Robbie Ray struck out a career-high 14 batters and took a perfect game into the sixth inning of Monday’s win over the Dodgers. He still wasn’t the biggest story on his team.
After all, you know what’s even rarer than a perfect game? A four-homer game.
J.D. Martinez popped not one, not two, not three, but four bombs at Dodger Stadium in the Diamondbacks’ 13-0 blowout victory. He becomes the second player to go deep four times in a game this season (Scooter Gennett was the other) and just the 18th player ever to accomplish the feat. He’s the first player since 1954 to homer off of four different pitchers in a game.
Martinez has hit 18 over the boards in 40 games since the D’Backs acquired him from the Tigers on July 18. Only Giancarlo Stanton (25) has hit more homers over that span. He’s slugged an astronomical .688 with the Snakes. It remains puzzling as to why there didn’t appear to be much of a market for a slugger of Martinez’s caliber, but Arizona is certainly glad to have him. The 30-year-old is certainly in for a monster payday this winter in free agency.
OK, it’s time to give Ray a little ink now. The left-hander yielded just three singles and no walks while notching his 14 strikeouts across 7 2/3 shutout frames against the Dodgers on Monday. He’s now posted a 2.27 ERA with a whopping 53 strikeouts over 31 2/3 innings in his five starts versus the Dodgers this season.
Ray has shown no ill effects after returning from taking a line drive off the head back on July 28, as the southpaw holds a microscopic 0.93 ERA with an absurd 33/4 K/BB ratio across 19 1/3 frames in his three starts since coming off the disabled list. His ERA is down to 2.80 for the season, and he’s punched out 184 batters over 138 innings.
Even with their 11th straight win and two phenomenal performances, it wasn’t all puppy dogs and ice cream for the Diamondbacks on Monday. Paul Goldschmidt was sent back to Phoenix to undergo an MRI on his ailing right elbow. It’s an injury that’s caused him to miss two straight games and has apparently been bothering him for about a week.
"It was just a little sore," Goldschmidt said. "That's all I can say. It's been sore. It's been weird. I've never felt that. But it's not too bad. I've been able to play with it."
Manager Torey Lovullo said that Goldy’s elbow injury is "not a huge concern at this point," noting that the first baseman tried to talk his way into Monday’s lineup. More will obviously be known once the MRI results are in, but it sounds like this isn’t something to be overly concerned about at this point.
"I don't know exactly what they're going to be looking for," Goldschmidt said of the MRI. "Whatever happens, I'm pretty confident I can play. It's been getting better every day but it hasn't gone away now for a week or so. As long as it doesn't get worse, it hasn't affected me."
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Matt the Bat
Maybe the A’s should have cleared a spot at first base for Matt Olson a little sooner.
Olson continued his power barrage on Monday, slugging a pair of home runs – including a game-tying two-run shot with two outs in the ninth – in what was eventually an 11-9 extra-innings loss to the Angels. He also added a single for good measure.
A major reason Oakland traded Yonder Alonso to Seattle last month was their desire to see what Olson could do with regular at-bats at first base. Well, all the 23-year-old has done is club 10 home runs while batting .307 over 23 games – 18 starts – since the trade. Olson has gone deep three times over his last two contests and six times over his last seven games.
Between the majors and minors this season, Olson has now smacked 37 longballs over 484 plate appearances. That’s the same number he belted in High-A back in 2014. He showed up on top-100 prospect lists after that season but his development seemed to stall out a bit in 2015 at Double-A and in 2016 at Triple-A and in his brief time in the majors. Olson has come back with a vengeance in 2017, though, showing why the A’s were excited about his potential as big power guy who knows how to draw walks.
Olson isn’t without warts, of course. The A’s are still sitting him often against lefties, and you can’t really blame them since he’s struggled versus southpaws in his brief time in the majors (6-for-27) and also in the upper minors (.512 OPS in 2016, .722 OPS in 2015). He’s also struck out in 29.8 percent of his plate appearances in the big leagues this season, and there’s always going to be lots of swing and miss in Olson’s game. He’s never hit for average at any level and is unlikely to now.
That said, Olson is an extreme flyball hitter and this season he’s making a lot of hard contact. It also bears repeating that the guy is only 23 years old. The run he’s on right now at that ripe age is very encouraging. Olson is first base and outfield eligible and remains very low-owned both in Yahoo (4 percent) and ESPN (3.8 percent) leagues. Get those numbers up, guys and gals.
Carpenter’s Shoulder Aching
Matt Carpenter was lifted from Monday’s game in San Diego due to what the Cardinals called right shoulder tendinitis. As it turns out, the shoulder has been bothering him… all season?
