walk to whiff ratio). This year he was better at High A (.314, .602 slugging) that the Astros promoted him to AA after only 35 games. He has 25 homeruns (none in his 8 games with the D-backs AA team) with 93 RBIs. If he was in AAA with the juiced baseballs his homer numbers could be video game like. Christian Walker and his inconsistent bat is his only impediment in the major leagues so there is no one stopping him from a promotion if his bat keeps producing.

4. Triston Casas (Red Sox) - The Red Sox first round pick in 2018. He only played in two games last year because a torn ligament in his thumb ended his season early. At 6′4″ he has the size teams are looking for in their first baseman. He also throws right handed so the Red Sox are looking at him for third. That size is normally a hindrance at that position if he lacks the quickness and flexibility to handle the hot shots. He has tremendous power, so his bat is what will get him in the lineup somewhere. He played for Team USA where he showed an ability to hit to all fields, making him tough to shift against. This year he has been a bit strikeout prone with 105 whiffs in 101 games. He has clobbered 17 homeruns, but his .247 average keeps his slugging average at .468. Those are Bobby Bradley like numbers. Next year the Red Sox will promote him to High A. If he does well there that could result in a quick promotion to AA but at 19 years of age there is no reason to rush his bat until it is ready for the next level. It will be a couple years before he sees the major leagues, especially with Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers ahead of him.

5. Evan White (Mariners) - Evan was a first round pick in 2017. He is noted for his defense, which is good. There is some question about his power, which is bad when you are playing first base. He also hits right handed, another tick against him. But he throws lefthanded so good for pickoff throws. Bottom line is if Evan can hit he will make the major leagues. Last year in High A he sprayed the gaps with 27 doubles, but hit only 11 homeruns, resulting in a .458 slugging. His batting average was an impressive .303 which led to a promotion to AAA, skipping AA. This year Evan finds himself in AA and his power has impressed with 16 homeruns and a .500 slugging. With his superior glove that could get him to the major leagues. It is not like the Mariners have anyone there that can stop his promotion in 2020 except for the DH entrenched Dan Vogelbach.

6. Bobby Bradley (Indians) - The third round pick in 2014 has been hitting a lot of balls out of minor league parks. A troubled glove and an inability to hit for average has kept him pummeling minor league pitchers. Last year at AA he repeated that level and his average dropped 40 points. Despite the struggles (.214 average) he still got his promotion to AAA. This year he has hacked at AAA pitching for a .272 average and a career high 29 homeruns. It led to his first promotion to the major leagues, where he struggled (.178), hitting only one homerun in 45 at bats. Next year he may be given more of an opportunity. He’ll get to show his stuff in September. DH may still be his best position in the major leagues.

7. Nate Lowe (Rays) - Nate Lowe, like catcher Will Smith (Dodgers) may not be considered a prospect next year if he gets a few more at bats. He was a 13th round pick in 2016 out of college. His younger brother was a first round pick of the Rays in the 2016 draft out of high school. Nate is the one that has made an impact for the Rays, with a .294 average and 5 homeruns. At 6′4″ and 245 pounds he can mash a baseball when he gets ahold of it. His large frame hinders his speed for the outfield making first base his only viable position. His younger brother is the same 6′4″ and 205 pounds with the speed to one day join him with the Rays playing the outfield. Defensively Nate can handle first base, but he will not win any gold gloves. Expect Nate to be the Rays starting first baseman next year.

8. Nick Pratto (Royals) - Nick was a first round pick of the Royals in 2017, a couple picks ahead of White. Like White, Nick is noted for his glove at first base. There is some concern whether his bat will break out enough to be an offensive contributor at the position. To go along with that lack of power he also has a propensity to swing and miss with 150 whiffs last year and already 145 this year in less games. Last year he slugged .443 with just 14 homeruns, but had the ability to find the gaps with 33 doubles. This year he is really struggling with a .185 average and a .302 slugging. We’ll chalk it up to a bad season. One tool he is above average in for a first baseman is speed. Last year he stole 22 bases and this year he has 15. It is still not enough to make him an effective outfielder at any position but possibly left field.

