A.J. Burnett lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- Thursday in a loss to the Reds.
Burnett struggled in his previous two starts, but his velocity was just fine in those, even a little better than usual. Tonight, he just didn't have it, and the Reds were all over him. Maybe the Pirates need to give him a little break in order to prepare him for the stretch run. That's probably up to him, though.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Reds are in active discussions with the Reds about acquiring right-hander Mike Leake.
The Giants have been mentioned as possible suitors for nearly every starting pitcher on the market thus far, they simply haven't had the necessary pieces to land any of the top options. They could have enough to get Leake though, and he would certainly help to add stability to the back of their rotation as they attempt to defend their World Series title.
Marlon Byrd went 3-for-6 and hit a three-run homer off A.J. Burnett in Thursday's rout.
Byrd is available in trade talks, but there hasn't seemed to be much demand so far. Tonight can't hurt, but it also probably won't change anyone's mind about him.
Billy Hamilton went 2-for-5 with two steals and three runs scored Thursday against the Pirates.
A great game for Hamilton, but he didn't exactly help his case for returning to the leadoff spot, not with Brandon Phillips homered twice, knocking in seven runs and even swiping two bases tonight. Better luck next time.
Gregory Polanco started Thursday and went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk against the Reds.
Polanco left Wednesday's game because of knee discomfort. He's quietly hit .274 with a .361 OBP and 10 doubles in 95 at-bats this month, which should lessen the Pirates' desire for any outfield help. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, he's stopped running, going 0-for-1 in July after swiping 17 bases over the first three months. Perhaps the knee has played a role there.
Mariners optioned SS Chris Taylor to Triple-A Tacoma.
Taylor went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored on Thursday, but is hitting just .170/.220/.223 on the season. Perhaps he'll benefit from playing everyday at Triple-A, giving him a chance to get back on track.
Josh Donaldson collected his 25th homer and his 26th double as the Jays beat the Royals 5-2 on Thursday.
Donaldson has four homers in 12 games since the All-Star break. Mike Trout might end up running away from the crowd in the AL MVP race, but it'll be a surprise if Donaldson isn't in the top three or five when all is said and done.
Aaron Sanchez struck out two in a perfect eighth inning for his first hold Thursday against the Royals.
Barring a late acquisition, it looks like this is the new blueprint for the Jays: LaTroy Hawkins in the seventh, Sanchez in the eighth and Roberto Osuna in the ninth. Sanchez has little fantasy value at the moment, but he'd become interesting in a hurry if Osuna begins to struggle.