Cubs Lose Jake Arrieta’s Start

The Chicago Cubs finished their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 2nd. The Cubs won three out of the four games against the Dodgers, but failed to take advantage of a Jake Arietta start in their one loss. Arrieta went seven innings giving up no runs.

The Cubs lost the game in the last two innings. After seven innings, the game was scoreless, but two runs were scored off pitcher Clayton Richard in the eighth and three runs were scored off pitcher Adam Warren in the ninth.  The Cubs lost 5-0.

The last time the Cubs lost a game when Jake Arrieta started a game was in July of 2015. The game was officially a no-decision for Arrieta so it didn’t affect his win-loss record.

On June 5th, however, The Arizona Diamondbacks managed to put up three runs on Arrieta. The Cubs offense only managed to put up two runs in that game. The final score was 3-2, giving Arrieta his first loss in eleven months.

Best Rotation in the MLB?

As of June 4th, the five starters of the Cubs rotation all have an ERA under three. John Lackey has a 2.88 ERA, which is the best among starters. The average ERA of the five starters is 2.55, the best statistically in the MLB as of June 4th.

Hot Streak

The Cubs have won ten of their last twelve games as of June 5th. This comes after the Cubs had lost eight of twelve at one point in May. The Cubs are hitting especially well in their current stretch.

The home run ball has especially helped the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo hit one out to right field on the on June 4th and Kris Bryant has hit 400-foot home runs on consecutive days this past week. Dexter Fowler recently hit his 3rd leadoff home run.

Fowler has been especially good against opposing fastballs. According to an infographic posted on Inside Edge’s twitter account, Fowler has a .405 batting average when a fastball is thrown to him. Five of his home runs have also come off fastballs.

Looking for Relievers?

According an article published by ESPN’s MLB Rumor Central, the Cubs are possibly looking for a lefty reliever on the trade market. The news come in the wake of Clayton Richard’s struggles. Richard has an 8.00 ERA in sixteen appearances as of June 3rd.

The article specifically mentions Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller of the New York Yankees as trade targets for the Cubs. The Cubs have recently done business with the Yankees, trading Starlin Castro this past winter. The Cubs got Adam Warren in return, who has a 2.75 ERA as of June 5th.

Will the Yankees will be willing to trade one of their relievers? It is not guaranteed. The Yankees are currently six games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, but could improve their standing as the summer goes on. It is too early in the year for the Yankees to give up hope on the postseason.

An Amazing “Story”

If you are an MLB fan and you have not heard about Colorado Rockies short stop Trevor Story yet, I’ll assume you have been on a camping trip this week with no connection to the outside world whatsoever.

Story leads the majors thus far in home runs with an incredible total of six, and has accomplished something that no other player in the history of the game has done.  Earlier this week, Story became the only MLB player to hit at least one home run in each of his first three (now four) career games, and is the first player since Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis in 2013, to homer in his first four games of the season per ESPN’s David Schoenfield.

This incredible feat began when the young short stop slapped a pair of home runs in his MLB debut with Colorado, in the Rockies opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, off pitcher Zack Greinke. Story continued his long-ball streak by blasting a homer each off of D-Backs pitchers Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin.

 

 

(Clip of Trevor Story’s first two career home runs in his MLB debut. Video is Courtesy of MLB.com’s YouTube Account)

 

 

By all accounts, that would have been more than enough for most rookies, but Story isn’t done yet.

The Rockies celebrated Opening Day at hitter friendly Coors Field this afternoon (April 8th) taking on the San Diego Padres, who were coming off a forgettable, yet historical opening series shutout at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

And wouldn’t you know it, Story sent San Diego pitcher Colin Rea’s first offer packing in the bottom of the fourth inning, and homered again off of one of the Padres relief pitchers, Ryan Buchter, in the bottom of the ninth inning for his fifth and sixth home run of the year. Rewriting the record books a second time in the same week.

Story will have a chance to make it an unbelievable five consecutive games in a row tomorrow evening. The Rockies are scheduled to play their second contest of a three game series against San Diego at 8:10 p.m. EST. Drew Pomeranz is listed as the probable pitcher for the Padres.

 

Final Thoughts:

Eventually, possibly as early as tomorrow night’s game, Story’s home run streak will come to an end. Nevertheless, this has certainly been fun to watch and no doubt has Story on everyone’s early Rookie of the Year Award list (which reminds me, I should probably update mine).