9. Lewin Diaz (Marlins) - Diaz was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1.4 million by the Twins. They traded him to the Marlins for bullpen help (Sergio Romo). Myworld likes his 6′4″ height and his lefthanded bat. Diaz has had a breakout year with his power, slugging 24 homeruns between High A and AA. His ability to hit for average has improved, raising his High A average from .225 last year to .290, resulting in a promotion to AA. His lack of speed will restrict him to first base where his defense will be adequate. For a power hitter he does have a good ability to make contact. He could make a contribution to the Marlins next year.

10. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - The 2016 fourth round pick will rely on his power. Bobby can also play third base, but Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers could hinder his major league progress there. He is one of those players whose at bats do not result in a lot of balls hit in play. He takes a lot of walks, whiffs a ton and sends many a ball over the fence. Last year he slugged 32. This year he has 22. The strikeouts will leave his batting average below .250 but his OBA should still be good with his walks. He has a solid arm and just below average speed so a move to left field could be an option, but the Red Sox outfield is a little crowded now for that to happen. He will probably see the Red Sox next year and if J.D. Martinez is not resigned he could see time as a DH.

Astros Blame it on Rio for Walkoff Loss

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

Mychal Givens and the Orioles had just given up three runs in the top of the ninth to lose a 5-4 lead. Roberto Osuna hit Chance Sisco to put the tying run on. Chris Davis came to the plate representing the go ahead run. In years past you could hope for a walk off homerun. With four K’s in four at bats you just hoped he did not hit into a double play to end the game. He hit a ball to shallow left and Jace Peterson was able to tag up and give him a sacrifice fly. It was kind of surprising Josh Reddick threw the ball home since that run did not really matter and Sisco could have advanced to second. Rio Ruiz, an unlikely hero came to the plate and with the count 2-2 he hit a no doubter that landed on Eutah Street for a 8-7 Orioles victory, their first walk off win of the year and the first for Ruiz in his career.

Asher Wojciechowski retired the Astros in order in the top of the first so it appeared to be a better start than their 23-2 loss of yesterday. The Orioles even got a run in the bottom of the first on two singles and a RBI double from Jace Peterson to give them a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the second the homer gods again frowned down on the Orioles. Carlos Correa smashed a 3-run homerun deep into the Astros end of the bullpen for a 3-1 lead. Visions of the nightmare of yesterday began dancing into the heads of the Oriole fans. The O’s bounced back in the bottom frame on an RBI single from Trey Mancini to cut the lead to 3-2.

Asher settled down after the second inning. The Astros got baserunners in every inning he pitched, but Asher was able to prevent any Astro from crossing the plate until the seventh, his last inning when a single by Josh Reddick and double by George Springer put Astros on second and third. A ground out scored a run, brought in the bullpen, but the Orioles still had a one run lead.

They were able to take the lead in the fifth off Justin Verlander. He struck out 11 hitters in his five innings of work, but in the fifth he gave up two runs to allow the Orioles to go ahead. Pedro Severino got the inning started with a ground ball double just inside the third base bag. Jace Peterson roped a pitch over the head of center fielder George Springer for a triple to tie the game. Hanser Alberto hit a foul ball into left field but it was caught by Michael Brantley. His throw was not strong enough to get Peterson racing home with the go ahead run.

The Orioles scored an insurance run in the sixth after Chris Devinski had whiffed the first two hitters he faced. Jonathan Villar singled, stole second and scored on a Trey Mancini single. Mancini had also contributed an RBI single in the second. Santander doubled down the right field line to put runners on third and second but Devinski whiffed Pedro Severino to end the inning.

The Orioles had a chance to put the game away in the eighth when they loaded the bases with one out. Santander hit a fly ball to shallow center, not deep enough to score Rio Ruiz from third. Severino then hit one over the left field fence, but it was just a couple feet foul from being a grand slam homerun. On the next pitch he grounded out to third.

