I refuse to talk at length about stupid Ryan Braun and his stupid suspension! Other baseballing items deserve our attention much, much more than that mess.
One Quick Thing -- The Matt Garza Trade
As was rumored for days, and days, and days, Matt Garza was finally dealt away from the Chicago Cubs. He was sent to the Athletics-chasing Texas Rangers, in exchange for a whole host of young talent. The Cubs' haul in this deal: third baseman Mike Olt, pitchers Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards, and one (or two) player(s) to be named later.
From the Rangers' perspective, the idea was to get the best starting pitcher available on the trade market to shore up a rotation struggling with injury issues. Well, mission accomplished. Garza has posted a scary-consistent ERA over the past several years, with his peripherals wiggling up and down depending on the year. This season, he's been fairly consistent, with his 3.17 ERA actually being the best of his career, outperforming a 3.78 FIP. He immediately slots in as the third-best starter in the Rangers' rotation, behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.
For the Rangers, a team with a win-now mentality, this is kind of a no-brainer. And best of all for this team, they probably didn't bankrupt their pool of young talent to do so. Olt is something of a fallen star after a down 2013, Justin Grimm is a fifth-starter type, and Edwards is a very young arm. The team has kept its best young pitchers (Martin Perez, Luke Jackson, maybe Neil Ramirez) and its best young players (Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin) and dealt from depth, rather than creating holes to fill another. Do you really think Mike Olt is going to unseat Adrian Beltre any time soon?
But from the Cubs' perspective, this haul is probably exactly the type of return they're looking for. They swap a few months of the very-effective Garza for years and years and years of service. There's a chance that Olt could be a starting third baseman for this team for the next six years. Justin Grimm could be a fifth starter, or something more, or something worse, but he'll probably be it for this team for five seasons. And Edwards has annihilated his competition in Single-A this year, so there's a non-zero chance he could be a plus major-league starter one day.
This could change -- dare I say it will change as Garza turns into a pumpkin, or Olt does, or Edwards becomes Matt Harvey 2.0 -- but this is one of those deals that benefits, and makes sense for both teams. I like these deals, and it'll give us a whole bunch to talk about in 2018 when we look back on this deadline.
The Smallest Sample Size -- Game Results for 07/22/13
Photo credit: Ronald Martinez
Yankees 0, Rangers 3
Yu Darvish shut the Yankees down in his return from the DL, pitching six and one-third innings and only allowing five players to reach base. And while the Yankee offense isn't particularly potent these days, that's still a big boost for a Rangers team looking to shore up its rotation as it strives for the playoffs. On offense, Elvis Andrus singled and walked, then stole two bases, and Nelson Cruz hit a solo homer, the 23rd of his season.
On the Yankee side, there wasn't too much to celebrate. Ivan Nova went seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks, with four strikeouts. Lyle Overbay was the only Yankee hitter to reach base twice; he is the proud owner of two brand-new singles.
Andrew McCutchen led his team to victory on Monday, rocketing two two-run home runs on his first two plate appearances and powering a 6-5 Pirates victory. While Charlie Morton was solid at the top of the game (six and two-thirds innings, three runs, five strikeouts and one walk), closer Jason Grilli was shaky in the ninth before leaving the game with forearm tightness.
The Nationals' bats woke up a little in this game, as Jayson Werth hit two homers for the second consecutive game, and has surged to a 142 wRC+ on the season. Adam LaRoche added a bomb of his own, as well as reaching base twice on a walk and HBP. But Dan Haren, the Nats' starter, wasn't very sharp. Despite going 18/22 on getting first-pitch strikes, Haren gave up five runs in five innings, striking out six and walking one.
Dodgers 14, Blue Jays 5
Much like Blake Murphy predicted on the most recent episode of the Beyond the Box Score podcast, the Jays fell to the Dodgers by a large margin on Monday. A.J. Ellis led off the scoring for the Dodgers in the second with a big home run, and the offense didn't stop until the shaming of Steve Delabar in the seventh. Ellis would finish this game with four hits, three runs scored, and a .222 WPA. That WPA is a pretty great number for a game where the outcome was never truly in doubt. And while all the Dodgers seemed to hit, Skip Schumaker gets special notice for hitting his first homer of the season.
For the Jays, things are not going so well. Josh Johnson could have been a trade candidate, but no one wants to deal for a guy who gives up five runs on two innings of work. The first five Jays pitchers to enter the game all gave up at least one run. And, oh yeah, the Jays made FIVE errors in this game, so Little League.
At least you can always rely on good old Mark DeRosa, who managed the only extra-base hit of the game for the Jays as part of a three-hit performance. This performance by the Jays was so bad, I'm crossing out the hyperlink to Bluebird Banter below in protest.