Colorado fans were undoubtedly worried at the beginning of this season concerning the short stop position. What with last seasons drama-filled departure of Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays, which brought over Jose Reyes as his replacement, and Reyes currently in the midst of a court case regarding a domestic violence incident that occurred earlier this year (though reports indicate the case may soon be settled).

Story has restored a little faith to the fans thus far, and is making one helluva case for coaches to keep himself playing above Reyes, if and when Reyes returns to the team this season.

Can Arizona Make The Playoffs?

The only thing that might get hotter than the Mojave desert this summer in Arizona, is the Diamondbacks. There’s no denying the D-Backs sent a shockwave through the National League West when they signed free agent starting pitcher Zack Greinke, formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After inking the veteran to a multi-year mega deal, the Diamondbacks didn’t stop there. Arizona went on to trade for ex Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller, as well as former all-star and Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura. Combine those moves with their recent signing of relief pitcher Tyler Clippard (formerly with the New York Mets) and you get a revamped roster that’s ready to compete in 2016.

So, as the title of this post asks, are the D-Backs in a position to make a push for the post-season?

Before I address that question, I’ll recap where Arizona was last year, and what lies ahead in 2016. Like the saying goes, “You can’t know where your going, until you know where you’ve been.”

 

 

(Picture Courtesy of FOX Sports)

(Picture Courtesy of FOX Sports)

 

Recoiling to Strike Back

 

Arizona ended last season at third place in the NL west, failing to reach the .500 mark with a record of 79-83.  Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers, helped in part by Greinke’s 19-3 pitching record, won the division with a record of 92-70.

Despite finishing 2015 behind both the Dodgers  and the San Francisco Giants (who did some fine off-season work themselves), the Diamondbacks managed to finish in the top 10 or higher in nearly every team batting statistic (aside from ranking 14th in the majors for home runs).

Pitching ultimately kept Arizona from placing higher in the standings, as they ranked towards the middle to bottom half of the MLB in each category.

Hence the desire to grab Greinke, trade for Miller, and solidify the bullpen with Clippard. Given the probable rotation of Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa, and Robbie Ray, Arizona should likely see those pitching numbers improve this season.

Meanwhile, the addition of SS Jean Segura (25 steals in 2015) should add to last years success of stolen bases by Arizona. The D-backs finished 2015 second only to the Cincinnati Reds (134) in total team steals with 132. Outfielder A.J. Pollock (who recently avoided arbitration with Arizona) led the team in 2015 with 39 steals.

I believe with an improved pitching staff, new role players, and perhaps some luck, the Diamondbacks can make the playoffs this year. However, Arizona’s path to the post-season will not be an easy one. Lets examine what could keep them from playing further into October.

 

(Photo Credit to Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo Credit to Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Potential Road Blocks

 

When searching for reasons why Arizona would not make the playoffs this year, look no further than last years NL West champs. The Dodgers, in my opinion, will be one of the key reasons the Diamondbacks do or don’t make the playoffs.

For those wondering if I’ve forgotten how the Giants will affect Arizona’s chances, I have San Francisco reclaiming the NL West title this year (as I feel they can win 95-97 games).

Meaning one playoff spot will already be taken if the Giants do in-fact win the division. So, presumably that leaves second place in the West and one of two wild card spots up for grabs between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. So, unless Arizona can capitalize on their divisional games against LA this season, their chances of being in the playoff hunt come September will be slim.

Another wall that could stand in Arizona’s way, is the number of playoff teams from last year appearing on this years schedule. Of the 10 teams that made the post-season in 2015, eight of them are on the D-Backs regular season schedule.

(Picture Courtesy of MLB.com)

(Picture Courtesy of MLB.com)

With multiple series against the Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, and interleague play with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays before the All-Star break in July, Arizona could struggle to be above .500 early in the year. This leads to one last, and probably the biggest, speed bump.

To sneak into the playoffs, these desert snakes will need to win between 92-94 games this season (a 12-15 win improvement from last year). Why 92-94 wins? The 2015 MLB Playoffs featured three National League Central teams that won 97 or more games (Cubs-97, Pirates-98, Cardinals-100), with the Dodgers (92) and the Mets (90) rounding out the rest of the playoff field.

Considering most of those teams from the 2015 playoffs look primed to put up similar 2016 win-loss records, Arizona will have to get 92-94 wins in order to be in the playoff picture for 2016.

