David Shovein

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Judge Has Ruled

Monday, June 12, 2017


Aaron Judge has been doing some absolutely criminal things to baseballs this season. Punishing them for their transgressions and pulverizing them into oblivion.

 

His Herculean blast off of Logan Verrett in the sixth inning on Sunday was a wonder to behold. The longest home run hit this season according to Statcast, it traveled an estimated 495 feet and came screaming off the bat at an exit velocity of 118.6 mph. It sure looked every bit that far, but check it out for yourself courtesy of MLB.com

 

He wasn't finished just yet though, adding a two-run blast off of Jimmy Yacabonis later in the game for good measure, finishing a 4-for-4 afternoon that also included a walk.

 

The 25-year-old slugger entered spring training without a job in a crowded Yankees' outfield. It wasn't a foregone conclusion that he'd even be on the Opening Day roster, let alone in a position to receive consistent at-bats at the major league level. He had hit just .179/.263/.345 with a 42/9 K/BB rate in 95 plate appearances at the major league level in 2016. He was an afterthought at best in all fantasy drafts.

 

So naturally, he has become the most feared hitter in all the land.

 

With his monster afternoon on Sunday, Judge is now slashing an absurd .344/.450/.718 with 21 homers, 47 RBI and five stolen bases.

 

His 21 home runs are tops in all of baseball, three more than Scott Schebler, Justin Smoak and Joey Votto.

 

Judge's 47 RBI currently pace the American League, though several National League hitters have more, led by Diamondbacks' third baseman Jake Lamb with 57.

 

His .344 batting average is also the top mark in the American League, trailing only Ryan Zimmerman and Buster Posey across both leagues.

 

Judge has also scored 54 runs on the season, the highest total in the A.L. Only Paul Goldschmidt has scored more times this season (55).

 

And while he continues to strike out at a very high clip, Judge has also shown remarkable plate discipline and command of the strike zone this year. He has drawn more walks (38) than any other American League hitter. Eight hitters in the Senior Circuit have walked more times, led by Goldschmidt with 46 free passes.

 

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Mad Max 2K

 

Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer etched his name into the record books once again on Sunday, recording the 2000th strikeout of his major league career.

 

In striking out Nomar Mazara in the fourth inning on Sunday, Scherzer became the third fastest hurler to reach the elusive mark in terms of innings pitched, having done so in 1784 frames. Only Pedro Martinez (1711 innings) and Randy Johnson (1733 1/3) accomplished the feat in fewer innings.

 

He became just the 80th player in major league history to reach the milestone, most recently achieved by Clayton Kershaw earlier this season.

 

The right-hander was a bit awestruck after the game to even be mentioned in the company of Martinez and Johnson. "Those are my pitching idols. I'm growing up watching those guys. So any type of mention of anything among those guys -- I don't know, it doesn't even seem real."

 

In total, Scherzer racked up 10 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Sunday. It marked the fourth consecutive start that he has whiffed 10 or more hitters and the seventh time he has done so in 13 starts on the season.

 

Despite the strikeouts though, he allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits on the afternoon and wound up on the losing end of the decision against Austin Bibens-Dirkx and the Rangers.

 

The 32-year-old Bibens-Dirkx was making just his second career start but was able to go toe-to-toe with the Cy Young Award winner. He surrendered a first-inning homer to Brian Goodwin but was outstanding afterwards, allowing just the one run on three hits over seven masterful innings to earn his second career victory.

 


A Grand Ol' Time

 

Three different clubs utilized grand slams on Sunday to propel their respective teams to victory.

 

In Arizona, Paul Goldschmidt continued his massively impressive 2017 campaign with an eighth-inning grand slam that helped turn what had been a pitcher's duel into a rout in favor of the Diamondbacks. With his three-hit effort on Sunday, Goldschmidt is now slashing .317/.444/.586 with 14 homers, 51 RBI and 13 stolen bases on the year.

 

In a much closer ballgame at the time, Justin Upton clobbered a grand slam off of Heath Hembree in the fifth inning that extended the Tigers' lead from 3-2 to 7-2. Upton had himself a three-hit night and plated five total runs as the Tigers' salvaged one game from their weekend set in Boston. The hard-hitting outfielder is now hitting .264/.350/.509 with 13 long balls and 40 RBI.