Two of the hottest teams in baseball collided, and the team that won was the team with the elite pitcher on the mound. Matt Moore posted his first career shutout, going nine strong and completely frustrating the Red Sox. Moore only allowed two hits, walked a single batter, and struck out four en route to a Game Score of 86. Ben Zobrist was the most prolific bat on the Rays, singling three times and stealing a base, while Yunel Escobar reached three times on a single and two walks.
There's not much to report on the Sox' behalf, save Brandon Workman turning in a pretty solid starting performance. The rookie starter went six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks. If he can keep this up, the Sox would be very pleased. Mike Napoli reached base twice (a single and a walk), making him the Boston equivalent of a good offensive performance.
Photo credit: Elsa
Braves 2, Mets 1
The Braves were able to overcome Dillon Gee's attempt at a no-hitter through six innings, hanging on and rallying to win in the ninth. Down by a run and facing a solid closer in Bobby Parnell, the Braves did everything that they could to score, taking advantage of a passed ball, moving runners, and taking advantage of clutch hits from Brian McCann, Evan Gattis and Reed Johnson. Julio Teheran was also sharp, only giving up one run in six innings, with six strikeouts and a league-leading eighth pickoff.
Dillon Gee carried a no-no into the seventh, but couldn't hang on for the second no-hitter in Mets history, thanks to a Freddie Freeman single. But Gee's final line -- seven innings, no runs, two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts -- was pretty great nonetheless. And though the Mets threatened to score in both the eighth (thanks to two consecutive steals by Eric Young) and the ninth (thanks to a nice piece of hitting by Justin Turner), Jason Heyward sealed this game by making a phenomenal diving catch on Turner's would-be hit, ending the game.
Max Scherzer had yet another impressive outing, shutting down the White Sox aside from giving up two solo home runs. The Cy Young front-runner went eight innings, struck out five, and only allowed four hits in total. But, unfortunately, the Tigers also saw presumptive MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera leave the game with an injury to his side in the fifth, after posting two walks in three plate appearances. Victor Martinez went four-for-five with four singles and Torii Hunter homered for Detroit as well.
Chris Sale did everything he could to keep the Sox in this one, throwing eight innings of his own but striking out 11 Tigers. Two of the four runs charged to Sale were unearned, thanks to one of Alexei Ramirez's two errors. Dayan Viciedo and Conor Gillaspie managed the two solo dingers off of Scherzer.
The Orioles did what they do best -- they battered two questionable Royals pitchers en route to a decisive victory. J.J. Hardy went yard, Chris Davis had two hits in five plate appearances and newcomer Henry Urrutia had three hits. Probably best of all, Nate McLouth reached base five times on a triple, a single, and three walks. All the while, Scott Feldman kept the O's rolling, throwing eight innings of two-run ball.
The Royals saw two very disappointing pitching performances, first by starter Wade Davis (four runs over two and two-thirds innings) and then by Luis Mendoza (five runs over three and one-third innings). That's pretty Royals. And while there wasn't a whole host of offense to get excited about, David Lough did okay, with two hits and a run scored.
Things are already pretty awful in Milwaukee, and this game really didn't help things much. Without newly-suspended Ryan Braun, the Brewers were unable to match San Diego's offensive output, which was led by the undeniable Jesus Guzman. Guzman homered and doubled, while Andrew Cashner posted a quality start of six innings and three runs allowed, with six punchouts.
Tom Gorzelanny couldn't do much for the Brewers, giving up all five Padres runs in just over five innings of work, and the Brewers offense came in fits and starts. Jean Segura did his best working in the three-hole, posting a double and a .052 WPA, and Nori Aoki had two hits and a stolen base.
Athletics 4, Astros 3
The A's ruined Jonathan Villar's major league debut, defeating the Astros after a two-run Josh Reddick homer in the eighth inning. In addition to Reddick's heroics, Chris Young slammed a homer and a triple, while Tommy Milone pitched six solid innings of three-run ball. Three Oakland errors contributed to keeping this one close, however.
On the bright side for Houston, they acquitted themselves pretty well against the division leader. Villar knocked his first major-league hit and stole a base, newly installed at shortstop and atop the lineup. Dallas Keuchel pitched well, only allowing one run in six innings, with five strikeouts and four walks. And the team was able to run on Milone and catcher Derek Norris, with Jose Altuve, Justin Maxwell, and Villar all robbing bases.
Marlins 3, Rockies 1
When you think of offense by the Miami Marlins, you should naturally be thinking of Giancarlo Stanton. But his sidekick in this offensive explosion (well, at least by Miami standards) was Ed Lucas, not exactly the most likely name to rack up runs. Lucas hit a big home run in the third inning, and had two hits on the day, while Stanton had a double and walked twice. Starting pitcher Tom Koehler threw a great game, going seven one-run innings with eight hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts.
