David Shovein

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Joey Walk-Off

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Joey Walk-Off


Many pundits around Major League Baseball believed that Jose Bautista was finished when he couldn’t land a big league deal over the winter.


Nothing changed with that assessment after his failed experiment at third base with the Braves where the 37-year-old slugger slashed just .143/.250/.343 with two homers, five RBI and a 12/5 K/BB ratio in 12 games.


It was barely a blip on the radar when the Mets inked him to a one-year contract on May 22 to provide depth in an outfield that had been ravaged by injuries.


Things didn’t start out well for Bautista with the Mets either. He saw only sporadic playing time and was hitting .224/.435/.347 with no homers and seven RBI in 69 plate appearances. The one thing that he was doing well, was drawing walks, which led to the impressive on-base percentage, but he wasn’t hitting for a lick of power.


That has changed over his last 12 games though. In that stretch, he’s hitting .289 (13-for-45) with four homers, 11 RBI and an 11/13 K/BB ratio. Bautista drew two walks on Friday night against the Rays, but it’s what he did in his final plate appearances that was the most impressive.


For a guy who had hit 336 home runs in his big league career, it was shocking to learn that he had never hit a walk-off homer. Not one. If you’re going to wait that long then, may as well do it in grand fashion.


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In what was a pitcher’s duel between Jacob deGrom and a contingent of Rays’ relievers, the score was knotted at 1-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning. Todd Frazier got things started with a walk. Devin Mesoraco followed with a single, and the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Amed Rosario.


After Dominic Smith grounded out to the pitcher, Brandon Nimmo was walked intentionally, setting the stage for Bautista. Joey Bats then cranked the first pitch that he saw from Chaz Roe into to seats in left-center field for a walk-off grand slam.


In doing so, he became just the second player in big league history to hit 300 or more home runs before hitting his first walk-off, joining Mark Teixeira who had clubbed 409 dingers before he accomplished the feat.


He also became just the eighth player in Mets’ history to blast a walk-off grand slam. The last one to do so had been Ike Davis in 2014.



Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway has been extremely impressed with Bautista’s ability to work a walk, telling reporters after Friday’s victory, "His ability to take the balls just off the plate puts him in a position where pitchers have to pitch to him… They know, 'I can't fall behind this guy because I have a good chance of walking him,' especially in that situation. So as a pitcher you're like, 'I got to get ahead of him,' so he threw the first pitch, and he put the bat on the ball."


It’s getting to the point that fantasy owners in mixed leagues should start to take notice. Due to the time that he spent with the Braves, Bautista qualifies at third base and in the outfield in nearly all fantasy formats. His power stroke looks to be locked in at the moment and he even has flashed some wheels, swiping his second base of the season in Friday’s victory.


It’s unclear how the playing time is going to shake out once Yoenis Cespedes returns, but for the time being, Bautista is worth owning and starting in nearly all mixed league formats.




First to 60


The Red Sox thrashed the Royals on Friday night in Kansas City, becoming the first Major League team to reach 60 wins this season.


In doing so, a few key players on the Red Sox achieved personal milestones.


Mookie Betts gave the Red Sox an early lead, blasting a leadoff solo home run to start the game. That was the 100th home run of the 25-year-old superstar’s career. It was also his fourth leadoff home run this season. Betts continues to rake at the plate, hitting .336/.428/.672 with 22 homers and 43 RBI.


Red Sox’ ace Chris Sale took it from there. The 29-year-old southpaw gave up just one run and struck out 12 batters over six innings to earn the 100th victory of his career. With a seven-run lead in hand, Red Sox’ skipper Alex Cora was able to give Sale a break, taking him out after just 99 pitches in this one.


With the victory, Sale improves to 9-4 on the season to go with his impressive 2.36 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 176/30 K/BB ratio over 122 innings.


They also got yet another home run from J.D. Martinez, who now has a Major League-leading 27 on the season. That’s three more than any other player in the league, with Mike Trout, Jose Ramirez and Aaron Judge each sitting on 24.


Martinez has been absolutely absurd at the plate this season, slashing .328/.392/.647 with 27 long balls and 73 RBI. He currently owns a 1.039 OPS. He has also driven in way more runs than anyone else in all of baseball, with the Nolan Arenado and Eugenio Suarez the nearest competitors with 63 RBI apiece.


The Red Sox have now won each of their last four games and nine of their last 11 to achieve the best record in baseball with a .674 winning percentage. They hold a two-game edge over the Yankees for the top spot in the American League East.




