One week removed from the Memorial Day holiday, we’ve only got six MLB games on the board on June 6. Days off are really special for teams right now because they don’t have a lot of them during this stretch, as a lot of teams have played scheduled doubleheaders because of the lockout and others have been making up rainouts from earlier in the season. A lot of teams are playing some variation of X number of games in X number of days, give or take a game or a day here and there, so these off days are huge, especially for relievers.
Let’s recap the weekend and then look at today’s action. With a small card, I’d also encourage you to check out last night’s edition of The Run Line, as I hosted with former MLB pitcher Josh Towers on the desk with me. (HOUR 1 | HOUR 2)
Diamondbacks/Pirates: Zach Thompson threw five shutout innings against the Diamondbacks and outdueled Zac Gallen to give the Buccos a series win at home. The season didn’t start out well for Thompson, who allowed 21 runs over his first four starts, but he has only allowed seven over his last seven appearances. He still has a 4.60 ERA and a 4.81 FIP while digging out of that early hole, but he’s been quite good of late. He’s a guy I liked coming into the season and maybe wrote off a little too quickly.
Nationals/Reds: Baseball is a funny game. The Reds were historically bad to start the season, but then ran into the Pirates and got back on track. The Nationals had been really bad, but now ride a three-game winning streak into this week after winning this series over the Reds. Cincinnati’s bullpen melt on Saturday cost us, as I opted for the Reds as opposed to the over, which, of course, cashed easily. These are two not great offenses and each team scored at least eight runs twice in the series. Great American Ball Park is still doing its thing.
Giants/Marlins: The turnarounds for Martin Perez and Tyler Anderson are getting a lot of love, but the one for Jakob Junis is not. Junis gave up one run on two hits and struck out eight to lower his ERA to 2.51. He’s throwing his slider 54.5% of the time and opposing batters are hitting .168 with a .274 SLG on the pitch. Even lefties are only batting .219 with a .469 SLG. He is using a changeup 26% of the time against lefties and I’d expect that to continue as he tries to neutralize the platoon splits.
Righties are batting .143 with a .175 SLG on the SL. Junis is definitely a guy to back against a right-handed-heavy lineup, so let’s file that one away and hope to find a good spot.
Padres/Brewers: The Padres took three of four from the Brewers over the weekend, including a couple of shutouts in the middle games and a near no-hitter from Joe Musgrove. Mike Clevinger returned on Sunday and had 13 whiffs over just three innings. The only hit he allowed was a Kolten Wong leadoff homer. MacKenzie Gore punched 10 tickets over six innings on Saturday. The pitching on this Padres team is absurd and they may have more staying power than I originally thought, despite the lackluster offense.
Cardinals/Cubs: It was a really neat experience watching this game live with Josh Towers last night on The Run Line. I’m a numbers guy and a self-proclaimed nerd, but the perspective you get from a player is a true learning experience.
Last night’s game was interesting. Justin Steele turned over a lineup for the fourth time, something he had not done at any point this season, and commanded the zone well. Adam Wainwright pitched around nine hits over seven innings. Genesis Cabrera went 58 pitches in four innings for the win. You don’t really see managers stick with guys that long. Usually, a manager throws a guy one and done and that’s it. Props to Oliver Marmol, who seems to be doing an excellent job as the Cardinals skipper, for pushing Cabrera to get the win. It is a good thing that those two teams have today off. Both bullpens were worked in this series.