There's not much to get pumped about on the Rockies' side, other than a Troy Tulowitzki solo shot. Eight other hits, including doubles by Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez, led to no other runs. And though Drew Pomeranz couldn't last long in this one, the bullpen arms of Manny Corpas and Wilton Lopez pitched four and two-thirds scoreless in relief.
Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports
Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 2
It was two unusual names for the Cubs that carried their team to victory last night, as Chance Rusin threw well pitching for the recently-traded Matt Garza, and Junior Lake posted a four-hit performance including a two-run homer. Rusin, who also filled in for Scott Feldman after he was traded, went five innings, gave up two runs, and logged four strikeouts. Lake, meanwhile, went four-for-five and drove in the bulk of the Chicago runs. Unfortunately, Lake also managed to collide with shortstop Starlin Castro on a popup, but neither player appeared to be hurt.
Tyler Skaggs was called up to make the start for Arizona, and the prospect was solid despite giving up two home runs. He went six innings, walked none, struck out six and allowed three runs. Didi Gregorius did everything he could to win this game for the Snakes, reaching base four times on three hits (including a double) and a walk, and posting a .301 WPA.
A Twins-Angels game probably just makes everyone sad, even when Clete Thomas has a nice little game with a homer and a double, and Joe Mauer and Mike Trout are playing. The Twins rode an effectively wild (five walks, four hits, two runs) performance by Samuel Deduno to the win, and Mauer reached base four times in five plate appearances.
For the Angels, Joe Blanton continued to look positively awful, offering up nine hits and four runs in just three and two-thirds innings of work. His current ERA is 5.66, and his FIP is 4.89, making me feel like a real idiot for praising his acquisition in the offseason. Mike Trout reached three times and drove in a run, while Hank Conger hit his second career triple.
In a game powered by solo home runs, the Mariners took down the Indians by just a run. Aaron Harang settled down after the first inning, and threw seven strong innings to keep the Mariners in this one. Mike Zunino had his best day as a pro, launching a solo shot and adding a double, while Kendrys Morales hit his own solo shot to tie this one up. The Mariners, believe it or not, have won seven straight.
The Indians couldn't muster up very much offense in support of Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave up just the two runs on solo shots in his five and two-thirds of work. Nick Swisher went yard in the first, and Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana doubled, but the team could not sustain any offensive rrallies, despite threatening in the ninth against Tom Wilhelmsen.
It continues to be a rough scene in San Francisco, as the Reds completely blew away the Giants by an 11-run margin. Bronson Arroyo, pitching for his 100th career victory* crushed it, throwing a seven-hit shutout with six strikeouts and no walks. He didn't even allow an extra-base hit.
[ * - I try to avoid any reference to pitcher wins when possible, but Arroyo's achievement is still probably worth celebrating. I'll put a dollar in the Pitcher Wins Swear Jar, which I assume is being curated by Brian Kenny. #killthewin.]
The Reds offense was effusive in their hits, with everybody aside from Arroyo and late-game replacement Neftali Soto getting in on the action. Both Shin-Soo Choo and Devin Mesoraco paired a home run with a double, and Devin added a single as well. Jay Bruce went yard. Todd Frazier had two doubles. Derrick Robinson had three singles and stole a base. It was on.
The only thing I can say about the Giants is that Tim Lincecum was awful (this should come as no surprise, pitchers are almost always terrible following a no-hitter), giving up eight runs on nine hits in just three and two-thirds innings of work. Sorry, guys.
- The Marlins have reportedly called up outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, who will make their major league debut on Tuesday. Yelich and Marisnick could probably be the two best upper-level prospects in the Marlins' system, and when paired with Giancarlo Stanton, we could be looking at the Marlins outfield of the future. I'll be watching their debuts closely -- Yelich is a great hitter and Marisnick is a bit of a cipher, but could be a fine big-leaguer.
- The Yankees are reportedly very close to re-acquiring Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs. Soriano spent the first five years of his MLB career in the Bronx, and was famously traded for Alex Rodriguez. Full circle, you guys.
- Ryan Braun got suspended for the rest of the season, 65 games. Plenty of smart people have opinions about this, and you can go seek them out if you choose. I'm tired of even thinking about this.
Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski
Opposing Starter: Josh Johnson, Toronto Blue Jays
Daily Stat Line: 1-for-5 with a single and two strikeouts
2013 Season Stat Line: .364/.398/.570 -- 8 HR -- 173 wRC+
Today's Puig Status: Careening towards the mean like a glorious blue comet.
Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports
Opposing Starter: Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Daily Stat Line: Hit a single in his only plate appearance, pinch-hitting for the pitcher in the eighth inning.
2013 Season Stat Line: .348/.471/.522 -- 18.8 BB% -- 185 wRC+
Today's Satin Status: There when you need him, like a heavily-eyebrowed superhero.
So that's it! Don't forget to follow up with feedback, and we'll see you tomorrow!
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.