In a revealing interview after the game, Carpenter told FOX Sports Midwest that he’s dealt with a “sharp” pain in the shoulder "for most of the season, really." The infielder added that "pretty much every throw hurts and most swings," but he’s been able to stay in the lineup for the most part because he considers the injury “manageable.”
Carpenter didn’t start on Saturday or Sunday over the weekend in San Francisco, but the team had indicated that he was simply resting. Obviously, at this point it’s a safe bet that the shoulder was the reason for his absence. Carpenter said that having a scan on the shoulder is “in the works” and that receiving a pain-killing injection is something that’s “on the table.”
He’s still getting on base at a nice .374 clip, as only Joey Votto, Aaron Judge and Edwin Encarnacion have drawn more walks than Carpenter this season. However, his overall .239/.374/.433 batting line is certainly down from what we’ve seen the last couple campaigns. Only five of the 31-year-old’s 18 home runs have come over his last 64 games, so it’s probably safe to assume that the shoulder injury has sapped some of his power.
Moving Carpenter back to first base would be ideal as the Cards attempt to lessen the stress on his shoulder as much as possible, but that might not happen until Jedd Gyorko (hamstring) returns. It sounds like this is something Carpenter plans to continue playing through, although it’s possible that could change if an MRI finds something worse than expected.
American League Quick Hits: Kendrys Morales went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in Monday’s victory over the Red Sox … Logan Morrison hit his 36th home run of the year as part of a 3-for-5 night on Monday versus the Twins … Rougned Odor went 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI, and two runs scored in the Rangers' win over the Braves on Monday … The Mariners think Jarrod Dyson might be dealing with a sports hernia injury. He’s expected back in the lineup soon but is unlikely to be 100 percent the rest of the way … Indians manager Terry Francona revealed Monday that Bradley Zimmer is in MLB's concussion protocol program. He was hurt while making a diving attempt at a catch Saturday … Dallas Keuchel limited the Mariners to two runs over 7 2/3 frames in Monday’s victory … Kole Calhoun went 3-for-5 and delivered a two-run triple in the top of the 11th to help the Angels beat the A's on Monday … Starlin Castro went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in Monday's win over the Orioles … Martin Maldonado slugged a pair of homers against the A’s Monday … Eric Hosmer went 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBI, and a walk in Monday’s win over the Tigers … Mike Fiers has been moved to the Astros' bullpen … Corey Dickerson had two doubles and a solo homer in the Rays' 11-4 win over the Twins on Monday … Kevin Kiermaier went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored Monday against the Twins … Yulieski Gurriel went 2-for-4 and homered in his return to the lineup on Monday … Kyle Seager cranked a solo home run and added an RBI single in Monday’s loss to the Astros …
National League Quick Hits: Corey Seager indicated Monday that he could have surgery over the offseason to repair his ailing right elbow. Seager resumed a throwing program Monday and hopes to return to the Dodgers’ lineup this weekend … Carlos Martinez struck out 10 batters while shutting out the Padres on Monday … Jake Arrieta departed Monday's game in Pittsburgh with a right hamstring injury. He could undergo an MRI on Tuesday but thinks it’s possible he might make his next start … The Phillies will promote top prospect J.P. Crawford on Tuesday … Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Monday that the team and Max Scherzer are not concerned about the right-hander's bruised left calf … Chad Kuhl allowed four hits over seven shutout innings in the Pirates' win over the Cubs on Monday … Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Monday after Willson Contreras (hamstring) ran the bases that the catcher is "really close" to returning … Mark Melancon revealed Monday that he’ll have surgery over the offseason to correct chronic exertional compartment syndrome in his right forearm … Anthony Rendon finished 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI in the Nationals' defeat of the Marlins on Monday … Giancarlo Stanton drew a walk and slugged his 53rd home run of the season Monday versus the Nationals … Josh Bell went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI against the Cubs on Monday … Rich Hill whiffed nine while yielding just two runs over six innings but took a loss Monday versus the Diamondbacks … Javier Baez was scratched from Monday's lineup with soreness in his left thumb. He also dealt with blurred vision after taking a knee to the head Sunday … Rhys Hoskins (hand) drew two walks and scored a run in his return to the lineup Monday … The Phillies activated Aaron Altherr (hamstring) and Odubel Herrera (hamstring) from the disabled list Monday … Tommy Pham left Monday’s game with a sore right shoulder but is hoping to be back in the lineup Tuesday … Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-5 and hit his 33rd homer Monday as the Rockies edged the Giants … Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in Monday’s loss to the Reds … Denard Span went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double against the Rockies on Monday … Dexter Fowler (hip) didn’t start Monday for the third time in the last four games … Kolten Wong (back) was not in Monday’s lineup …