Final Thought:

If Paul Goldschmidt and the offense has another top ten overall finish, Greinke & Co. can total 60 wins from combined pitching records, plus say 25-30 saves from the bullpen, a 92+ win season doesn’t seem impossible for the Diamondbacks in 2016.

Diamondbacks Solidify Rotation With Acquisition of Shelby Miller

 

A week ago, no one was talking about them. Now, the Arizona Diamondbacks suddenly have one of the best starting rotations in the MLB.

The Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. This trade came four days after the team shocked everyone by signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract. Clearly, general manager Dave Stewart felt that he needed to improve his team’s starting rotation this offseason.

Miller didn’t exactly come without a high cost. The Diamondbacks had to give up their top prospect, shortstop Dansby Swanson. Arizona drafted Swanson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft. The team also sent outfielder Ender Inciarte and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to Atlanta in the deal.

The Braves had just recently parted ways with two-time Gold Glove Award winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons. They traded him to the Los Angeles Angels back on November 12. The 21-year-old  Swanson gives them a very talented young shortstop. Atlanta is a team that is in the process of rebuilding, so giving up Miller for a top prospect was a smart move by them.

For the Diamondbacks, acquiring Miller demonstrates that they’re ready to go for it now. They now have Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller at the top of their rotation. It’s no secret that Greinke was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball last season. The three-time All-Star went 19-3 with an ERA of 1.66 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. Miller posted a 6-17 record for the Braves last year, but his record didn’t reflect how he actually pitched. His ERA was 3.02 and he threw two complete-game shutouts. He was also named an All-Star for the first time in his career. A lack of run support explains why his record was so bad. The Diamondbacks clearly feel as though Miller is a top pitcher. They wouldn’t have given up the players that they had they not thought so.

Part of the reason the Diamondbacks were willing to give up a good hitting prospect in Swanson for Miller was because they actually had a pretty good offense last year. Led by slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, they were third in the National League in batting average and on-base percentage. The problem for them was pitching. Arizona pitchers had a team ERA of 4.04 in 2015. The starting rotation alone had a 4.37 ERA, which was fifth-worst in the NL. By signing Greinke and acquiring Miller, they’ve significantly improved their rotation. Now there will be less pressure on young southpaw Patrick Corbin. He missed all of the 2014 season due to recovery from Tommy John surgery. Corbin came back in the middle of last year and should be ready to pitch a full season in 2016. Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray will most likely be the fourth and fifth starters in this solid rotation.

After dramatically improving their pitching rotation, the Diamondbacks should compete for a division title in 2016. They have a good offense and now have a pretty solid starting rotation. They’ll now be able to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West. It’ll be a very interesting division next year.

The Crazy Season From Shelby Miller

On November 17, 2014, the St Louis Cardinals made a blockbuster trade that shocked many people in the baseball world when they acquired outfielder Jason Heyward and setup man Jordan Walden for top pitcher Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins. In trading for Heyward the Cardinals were filling up a need at a corner outfield position, but the cost was great as they were trading away the 23 year old Miller.

Shelby Miller’s 2014 season had not gone as planned and the young right hander ended up with a 10-9 record on the year to go along with a 3.74 earned run average, which prompted the Cardinals to deal him instead of Michael Wacha or Carlos Martinez.

Since coming over from St Louis, Miller has been fantastic for the Atlanta Braves, however he has had awful luck and on the year is 5-17. Miller is first in the National League in losses, with the second closest players being Aaron Harang, Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner at 15. For the top ten players in losses Miller is the only one with an earned run average under four, with the next closest player having an earned run average of 4.00.

Yet despite Miller ranking last in losses, he is 12th in the league in earned run average and ranks in the top 20 in innings pitched (197.1), strikeouts (164) and WHIP (1.27). By almost every imaginable statistic Shelby Miller has had an outstanding season, but due to his 17 losses he has not received the recognition of other big name pitchers.

In being traded to the Atlanta Braves in November, Miller had the misfortune of going to a team that was unsure of the direction that it wanted to head in. It is clear that the Braves want to build their future success around young pitchers, but they have made some head-scratching moves that implied that they were unsure of whether to completely rebuild or contend now. The most notable case was with the signing of free agent right fielder Nick Markakis to a four year, 48 million dollar deal. Markakis is a very good fielder, but he is devoid of any power and has just three home runs on the season.