The top of the ninth was another nightmare for Mychal Givens, who came into the game with five blown saves. He got out of a jam in the eighth by striking out Josh Reddick with the tying run at second. He could not get anyone out in the ninth. Springer singled to left, Peterson falling short of making a shoe string catch. Altuve laid down a bunt single down the third base line. Michael Brantley hit a ball down the right field line. Santander chased it. Brantley headed to third and as Santander picked the ball up to throw it the ball slipped out of his hand and fell behind him. By the time Santander picked the ball up Brantley had scored. Givens hit Alex Bregman on a 1-2 pitch and he was replaced by Richard Bleier.

Bleier got out of the inning with a whiff and double play. That gave the Orioles the opportunity for the walk off in the ninth.

Game notes: Santander got a bloop single off Verlander in the first. Verlander struck out Santander on six pitches in his next two at bats. Santander looked overmatched in the two at bats and saw a total of nine pitches in his three at bats against Verlander…Verlander was hitting 95-96 with his fastball. The 11 K’s shows he still has his swing and miss stuff. It also gave him double digit strikeouts for five consecutive games, the first time he has established that in his career…The Orioles can not keep Chris Davis with the at bats he has been having this year. There are just too many swings and misses in his game and not enough balls deposited over the fence. Four whiffs today upped his strikeout total to 118 in 87 games. There are at least 60 other first baseman that are better than him (other teams starters and backups and Mancini and Mountcastle). Keeping him on the roster is an effort in futility, just because they are paying him $25 million per year. Even the fans have turned against him, booing him after each whiff…Trey Mancini made a nice sliding catch with runners on first and second and two out in the fifth, saving at least one run from scoring…For Rio Ruiz it was his first walk off homerun in his career and his second consecutive day with a homerun after his recent callup…The win by the Orioles erased the Astros eight game winning streak…Rio Ruiz was named player of the game but Jace Peterson deserves some accolades with his two doubles and a triple, all contributing to runs.

O’s Earn Split with Blue Jays

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

Playing in front of 4,000 plus Brits, who accounted for almost 25 percent of the crowd, the Orioles were able to beat the Blue Jays 6-5 to split their four game series. The Orioles used a career high 9 walks and took advantage of a Bo Bichette error to snatch the victory away from the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays had an excellent opportunity to score crooked numbers in the first inning off the opener Jimmy Yacobonis. A Bo Bichette leadoff double and two walks loaded the bases with no outs. Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a hard bouncer to Chris Davis, who went home with his throw and was able to retire Bichette. Justin Smoak hit a fairly deep fly ball to left field. Cavan Biggio tagged to go home and Lourdes Gurriel tagged to advance to third. Anthony Santander sent his throw to third and Jace Peterson was able to put the tag on him to get the out at third - before Biggio had crossed the plate. Myworld did not notice to see if Biggio was trotting home certain he would score on the fly ball. Either way there was a baserunning blunder by the Blue Jays - 1) for Gurriel trying to needlessly advance to third and 2) if Biggio was not sprinting home.

Sean Reid-Foley had trouble finding the plate for the Blue Jays. Mid-way through the second inning he had thrown 24 balls and just 18 strikes. In the first inning he walked Jonathan Villar but he was erased when Trey Mancini grounded into a double play. Sean walked Anthony Santander and Renato Nunez to put two runners on. Jace Peterson lifted what appeared to be a routine popup, but Bichette could not find it and it fell for a hit. Santander scored but Peterson was thrown out at second. Myworld could not see if Peterson was running at full speed when he first hit the pop up.

The Blue Jays were able to tie the game in the top of the second off Tom Eshelman. Randal Grichuk started the inning with a double down the left field line. Teoscar Hernandez drove him in with a single to left center. Brandon Drury lifted what again appeared to be a routine popup but Chris Davis took an awkward path to the ball and it fell just outside the infield grass for a single. The O’s had the shift on so that would have normally been an easy catch for the second baseman. Fortunately for the Orioles it did not hurt them as Tom Eshelman retired the next three hitters.

Bo Bichette had a rough day at short. A misplay on his part allowed the O’s to retake the lead. Chance Sisco singled and Chris Davis walked. With runners on third and second and two out Jonathan Villar hit an easy grounder to Bichette, but the ball hit off the side of his glove. Sisco scored. Two more scored when Trey Mancini rammed one down the third base line for a double.

