Gennett's huge night, an epic pitching matchup and more MLB storylines to know
- Scooter Gennett's four-homer game was the best of Tuesday's action, while the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw will finally face off on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Here are three storylines from Tuesday's MLB games you need to know and three storylines to watch for headed into Wednesday’s action.
What You Might've Missed
1. Reds leftfielder Scooter Gennett had a night for the history books on Tuesday, going 5-for-5 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in a 13-1 win against the Cardinals in Cincinnati. The 27-year-old not only wove together a career night, but one of the greatest offensive games ever. His single-game home run and RBI totals—the result of an RBI single, a grand slam, a two-run homer and a three-run homer—came on the heels of an 0-for-19 skid he entered Tuesday’s game with.
Here are a few more facts and figures on Gennett’s game:
• Funny enough, Gennett’s 10 RBI aren’t the most for a player with four home runs in a game. Among the 15 four-homer games since 1932, only St. Louis's Mark Whiten collected more RBIs (12) than Gennett, in a game against the Reds.
• Among the top 15 home run hitters of all time, only Willie Mays ever hit four home runs in a game. Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and plenty of baseball’s other greats never showcased the power Gennett did Tuesday night.
• Gennett entered Tuesday averaging one home run every 43 at-bats.
• Gennett had never hit more than four home runs in a month. He still hasn't. Tuesday's four were his first of June.
2. The Astros stretched the longest winning streak of the season to 11 games on Monday and stood four outs away from tying a franchise-record with their 12th straight win on Tuesday. But with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and a 7-4 lead in Kansas City, Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield slashed a game-tying, three-run double to bring the Royals all the way back from a six-run deficit.
That set up Mike Moustakas’ two-run walk-off homer in the ninth, putting an end to Houston's impressive run. Even with the loss and wins by the Angels and Mariners, who are tied for second, the Astros still lead the AL West by a whopping 13 games, five more than when their winning streak began back on May 25.
3. Masahiro Tanaka doesn’t appear to be any closer to turning his season around. In the Yankees' 5-4 loss to the Red Sox, New York's putative ace yielded three home runs in five innings to inflate his ERA to an American League-worst 6.55. He’s now served up 11 home runs over his last five starts, allowing opponents to hit .298 off him this season. Few starting pitchers have been worse this season.
Even before Tanaka’s dreadful start, Pedro Martinez sounded the alarm on the Yankees' $155 million man.
I think is time to panic about Tanaka. His stuff is not there, that eastern division is really tough; I don't see him getting any better— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) June 6, 2017
With their dwindling AL East lead down to one game, New York better hope the Hall of Famer isn’t on to something.
What You Shouldn't Miss
1. We couldn’t ask for a better conclusion to the three-game set between the Dodgers and the Nationals in Los Angeles than the first-ever matchup between two of the game's best pitchers, L.A.'s Clayton Kershaw and Washington's Stephen Strasburg. The Nats have won the first two games in this rematch of the 2016 NLDS, getting quality starts from Gio Gonzalez on Monday and Max Scherzer on Tuesday.
Kershaw and Strasburg were actually supposed to face off in June 2016, but the Nationals scratched Strasburg about an hour before the game with a strained upper back. He also sat out the Division Series last October, which the Dodgers won in part thanks to Kershaw coming out of the bullpen to nail down the decisive Game 5. Here’s to no last-minute injuries before first pitch at Dodger Stadium.
2. The Rangers found a team willing to take a flier on former closer Sam Dyson, who was traded to the Giants in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Dyson began the season as the closer in Texas before imploding to the tune of a 10.80 ERA and a .392 opponent's batting average. He’s been struggling to find consistency all season, and now San Francisco's veteran pitching coach Dave Righetti has a new reclamation project on his hands.
The 24-36 Giants are not in need of a closer after inking Mark Melancon to a four-year, $62-million in the offseason, but they could certainly use more roster flexibility as they look ahead to next season. The 29-year-old righthander won’t be a free agent until 2021 and should make his Giant debut shortly.
3. Since losing Mike Trout to thumb surgery, is it possible that the Angels’ offense has actually gotten better? Of course there’s no replacement for the best player in baseball. Statistically, however, L.A. has scored more runs with Trout out of the lineup for the last eight games than it had averaged with him healthy. Since Trout first sat out on May 29, the Angels has averaged 5.5 runs per game compared to the 3.85 runs per game it produced through Trout’s last game on May 28.
Clearly it’s a small sample size, but even manager Mike Scioscia has to be surprised with an offensive uptick since Trout tore a ligament in his left thumb. The Halos will take aim Wednesday on Tigers’ starter Buck Farmer, who owns an 8.21 ERA in nine career starts.