The Braves have been one of the worst teams in baseball all season and have played to a 63-94 record, and their hitting has given Shelby Miller no run support. At this point in the year Miller just wants the season to end and gear up for next year, hoping to see better results from his ball club in the 2016 season.

The season has not been a great one for the Atlanta ball club, but it has certainly been an impressive one for Shelby Miller. At just 24 years old Miller is set to reach 200 innings for the season and although he has not won a ball game since May, he has continued to go out and pitch very well for his team.

Shelby Miller has evolved in to an ace and has become one of the best pitchers in the National League. If the Atlanta Braves want to contend in the near future it is vital that they lock Miller up with a big extension. If all goes well for the Braves in the offseason and they get their ace some run support, I fully expect Shelby Miller to be one of the frontrunners for the CY Young award in the 2016 season.

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The Youth Movement Taking Baseball By Storm

In the midst of a division race Friday night Bryce Harper hit his 30th home run of the season for the Washington Nationals, becoming one of seven players in the major leagues with 30 this year. Harper is only 22 and has not reached his ceiling yet, and is quickly already becoming one of the best players in baseball and a legitimate MVP candidate.

Joined by Bryce Harper at the top is 24 year old Mike Trout, who has hit 33 home runs this year. Trout has been off the chart for the Los Angeles Angels and is likely on his way to winning his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award. The Trout vs Harper debate will be around for years to come, but there are many other young superstars in the game that should be getting fans’ attention during this exciting season.

Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies is only 24 years old, but leads the National League with 86 runs batted in and has hitting 29 home runs on the season. The 24 year old third baseman might not even be the best young player at that position, with 23 year old Manny Machado also having a prolific year and Kris Bryant learning the ropes for the Chicago Cubs.

The 2015 season has been taken over by young players led by Trout, Harper, Machado and Arenado and baseball is seeing a movement that will make the game more exciting for years to come. In the national league 24 years olds Shelby Miller, Gerritt Cole and Michael Wacha have all put up great years and all have ERAs under 3 for the season. Wacha’s teammate for the Cardinals, Carlos Martinez, is only 23 years old and has a 2.59 ERA on the season for the St. Louis ball club.

Over in the American League Sonny Gray has dominated hitters and is leading the league in ERA at 2.06. At 25 years old he has a good shot at winning his first CY Young award for the Oakland Athletics. Gray has been overpowering and leads the league in ERA, WHIP and BAA.

In Houston we are seeing the emergence of a 20 year old shortstop that might already be the best at his position in baseball. Carlos Correa has been on fire since being called up by Houston this year and has 14 home runs in 227 at bats, good for a .537 Slugging percentage on the year. Correa has been a catalyst for the Houston ball club and is a big reason why the Astros are winning the AL West.

In Minnesota 22 year old slugging third baseman Miguel Sano has hit seven home runs and ten doubles in 125 at bats and is hitting .280 for the season. He is joined by 21 year old center fielder Byron Buxton, who when healthy, is one of the most exciting players in baseball and is a top prospect.

Giancarlo Stanton has not played since June 26, but is still tied for fourth in the National League with 27 home runs on the year. Stanton at 25 years old has more power than any player in the big leagues, and is joined by Jose Fernandez as two of the most exciting players in the game.

Over in Chicago the Cubs have a team stocked with young talent headed by 23 year olds Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler. At the age of 23 Bryant is already tenth in the majors in walks and has been as good as advertised. However as good as Bryant has been, he is not even the best young player on his team with the way that Kyle Schwarber has been swinging the bat since being called up.

Schwarber is a 22 year old catcher that is hitting .313 with 8 home runs in 112 at bats for the Cubs. He has been phenomenal and with Schwarber, Bryant, Soler and 21 year old Addison Russell the Cubs have their own young all-star roster.

In Los Angeles 23 year old Joc Pederson has had an impressive rookie campaign, hitting 23 long balls on the year for the first place Dodgers. Pederson is joined by 24 year old Yasiel Puig, who has had a down year, but still has managed to hit 10 home runs and when he is in the zone is one of the most dangerous hitters.

All around baseball young players are stepping up and making an impact for teams and the tide is changing in the major leagues. A game that was once dominated by veterans is being pushed aside as the exciting young superstars get their chance at glory and with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper at the helm, baseball is in great shape for years to come.

