Thursday’s MLB card is scaled down a little bit, as 12 teams enjoy a day off heading towards the weekend. That also means that 18 teams are in action across nine games, four of which have early starts. Only three of today’s games represent the start of a new series, with Phillies vs. Nationals, Rangers vs. Tigers and Angels vs. Mariners.
One growing trend we’ve seen of late is that the bad teams have been really bad. The Cubs have lost nine in a row. The Pirates just ended a prolonged losing streak. The A’s have lost nine of 10. The Nationals have dropped four straight and seven of 10. Not to mention some of the much longer streaks of futility we’ve seen lately. That’s not really a big surprise. The first 3-4 weeks of the season are typically when underdogs perform well. As the season goes along, however, the better teams with more depth and more talent ultimately start to show themselves.
Lots of notes today with some good short-term and long-term thoughts.
Marlins/Phillies: The Marlins must lead the league in devastating losses this season. Yesterday’s came via a Garrett Stubbs walk-off three-run homer in the ninth, as the Phillies won 3-1 to stay on their torrid pace. All the steam was on Philly yesterday with spot starter Daniel Castano for Miami. He threw 6.2 shutout innings, but Tanner Scott, working back-to-back days, blew the save and the game.
If the Phillies beat the Nationals on Thursday, they’ll be two games over .500 for the first time since April 11 at 3-1.
Reds/Diamondbacks: Another day, another bullpen melt for the Reds. Both Luis Castillo and Zac Gallen pitched well, but Art Warren did not and the D-Backs came away with a 7-4 win. Castillo threw 110 pitches and had a velocity uptick that he maintained throughout his start. At least he’s a bright spot once again for the Reds. Let’s see if they put him on the trade market or extend him and try to build around him. He’s a free agent after the 2023 season, so scouts are watching his starts closely.
Braves/Nationals: Another day, another offensive explosion for the Braves. Atlanta scored eight runs off of Erick Fedde and the bullpen, while Spencer Strider fired another gem in a starting capacity. His raw stuff is pretty elite and I’ll be curious to see how he’s priced against better teams. Strider is stretched out now, throwing 106 pitches with 24 whiffs over 5.2 innings with 11 strikeouts.
Juan Soto has missed each of the last two games with some knee discomfort. The Nationals are bad enough without their superstar, who will absolutely err on the side of caution with a bad team and maybe the game’s first $450 million contract.
Brewers/Mets: Milwaukee snapped out of an offensive funk in support of Corbin Burnes for a big 10-2 win over the Mets. I’ve had the Mets in my sights a lot with this ramped-up schedule and they are now 6-5 in this stretch with the Dodgers, Padres, Angels and Brewers, though they did get very fortunate to catch the latter two in slumps. After today’s game, seven of the next nine are across the Marlins, with the Astros in between and after, so it’s still a fairly tricky road until the start of July.