 

In Los Angeles, Corey Seager provided the biggest game-changing blast of the day. The Reds carried a 7-3 lead into the eighth inning, but after Austin Brice surrendered a solo homer to Cody Bellinger and a single to Yasmani Grandal, Reds' skipper Bryan Price turned to closer Raisel Iglesias to get the final five outs.

 

Things started poorly for Iglesias as he issued a four-pitch walk to Yasiel Puig. Kike Hernandez then gave him a memorable battle, eventually coaxing a 13-pitch walk to load the bases. Chase Utley followed with a six-pitch walk that forced in a run and put the go-ahead run at the plate in the form of Seager.

 

The 23-year-old didn't waste any time, smashing the first pitch that he saw over the wall in right-center field for his first career grand slam. That gave the Dodgers an 8-7 advantage and would propel them to victory.

 

 

 

American League Quick Hits: J.A. Happ racked up eight strikeouts over six shutout innings in a victory over the Mariners... Eric Young Jr. homered, plated four and stole a base in a rout of the Astros... George Springer clubbed his 17th homer in a losing effort against the Angels... Mike Moustakas belted a pair of home runs and drove in four in a win over the Padres... Mallex Smith stayed hot, going 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored in a win over the A's... Mitch Haniger (oblique) returned from the DL, going hitless in four at-bats against the Blue Jays... Carlos Gomez (hamstring) played a pair of minor league rehab games over the weekend and should rejoin the Rangers at some point next week... Salvador Perez left Sunday's game as a precautionary measure due to tightness in his left side... Felix Hernandez (shoulder) allowed one run over five innings in his second minor league rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma. He's likely to need one more start before rejoining the Mariners... Manny Machado (wrist) hit off of a tee on Sunday and could return to the O's lineup on Monday if he's able to take batting practice without issue... Buck Farmer will make another start for the Tigers on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks... Leury Garcia was forced to leave Sunday's game due to soreness in his left hand... Wilson Ramos (knee) will move his minor league rehab assignment to Triple-A Durham and is on track to return before the end of the month... Tyson Ross (shoulder) will make his Rangers' debut this week after registering a troublesome 7.71 ERA and 11/11 K/BB ratio across 18 2/3 innings across four minor league rehab starts... Zach Britton (forearm) will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Low-A Aberdeen on June 19.

 

National League Quick HitsRobbie Ray racked up 12 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Brewers. He's now 7-3 with an impressive 2.62 ERA and 107/35 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings... Chase Anderson struck out eight over six innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck loss against the D'Backs... Cory Spangenberg launched a pair of home runs in a loss to the Royals... Ben Zobrist homered and plated three as the Cubs topped the Rockies... Adam Wainwright picked up his seventh win of the season with five innings of two-run baseball against the Phillies... Dexter Fowler clubbed a go-ahead three-run homer to beat the Phillies... Addison Reed worked a perfect ninth inning against the Braves to record his 11th save... Seth Lugo fired seven innings of one-run ball to beat the Braves in his season debut... Ivan Nova surrendered just one hit over six shutout frames in a win against the Marlins... Brandon Finnegan (shoulder) fired three scoreless innings in a minor league rehab start with Double-A Pensacola... A.J. Pollock (hamstring) is expected to run the bases at some point this week... Yasmany Tomas (groin) has been slow to improve and won't travel with the team on their road trip this week... Adrian Gonzalez is set to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the herniated disc in his back... Ryan Braun (calf) has resumed running and is close to beginning a minor league rehab assignment... Sergio Romo (ankle) threw a 15-pitch bullpen session without issue and should return from the DL when first eligible... Madison Bumgarner (shoulder) threw 30 pitches in a successful bullpen session and could progress to facing live hitters later this week... Taijuan Walker (blister) is expected to rejoin the D'Backs' rotation on Wednesday against the Tigers... The Nationals placed closer Koda Glover on the 10-day DL with lower back stiffness. Matt Albers seems the likeliest bet for saves at the moment there... Giancarlo Stanton (hand) is expected to return to the Marlins' lineup on Tuesday... Yadier Molina (back) missed his third consecutive game but is hopeful for a return on Tuesday... Cesar Hernandez landed on the 10-day DL with a left oblique strain.



Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.
Email :David Shovein



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