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Pitch Hitting and Hitters Pitching

I guess I should mention the New York Yankees lost 3-1 on Sunday, but still took two-out-of-three over the weekend in Toronto against the Blue Jays. It was a better effort than when they were swept by Toronto in New York the prior weekend and eventually yielded first place to Toronto by a half game last Wednesday. New York enters the week with a half game lead over Toronto in the AL East, but who cares about all that pennant race stuff when we’ve got NL pitchers going deep and AL hitters digging deep to pitch.

PITCH HITTING

Sunday afternoon both the Dodgers Zack Greinke and the Giants Madison Bumgarner hit home runs and pitched their teams to victory.

Greinke hit his second homer of the season after Joc Pederson had just taken the Reds Anthony DeSclafani deep in the bottom of the fifth. Those were the only two runs the Dodgers needed in their 2-1 win. Greinke struck out eight over seven innings, allowing just one run and in the process improving to 13-2 while lowering his ERA to a bacteria sized 1.58.

Following an RBI double in the fifth, Bumgarner hit his fourth homer of the season with a seventh inning jolt against the Nationals Casey Janssen. MadBum (14-6) then finished what he started in a 14 strikeout shutout. He scattered three hits and a walk in the 5-0 win for his second consecutive complete game win. The only other Giants pitcher to throw a shutout, strikeout at least 10 and homer in a game was Juan Marichal.

Oh by the way, the Dodgers lead the Giants by 2.5 games in the NL West while the Nationals have lost six straight and trail the Mets by 4.5 games in the NL East. The Lucas Dudaless Mets actually got swept by the Pirates this weekend. Pittsburgh is still chasing St. Louis in the NL Central, five games back.

HITTERS PITCHING

Saturday night Mariners’ catcher Jesus Sucre proved he’s better at catching no-hitters than pitching them. Hisashi Iwakuma’s battery mate in last week’s no-hitter became a pitcher because the Mariners wore out their bullpen on Friday and Saturday. Mike Montgomery allowed nine Red Sox to score over 2.1 IP on Friday when Seattle lost 15-1. King Felix was pillaged for 10 runs over 2.1 IP on Saturday. Sucre pitched the eighth inning allowing five hits and three runs. Two of the runs coming on Jackie Bradley’s second homer of the game in a 22-10 win. The Red Sox season is still in the tank at 52-65, but thoughts and prayers are with their manager John Farrell who had to step away from the rest of the season to after announcing on Friday he has Stage 1 lymphoma. Niner weeks of chemotherapy treatment will start this week. Bench coach Torey Lovullo is the Red Sox’s interim manager.

Then there is first baseman turned reliever Ike Davis. Sunday afternoon the Athletics liked Ike to pitch for the second time this season during a Gerardo Parra 5-hit, Adam Jones two homer, 18-2 thrashing in Baltimore.

Davis had previously pitched a clean inning against the Angels on April 21st. Ike added another scoreless inning on Sunday and picked up his first career strikeout when whiffing Jonathan Schoop. Ike did allow a hit and walked the opposing pitcher Jason Garcia. A pitcher did indeed bat in an AL park because the Orioles forfeited the DH when moving Steve Clevenger, who had four hits, to first base. According to Elias, the last time an American League position player faced an AL pitcher batting was on July 19, 1987, when the Yankees’ Rick Cerone pitched to Bobby Witt of the Rangers.

SALE-ING AWAY

The White Sox Chris Sale struck out every 15 Cubs over seven scoreless innings on Sunday. That’s a heavy dose of “He Gone”. The Cubs lost 3-1, but won two-of-three from the Good Guys and still lead the Giants by 3.5 game for the 2nd NL wild card spot.

The Rockies Chris Rusin pitched a 5-0 complete game shut out against the Padres at Coors Field.

WALK OFFS

The Royals have a 12 game lead over the Twins after Kendrys Morales beat his former team with a walk off RBI single in the tenth inning against the Angels. Trevor Gott the loss. The Halos are 3.5 game behind Houston in the AL West. The Astros walked off with a win against the Tigers Alex Wilson compliments of a Jose Altuve RBI single.

The Braves Shelby Miller carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before the Diamondbacks Nick Ahmed led off the inning with a single. Cameron Maybin later hit a tenth inning walk-off homer for Atlanta against Arizona’s David Hernandez.