Turning Back the Clock


Tigers’ right-hander Jordan Zimmermann delivered a throwback performance on Friday, racking up 11 strikeouts over eight innings of one-run baseball in a dominant victory over the Texas Rangers.


Zimmermann surrendered a leadoff home run to Shin Soo Choo, then scattered just three hits the rest of the way and didn’t walk a batter. It was the first time that Zimmermann had struck out 10 or more batters since he no-hit the Marlins during his time with the Nationals in September 0f 2014.


“That might be the best slider I've had in my career, and when I can throw it like that, it makes my fastball and curve even tougher to hit,'' Zimmermann said. ''I'm not going to give up many runs with that kind of stuff.''


Don’t look now, but the 32-year-old hurler has been downright good for the Tigers, especially since returning from the disabled list.


With the victory, Zimmermann now sits at 4-0 on the season with a 3.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 56/10 K/BB ratio over 56 ⅓ innings. Over his last three starts, he owns a stellar 0.90 ERA and 20/1 K/BB ratio over 20 innings of work.


He’s still under contract through the 2020 season, and is owed $25 million in each of the next two years. If the Tigers were willing to eat a portion of that contract though, perhaps they could get out from under that financial albatross by flipping Zimmermann to a contender prior to the trade deadline at the end of the month.


Zimmermann will look to finish his first half of the season strong when he does battle against the Rays in Tampa Bay on Wednesday. At this point, he should probably be owned and started in all mixed leagues, especially with a premium matchup such as that on tap.




American League Quick Hits: MLB.com’s Jon Morosi noted that the Yankees have expressed interest in acquiring Mike Moustakas from the Royals to play first base… The Indians acquired James Hoyt from the Astros for Tommy DeJuneas… The Mariners announced a multi-year contract extension for Jerry Dipoto… Chris Archer (abdomen) will return to the Rays’ rotation on Monday against the Tigers… Tim Anderson sat out Friday’s game with a bruised forearm… Mitch Haniger missed his second straight game with a bruised knee… Joey Gallo had to be scratched from the Rangers’ lineup due to blurred vision after colliding with teammate Delino DeShields in the outfield during batting practice… The Athletics have had discussions with the agent for Chris Davis regarding a long-term contract extension… Shin-Soo Choo clubbed his 17th homer in a loss to the Tigers… Aaron Hicks belted his career-high 16th home run in a victory over the Blue Jays. He has smashed 10 homers in his last 19 games… Carlos Carrasco was victorious in his return from the disabled list, allowing three runs in 5 ⅓ innings against the Athletics… Jose Ramirez drove in three and stole a base as the Indians routed the A’s… Evan Gattis blasted his 18th home run and drove in four runs as the Astros topped the White Sox… Lance McCullers racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts while allowing just one run over seven terrific innings in a win over the White Sox…



National League Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports reported that the Brewers have shown interest in acquiring Manny Machado from the Orioles… The Diamondbacks were unable to reach an agreement with first-round pick (25th overall) Matt McLain… The Braves failed to sign first-round pick (eighth overall) Carter Stewart…  Jenrry Mejia has been conditionally reinstated from a permanent suspension for the 2019 season… Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) will make a minor league rehab start on Tuesday, and is likely to need one more after that… The Giants are shooting for an early-August return for Evan Longoria (hand)... An MRI on the right index finger of Bud Norris revealed no structural damage… The Rockies placed Tom Murphy on the paternity leave list… Ronald Acuna was force to exit Friday’s game with groin tightness… He’ll be re-evaluated on Saturday...Joe Panik was forced to leave Friday’s game with a left groin strain. He’s expected to be placed on the disabled list on Saturday… Jacob deGrom struck out eight over eight innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck no-decision against the Rays… Mark Reynolds blasted a pinch-hit walk-off homer to beat the Marlins… Jesus Aguilar went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in Friday’s win over the Braves… Freddy Peralta struck out six over six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Braves… Starling Marte swiped three bases, including the 200th of his career, in a loss to the Phillies… Odubel Herrera homered and drove in four runs on Friday as the Phillies crushed the Pirates… Scott Kingery tallied the first four-hit game of his career in that win...  Zack Godley fanned seven over six innings of one-run baseball in a victory against the Padres… Kenley Jansen suffered a blown save and gave up two runs in a loss to the Rangers… Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-5 with a homer in a win over the Mariners… Paul DeJong went 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored in his return to the Cardinals’ lineup on Friday…




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



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