For Whom the Bell Tolls
It’s unclear exactly what has gotten into Pirates’ first baseman Josh Bell over the last few weeks, but he has been absolutely pummeling opposing pitching.
Entering play on Saturday, Bell was slashing a mighty .404/.456/.846 with six homers and 17 RBI over his previous 13 games, which included a pair of multi-homer games. He added another to that tally on Saturday.
The 26-year-old clobbered s 2-0 slider off of Nick Margevicius an estimated 430-feet to lead off the second inning on Saturday, giving the Pirates an early 1-0 lead. He extended that advantage in the third inning, victimizing Margevicius again for a three-run homer that made it a 5-0 ballgame.
Bell also singled and drew a walk on Saturday, finishing the night 3-for-4. For the season, he’s now slashing an outstanding .333/.402/.704 with 14 homers and 43 RBI. His 14 home runs tie him with Pete Alonso for third in the National League, ranking behind only Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger. His 43 RBI are tops among all major league players.
With Saturday’s multi-homer game, Bell became just the second player in Pirates’ franchise history to have three multi-homer games before June 1 in a season -- joining Bob Skinner who accomplished the feat in 1959. His 14 homers are already two more than he had all of last season and he’s well on his way to surpassing his career high of 26 that he swatted in 2017.
He was an afterthought in many fantasy drafts this past March, registering as the 28th first base-eligible player to come off the draft board at an average of pick 258 in all NFBC drafts in the month of March. He’s well on his way to delivering substantial profit from that draft position and looks like he could be one of the biggest overall bargains to be had this season.
We’re Going Streaking!
The Houston Astros won on Saturday, beating the Red Sox 7-3 in the second game of their three-game set in Boston. They have been doing an awful lot of that lately -- winning. Saturday’s victory marked the 10th consecutive win of the club, and their 13th in their last 14 games.
It’s the second time this season that the Astros have strung together 10 consecutive wins -- accomplishing the feat from April 5 -16 as well. They’re just the third team in major league history to string together two such streaks before June 1 of a season -- joining the 1941 Cardinals and the 1955 Dodgers.
Also with the win, the Astros improved to an MLB-leading 31-15 on the season.
Over the course of this 10-game winning streak, the Astros are outscoring their opponents 76-21. Any which way that you attempt to slice it, that's outstanding.
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Trout Swats 250th
Angels’ superstar outfielder Mike Trout swatted the 250th home run of his already illustrious career on Saturday -- and he did so in style -- crushing a 473-foot blast off of Jake Junis. It was the second longest home run in the 27-year-old’s career -- the longest if you don’t take Coors Field into account.
Trout is only the sixth player in American League history to reach the 250-homer plateau before his 28th birthday. The five other players on that list? Some extremely impressive company: Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jimmie Foxx and Juan Gonzalez. He’s the 13th player overall to reach that mark by his age-27 season.
Greinke Ready to Go
Diamondbacks' manager Torey Lovullo confirmed Saturday that Zack Greinke (abdomen) will make his next scheduled start.
Greinke threw his regular bullpen session without issue on Saturday after Friday's MRI came back clean. He'll take his regular turn in the rotation against the Padres in San Diego on Tuesday.
That’s tremendous news for the Diamondbacks and for fantasy owners who won’t have to miss a start from the veteran right-hander. For the season, the right-hander has been outstanding, sporting a 6-1 record, 2.78 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 62/8 K/BB ratio across 64 2/3 innings.
American League Quick Hits: James Paxton plans to return from the injured list next week, despite still feeling some discomfort in his left knee. … Didi Gregorius (elbow) is scheduled to play shortstop in extended spring training games starting on Monday. … Blue Jays’ prospect Bo Bichette is on schedule with his recovery from a fractured hand and has been cleared to begin light hitting activities. … Khris Davis was scratched from the Athletics’ starting lineup due to a sore left hip. He’s considered day-to-day. … Masahiro Tanaka was removed from Saturday’s start against the Rays after he was struck in the right shin by a line drive. X-rays came back negative though and he’s expected to be ready to make his next scheduled start. … An MRI on the injured right shoulder of Clay Buchholz revealed a Grade 2 teres major strain on Saturday. He’ll be evaluated by Dr. James Andrews next week. … David Price (elbow) will return from the injured list to start against the Blue Jays on Monday. … Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) is hopeful he’ll avoid the injured list after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain. … Danny Santana is day-to-day with a bruised right ankle after getting drilled by a pitch in the ninth inning on Saturday. … Blake Snell fanned nine over six innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck no-decision. … Austin Meadows blasted a go-ahead homer in the 11th inning to beat the Yankees. … Trey Mancini slugged his 10th homer in a loss to the Indians. … Leury Garcia had a jack and a bag, leading the White Sox past the Blue Jays in a rain-shortened affair. … Shohei Ohtani launched his first home run of the season -- a two-run shot off of Jake Junis -- in a victory over the Royals. … Angels’ rookie right-hander Griffin Canning struck out five over seven scoreless innings in a victory over the Royals. … Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron each homered twice, Byron Buxton blasted a grand slam and Miguel Sano launched his first home run as the Twins obliterated the Mariners.
National League Quick Hits: According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are targeting May 24 as a return date for Fernando Tatis Jr. (hamstring). ... Justin Turner sat out Saturday’s game against the Reds due to a bruised left shin, but he isn’t expected to require a trip to the injured list. … The Braves recalled Jerry Blevins from Triple-A Gwinnett. To make room on the active roster, they released veteran southpaw Jonny Venters. ... Erick Fedde will start for the Nationals on Tuesday in place of the injured Anibal Sanchez. … Jimmy Nelson fired six shutout innings in his third minor league rehab start with Triple-A San Antonio. He’s expected to need only one more rehab start before potentially joining the Brewers’ rotation. … Jorge Alfaro is considered day-to-day after leaving Saturday's game against the Mets with a mild left calf strain. … David Peralta was scratched from the Diamondbacks' starting lineup on Saturday after aggravating his right trapezius injury. He’s considered day-to-day. … Giants' manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday that he expects Johnny Cueto (elbow) to return before the end of the 2019 season. ... Bochy also confirmed Saturday that Drew Pomeranz will return from the injured list to start against the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Sunday. ... Pablo Lopez struck out seven over seven shutout innings in a victory over the Mets. … Tyler Mahle fanned five over six shutout innings in a win over the Dodgers. … Walker Buehler punched out seven while allowing one earned run over six innings in a tough-luck loss there. … Aaron Nola racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts over six-plus innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Rockies. … Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 and clubbed a 466-foot home run as the Phillies topped the Rockies. … Carlos Martinez threw a scoreless ninth inning in his 2019 debut on Saturday in the Cardinals' victory over the Rangers. ... Paul DeJong homered and drove in four runs as the Cardinals topped the Rangers. … Stephen Strasburg struck out seven over seven frames in a victory over the Cubs. … Freddie Freeman blasted a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to beat the Brewers. … Austin Riley clubbed his second home run for the Braves in that one.