Eshelman pitched out of a first and second threat with no out in the fourth. In the fifth a walk and ground rule double by Vlad Guerrero put runners on second and third with one out. The Orioles conceded the run and took the out on a grounder to second and it was 4-2 Orioles.

Even with the departure of Sean Reid-Foley, the Jays pitchers had trouble throwing strikes. Yennsi Diaz made his major league debut and was throwing gas, hitting 97 with his fastball, but it was rarely crossing the plate. After a leadoff single by Trey Mancini, Diaz walked four hitters, allowing two to trot home because of his walks. After his fourth walk he was gone.

Brandon Hyde may have left Eshelman in too long. In the top of the seventh Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio went back to back, Eshelman throwing only three pitches before giving up the two dingers. In came Dillon Tate and he struggled. Grichuk put the Blue Jays within one with an RBI double and with runners on second and third with one out the lead was in jeopardy. Tate was able to whiff Teooscar Hernandez and got Drury to ground out to third to end the threat.

Shawn Armstrong came on to close in the ninth. He gave up two singles to put runners on first and third with two outs. Teoscar Hernandez came to the plate again in a clutch situation. Shawn was able to strike out Teoscar for the final out, his third whiff of the inning. After getting two hits in his first two at bats Teoscar struck out in his next three at bats.

Game Notes: There were 4,000 Brits at the game. They were part of a scout troop that spent two weeks in West Virginia white water rafting, hiking and climbing mountains. They ended their trip with a visit to Camden Yards. The Brits ended up cheering for Orioles left fielder Anthony Santander. Anthony seemed to enjoy his new fan club….Bo Bichette may not be able to survive at shortstop. His throws were all over the place. He committed two errors, one on a throw that bounced to first, and he misjudged or lost a popup…Despite what appears to be Vlad Guerrero’s girth, he gets down the first base line very quickly. He beat out a grounder to first that appeared to be a routine play, though the pitcher may have been a little late covering…The first four players in the Jays lineup have impressive genes. Three of the four have Hall of Fame fathers. Bo Bichette (the only dad who is not in a Hall of Fame but Dante did have a couple 40 homerun seasons), Cavan Biggio (son of Hall of Famer Craig), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (son of Lourdes, Hall of Famer from Cuba) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr (son of Hall of Famer Vlad Sr). That is an impressive group of names. If they can come close to producing their dad’s numbers they will be very productive players for the Jays…Dwight Smith, whose dad also played in the major leagues also played for the Blue Jays before he was traded to the Orioles. He did not play in the game today…For Tom Eshelman it was his first major league victory…The back to back homers by Bichette and Biggio was the ninth consecutive game in which the Orioles have given up two or more homeruns. That ties the record the Astros broke in 2016 during their down years. Next in town is the homer happy Yankees. That record could be easily broken…The Orioles have also given up 218 homeruns. With 51 more games to play the Orioles appear to be on pace to break the Reds record of giving up 258 homers, the most in a major league season. All they have to do is give up one homerun per game.

UK Comes to Camden - New Fan Base for Santander

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

Back in July the major leagues sent the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox to London to play two games. They were both sellouts. Now in August about 4,000 Britons came to Camden Yards to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play the Baltimore Orioles.

They were part of a scouting group that spent two weeks in West Virginia white water rafting, hiking trails and climbing mountains. The first journey of their trip started in New York, but they were only there half a day. They finished it with trips to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. When I asked one Brit if he was concerned about Trumps warnings about the dangers of Baltimore he said he wasn’t aware of what Trump said, but then he said most Brits don’t really listen to what Trump has to say.

The fans for whatever reason drew a liking to Anthony Santander, the leftfielder for the Orioles. He had been throwing baseballs to the fans in between innings. The UK crowd had taken most of the seats along left field. When they began chanting “twenty five”, which is the uniform number of Santander, I informed one of the chanters that his name was “San-Tan-Dare”. They changed the chant to “San-tan-dare”. He got a couple of big ovations when he caught fly balls out in left field. Santander must have been surprised that fans from Great Britain knew how to pronounce his name.

The Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel did not get the same kind of love. Myworld did not notice whether or not he was throwing baseballs into the stands in between innings. After the Santander love fest he did throw a ball into the left field stands but the Brits still ignored him. Perhaps they were showing respect for the player from Baltimore.