Microsoft Press

Topps

Fans With Pride

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Shelby Sparks Seven Shutout Sunday

Braves’ Shelby Miller reacts to allowing his first hit. (Photo Courtesy: Fox Sports Marlins)

By night, the St. Louis Cardinals, the former home of Shelby Miller, improved to a major league best 25-12 thanks to Lance Lynn’s (7.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 K) pitching and a 6th inning go-ahead home run by Kolten Wong against the Tigers’ Alfredo Simon. The Cardinals 2-1 victory closed out a week six that featured a lot of doughnuts on Sunday.

By day, half of the fourteen games ended as shutout victories. Sugary sweet for the victors, but not so much for friends of the fin. The highlight was in Miami where the Braves’ Shelby Miller (5-1, 1.33 ERA) pitched Marlins manager Mike Redmond (16-22) to the unemployment line.

Braves 6, Marlins 0

Miller took a no-hitter into the 9th, when with 2 outs Justin Bour singled to centerfield. Dee .420 Gordon followed with another hit before Martin Prado popped out to second to end the game. Miller’s complete game shutout saw 70 of 94 pitches go for strikes in a tidy 2:13 game where he yielded just two hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Miller has held opponents to a major league best .156 batting average this season.

Less tidy was the Marlins reaction after the loss. Sports Rants Mike Addvensky has more on the Redmond firing. He’ll be on the Marlins payroll through 2017 after getting a contract extension from owner Jeffery Loria on the final day of the 2014 season. I guess that was a reward for turning a 62-win team into a 77-win outfit. Loria, who benefits from revenue sharing, helped his bottom line by then essentially letting GM Dan Jennings hire himself to be the manager. What more would you expect from a team that still has Ozzie Guillen on the payroll in 2015 after he last managed in 2012.

Regardless how ridiculous this managerial move sounds, Jennings now gets to try to win with the players he wanted. Good luck with that. Starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez did return from the DL on Sunday to make his second start of the season. Eventually help will come from ace Jose Fernandez when his TJS recovery is complete. The bullpen is tied for the major league lead with eight blown saves. Half of them charged to deposed closer Steve Cishek.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal opines that Loria may need to be questioned about how he conducts business when tossing around some of that revenue sharing cash.

Diamondbacks 0, Phillies 6

Sean O’Sullivan got his first win since May 12th, 2011 after pitching six scoreless for the Phillies. Relievers Luis Garcia, Ken Giles, and Jeanmar Gomez all recorded three outs to finish the shutout. Philadelphia is still in the NL East cellar, but they have won five straight games.

Angels 0, Orioles 3

Mike Wright won his major league debut for the orange clad Orioles by pitching 7.1 IP of scoreless baseball. He only surrendered four hits to go with no walks and six strikeouts. Relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton kept the Angels scoreless who had Erick Aybar hitting cleanup. Sounds like Kole Calhoun will be the Angels’ cleanup hitter for the foreseeable future, although on Monday the Angels bullpen (Morin-Pestano-Ramos) got spanked 10-6 against the Blue Jays on Victoria Day.

 Pirates 3, Cubs 0

The Cubs six-game winning streak came to an end during Sunday’s loss to A.J Burnett. Burnett walked five, but still had seven scoreless innings. Tony Watson and Mark Melancon teamed up for the hold and save.

 Yankees 0, Royals 6

Chris Capuano made his season debut for the Yankees, but he only recorded nine outs. The Royals Edinson Volquez recorded 21 outs allowing just three hits and striking out five. Wade Davis and Jason Frasor each got three outs. The Royals lead the Tigers by one game in the AL Central. The Yankees have a one game lead over the Rays after losing five out of their last six.

Red Sox 0, Mariners 5

James Paxton only two strikeouts were of Hanley Ramirez, but Paxton didn’t let any Red Sox score during his eight innings of work. Carson Smith pitched a scoreless 9th.

Steven Wright’s knuckleball made its first start of the season for the Red Sox. He allowed two earned runs over five innings. With Justin Masterson being terrible and on the DL (inflamed shoulder and ERA) it stands to reason the Red Sox may see how much Wright stuff they can get out of Steven going forward.

Rockies 0, Dodgers 1

The marquee matchup of shutout Sunday was not Kyle Kendrick vs Mike Bolsinger. The Dodgers are probably most happy that Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen all pitched clean innings in support of the six scoreless, six strike out effort they got from Bolsinger. The Dodgers (24-13) enter the new week with a 4.5 game lead over the San Francisco Giants.

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