The 4,000 or so fans had to leave by 3 PM because they had flights to catch back to the UK. Only a few witnessed the first base hit from Santander. But he did get a big ovation the second and third time when he came to the plate. When he went back out into the field Santander played with the fans affections. They seemed to be enthralled by his attention.

Perhaps the next time the major leagues want to return to the UK to play a third game in London they should choose the Orioles, to give Anthony Santander another chance to play in front of his newly found fan base.

Top Catching Prospects

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Myworld attempts to identify the top ten catching prospects in the minor leagues. This is my opinion based on numbers since we have not seen all of these players play. For the next couple weeks we’ll try to go around the diamond.

1. Adley Rutschman (Orioles) - The first pick in the 2019 draft. The last time the Orioles drafted a catcher in the first round (2007 fifth overall pick) his name was Matt Wieters. Matt has had a good career in the major leagues but when he was in college his bat was going to make him special. That bat never really showed up. Like Matt, Adley is a switch hitter and comes with the same two way press clippings, a powerful bat who can play the defensive game. He makes good contact, walking more than he struck out in college and has the potential to hit for power. He also has a strong arm that can control the running game. At 6′2″ he is solidly built but still agile enough behind the plate. In his professional debut he has walked (5) more than he has struck out (4), but his batting average is less than desired (.176). It is a small sample size of only 34 at bats and it comes after a heavy college season. Adley should get enough experience that he should play in the full season league next year.

2. Joey Bart (Giants) - A similar story for Bart who will eventually be called upon to replace Buster Posey, who has had a good career with the Giants. Like Wieters, Posey was a fifth overall pick (2008) but his offensive game has been better. At 32 years of age his catching shelf life is about to expire and Bart is poised to replace him. Joey was a first round pick in 2018 and was the second overall pick, coming out of the same college as Wieters (Georgia Tech). His first season in rookie ball he shined with 13 homeruns and a .364 average. Those are the kind of numbers we expected from Adley. Joey is also a two way player with a powerful arm to control the running game and a good bat to hit in the middle of the lineup. At 6′3″ he is also a big catcher but very agile behind the plate. For the 2019 season the Giants started him in the California League where his bat continues to shine (.270, 12 homeruns) with a .815 OPS. His speed and ability to make contact is not as strong as Adley but he should make an impact with the Giants by 2021.

3. Will Smith (Dodgers) - Will was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2016. At the start of the season he wasn’t even considered the best catcher in the Dodgers system. After the way he has handled major league pitching this year (.326, 6 homeruns, 1.199 OPS) he may not be eligible as a rookie next year since he is now the Dodgers starting catcher in the middle of a playoff race. Based on his career minor league numbers (.236 average) the batting average should not stay at that level, but his power is real. He also has a strong arm and is showing good maturity with a veteran Dodger pitching staff in a playoff race. Keibert Ruiz will find it tough to wrest the catching job from Smith, but the Dodgers appear to be set at catching for the long term. This year Will did hit .269 with 20 homeruns in just 60 games at AAA, where the baseballs may have been a little juiced. For a power hitter he makes good contact.

4. Miguel Amaya (Cubs) - With Wilson Contreras behind the plate the Cubs are not in an immediate need to find a catcher. They found Miguel in Panama, where they signed him for $1.25 million in 2015. His defensive game at this point is above his offensive game, but his power began to show last year with 12 homeruns in his first exposure to the full season leagues. A promotion to the Carolina League for 2019 has seen some offensive struggles (.232) but he has shown some patience at the plate (.347 OBA) and continues to display his power (8 homeruns). His defensive game has improved to such a point that he may be one of the best defensive catchers in the minor leagues. Despite his offensive struggles Miguel should see AA next year and Wilson should start looking in the rear view mirror at his next replacement.

5. Francisco Alvarez (Mets) - The Mets have had a number of promising catchers that have performed less than their expectation once they reached the major leagues. Francisco comes from the catching haven of Venezuela and signed in 2018 for $2.7 million. He did not play last year. At 17 years of age he still has some work to do on his defensive game. He has been pretty impressive with the bat in his first year hitting .462 with two homeruns in just 26 at bats. The Mets promoted him to Kingsport where he continues to rake with a .355 average with two more homeruns. His OPS sits at an impressive 1.073. At 5′11″ and 220 pounds Francisco is a bulky catcher. To stay agile behind the plate he will have to watch his weight. A promotion to the full season league next year is expected.

6. Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers) - Keibert was signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for $140,000. Will Smith has been a step ahead of him on the catching ladder. Keibert was signed for his defense, but his bat has been pretty impressive as well, with a .309 career average entering the 2019 season. The power may not be as great as Smith but he has a better ability to make contact and hit for a higher average. Both players have a strong defensive game. This year Keibert struggled a bit in AA, where he played last year (.254) but a promotion to AAA has seen him increase that average (.324). The Dodgers could leave Ruiz in AAA next year as insurance to an injury to Smith but at some point they will have to make a decision who their starting catcher is.

7. Ronaldo Hernandez (Rays) - Ronaldo was signed out of Colombia in 2014 for a bargain price of $225,000. No catcher on this list has a stronger arm than Hernandez. The other parts of his game still need some work. The Rays converted him to catcher after signing him so his experience is still limited behind the plate. Last year Ronaldo played his first year in a full season league and clubbed 21 homeruns. His career average entering the 2019 season is .306. Playing in the pitcher friendly Florida State League he is hitting .274 with 7 homeruns. His .413 slugging is about 70 points under his career minor league average. The Rays will show patience with him but he could be the Rays first home grown catcher in more than a decade.

8. Shea Langeliers (Braves) - Shea was a first round pick of the Braves in 2019, the ninth player selected in the draft. His defensive tools are supreme with an arm equal to Hernandez. He was considered the best defensive catcher in college baseball. His bat could be a question mark, but he did break an NCAA tournament record with 11 RBIs in one game. The Braves debuted him in Low A where he has struggled with the bat (.211). When you consider the Orioles have started Adley in the rookie leagues the immediate promotion of Shea to full season was an aggressive move. They may start him in Low A to begin the 2020 season but he could be up with the Braves very quickly.

9. Sam Huff (Rangers) - Sam was a seventh round pick in 2016 out of high school. Catchers drafted out of high school usually do not have the same success as catchers drafted out of college. At 6′4″ Sam is large for a catcher but his athleticism and strong arm keep him behind the plate. His large frame gives him exceptional power. Last year he hit 18 homeruns at Low A. The downside was a troubling 23/140 walk to whiff ratio. This could hurt him average wise as he sees more advanced pitching. The Rangers repeated him at Low A this year and after hitting .333 with 15 homeruns in just 30 games they quickly promoted him to High A. The homerun numbers have slowed (10 in 70 games) but the average still remains high (.278). He still continues to struggle to make contact (23/116 walk/whiff ratio in 101 games) so that will have to be monitored. His defense is strong enough that if he hits below .250 with 20 plus homeruns he should make it as a starter.

10. William Contreras (Braves) - The younger brother of Wilson. His offensive game is probably just above his defensive game at this point. He has a strong arm behind the plate, good athleticism and with more experience should be an upper level defender like his older brother. His offensive game has the same potential for power as his brother. Last year he hit 11 homeruns at Low A but failed to hit a homerun in his 83 at bats in the Florida State League. That is where he started his 2019 season and though his offensive numbers were not great (.263, 3 homeruns) he was still promoted to AA. William makes good contact and his power should improve as he matures. Expect him to be with the Braves sometime late next year as a September callup.

Bay Sox on a Roll

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

The two hottest teams in the Eastern League are the Bowie Bay Sox and the Erie Seawolves. Both are playing .700 ball in the second half, with the Seawolves holding a one game lead. They Bay Sox are the AA team of the Orioles while the Sea Wolves are the AA team of the Tigers, two major league teams fighting for the worst record in baseball.

Myworld was in Bowie to watch the Bay Sox play the Portland Sea Dogs. Michael Bauman was pitching for the Bay Sox. He has been one of the top minor league pitchers for the Bay Sox entering the game with a 2-1 record and a 1.86 ERA in eight appearances, six starts. At 6′4″ with a fastball consistently clocked in the high 90s he is a prospect to watch.

If you arrived late for the game you may have missed Bauman. The first two hitters ripped singles against him and after that he had trouble finding the plate. He walked two and gave up another single and when he attempted to throw a curve it broke in against the left handed hitter, it hit him to drive in the third run. Bauman was gone after that. He did show an impressive fastball that was consistently in the high 90s but myworld did not see too much but his fastball. His breaking pitch did not seem to have a lot of bite and the few times he threw the pitch it did not break across the plate. Marcus Wilson had the big hit with a two run single in the inning.

The Bay Sox battled back after falling behind 3-0. Konner Wade had shut the Bay Sox down for the first four innings but T.J. Nichting broke the shutout in the fifth with an RBI single. Wade left the game after the sixth still holding a 3-1 lead.

Adam Lau came on to pitch the seventh for the Sea Dogs. He walked Jesmeul Valentin to lead off the inning. With one out Preston Palmeiro hit a one out hit and run single to right. The ball was booted by Marcus Wilson allowing Valentin to score and Palmeiro to advance to second. Palmeiro scored on a infield single up the middle by Ryan Ripken to tie the game. Yes. Palmeiro and Ripken are sons of Rafael and Cal, but they do not have their major league tools. Palmiero is a first baseman who lacks power and only stands 5′11″. Ripken is tall (6′6″) but at 26 he has not shown power to play the corners.

The Bay Sox ripped Matthew Gorst in the eighth to take a three run lead. Ryan McKenna started the inning with a bunt single. Palmiero walked with the bases loaded and T.J. Nichting singled to drive in two. Nichting was caught between first and second and Wilson held the ball watching Palmeiro at third. When he threw to first Nichting broke for second. Palmeiro was caught leaning too far off third and Joey Curletta gunned him down at third instead of throwing to second.

The Bay Sox brought out their closer Christian Alvarado to pitch the ninth. Like McKenna the lead off hitter Jarren Duran bunted down the third base line. Alvarado threw it past the first baseman and Duran stopped at second. C.J. Chatham singled to drive in Duran. Two strikeouts and a walk to Luke Tendler put two runners on. Just as a father was explaining to his daughter about wanting to pitch carefully to Marcus Wilson because a homerun would give the Sea Dogs the lead, Wilson hit the next pitch over the left field fence. Too bad Alvarado was not listening. Wilson drove in five of the seven Sea Dog runs.

The Bay Sox did not score in the home half.

Game Notes: The Bay Sox pitchers struck out 17 Sea Dogs. The bullpen was responsible for 16 of those K’s. Steven Klimek showed a wicked curve ball and his fastball hit the mid 90s. He threw two shutout innings, striking out four. He will be a pitcher to watch…It was Navy night at Bay Sox stadium and daddy/daughter date night with 7,900 in attendance…Bobby Dalbec swung and missed at a breaking pitch in the dirt from Klimek. Dalbec struck out three times from the DH spot. Sea Dog catcher Austin Rei struck out all four times he came to the plate…Carlos Perez had trouble holding on to the ball during stolen bases. The Sea Dogs stole four bases against him, two when he could not throw the ball because the ball slipped out of his hand when he came up throwing…Jarren Duran shows some good speed. He was a seventh round pick of the Red Sox in 2018…A 20-7 June record by the Bay Sox was the best in franchise history.

Donaldson Does the Doo

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

The Washington Nationals made a nice comeback on Wednesday, scoring three runs in the last two innings to tie the game at 4-4. They went with Sean Doolittle to start the tenth and after getting Freddie Freeman to ground to short to go 0 for 5 he could not do the same with Donaldson. Josh gave the ball a ride over the centerfield fence, despite a leaping effort from Victor Robles to give the Braves a 5-4 win. It was the first hit of the day for Donaldson. The Nationals had two runners on in the bottom frame with Anthony Rendon up. He hit a hard liner to left that had promise but Adam Duvall was able to chase it down to end the game.

The Braves Mike Soroka was tough on the Nationals. He allowed a solo homerun to Juan Soto in the second that tied the game. They had runners on first and third with one out in the fourth but Kurt Suzuki lined out to Freeman who stepped on first for a double play. In the sixth Trea Turner hit one into the gap for a double. Instead of holding Kendrick at third to have second and third with no out Kendrick was sent home and thrown out easily. That hit was just the third off Soroka. He went seven innings allowing just three hits.

Anibal Sanchez was not as consistent as Soroka. He also gave up a solo homerun in the second, to Adam Duvall, his third in two games against the Nationals. Duvall was batting .529. Sanchez loaded the bases with one out in the inning when Dave Martinez chose to walk the weak hitting Yohan Camargo intentionally. Myworld did not like the strategy, but pitcher Soroka grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to prevent Ronald Acuna from coming up.

In the third Acuna led off with a double and Ozzie Albies made it back to back. Acuna grounded his past a diving Rendon down the third base line. Albies grounded his past a diving Parra down the first base line. Sanchez was able to get out of the inning with no further damage.

The Braves nicked him again in the fourth on back to back two out singles from two of the weakest hitters in the lineup, Camargo and Soroka. Ronald Acuna drove a single into right center to score Camargo. Adam Eatton cut the ball off before it could get to the wall otherwise Soroka would have scored.

The Braves drove Sanchez from the mound in the sixth inning when back to back doubles from Ender Inciarte and Tyler Flowers almost landed in the same spot down the right field line. Tanner Rainey was able to end the rally, but Parra made a heads up throw to third on a ground ball to retire Flowers to make it easier on Rainey. Normally first baseman are content with getting the out at first.

The bullpen held the Braves allowing the Nationals to whittle at the lead. In the eighth Matt Adams clobbered a two out pinch hit homerun into the right field bleachers off Anthony Swarzak. The Braves brought in Luke Jackson to start the ninth but he gave up back to back singles to Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon. The Rendon hit was picked up in the hole by Camargo but he could not get a grip on the ball when making the throw. That brought in Sean Newcomb to close the game. He walked Juan Soto on four pitches to load the bases. He threw two balls to Kurt Suzuki and instead of waiting for a strike Kurt swung at the next pitch and lined a single to left field to score Eaton.

The Nationals had the bases loaded with no outs and down by just one, 4-3. Gerrado Parra came to the plate. He fouled two off trying to lift the ball into the outfield for a SF. The next pitch he hit the ball hard, but on the ground. The Braves were able to turn a 6-4-3 double play. Brian Dozier then struck out on a 3-2 pitch to send the game into extra innings.

Josh Tomlin came on to pitch in the bottom of the tenth to get the save. Adrian Sanchez hit a one out single when both Freeman and Tomlin went for the ball and no one covered first. A walk to Turner put runners on first and second with one out. Tomlin got Eaton to pop out and Rendon hit the hard liner to left to end the game.

Game Notes: The way Adam Duvall is hitting the Braves are not missing Nick Markakis. With the return of Inciarte from injury it gives him a place to play in centerfield, Acuna plays in right field and Austin Riley and Duvall share playing time, though the way Duvall is hitting he is getting most of that playing time…Tanner Rainey was hitting the radar at 100 and 101, lowering his ERA below 4. With the new acquisitions of Daniel Hudson, Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elias his bullpen time could be reduced…The Braves had two runners thrown out trying to advance to third on ground balls to the infield. Flowers was an unconventional 3-5 ground out. Adam Duvall got thrown out at third on a grounder to short…Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson almost combined to go 0 for 10…Anthony Rendon appears to be running better. He went from first to third on a Suzuki single showing good speed in his legs as he motored to third…Howie Kendrick showed no speed in his attempt to score from first on the Turner double. It appeared he hit a wall of goo as he rounded third and could not race through it…The Nationals finished 2-4 at home in back to back series with the Dodgers and Braves, the two teams they will have to beat if they make the playoffs and want to advance to the World Series. Conversely the Braves went 4-2 on the road against the Phillies and Nationals…Ronald Acuna stole his 25th base in the fourth inning. That made him the third player in major league history to have 25 steals and 25 homeruns aged 21 or younger. The other two are Mike Trout and Andrew Jones.