A whole new Jose Berrios carries the Twins into baseball's best weekend series
Thursday offered up another tape-measure home run, revealed a surprising trend in Chris Sale’s losses this year and plenty more. Here’s a look at what you missed, what’s coming up and three video clips you need to see.
What you missed
1. The Jose Berrios of 2017 could not look more different than his 2016 form. Berrios’s major league career began last season to the tune of an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts, bottoming out in a May 16 outing against the Tigers where he gave up seven runs and recorded two outs. Almost 13 months to the day offered the high point of the right-hander’s budding career. Berrios fired a career-high eight innings while allowing two runs to pick up his sixth win of the year in the Twins’ 6-2 victory over the Mariners. What’s more, Minnesota’s lost only one of Berrios’s seven starts this year, whereas last season they lost 11 of 14.
2. Folks at Busch Stadium Thursday night saw a bit of history, but not the kind any Cardinals fan was hoping for. Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Michael Wacha and crushed the longest home run in 11-plus seasons at Busch Stadium. The ball landed deep into the left-center field bleachers, approximately 489 feet away in a game Milwaukee won 6-4.
This isn’t the first time this week that baseball’s been buzzing about a long home run. Aaron Judge’s 496-foot bomb on Saturday still falls ahead of Broxton on a line of measuring tape, but Broxton’s two-run homer still proved to be the difference in the final score.
3. Going up against a Phillies team that had lost eight in a row, it’s hard to believe Chris Sale fell on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision in Philadelphia. Sale himself was the only Red Sox player to pick up an extra-base hit in a quiet night for Boston’s bats. He still looked magnificent in the complete-game effort, scattering four hits while striking out double-digit batters (10) for the ninth time this season.
He’s on pace to pitch roughly 240 innings and strike out more than 330 batters, which hasn’t been done since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson whiffed 334 hitters in 2002. If Sale were to reach even 300 strikeouts, he’d be the first American League pitcher to cross that threshold since Pedro Martinez did so for the Red Sox in 1999.
Also of note: In Sale’s three losses this year, he’s thrown seven-plus innings, struck out 10 and sports a 1.96 ERA. For the glass half-full crowd, he’s finding good ways to lose.
What you shouldn’t miss
4. The Yankees are preparing for life without CC Sabathia for the next four to eight weeks after the lefty was placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. It’s an inopportune setback for the 36-year-old veteran, who’s coasted to a 0.99 ERA over his last six starts. In a successful season thus far for New York, Sabathia’s proven himself to be a vital part of it.
Young righty Domingo German is expected to take Sabathia’s place in the rotation at least this weekend, slated to start his first-ever major league game. New York’s starting pitching has been a bright spot this season, but it’s about to stretched for the next month or two.
5. “Disappointing” would be an underwhelming to describe the Giants’ season, which has quickly reached the depths of the Padres and Phillies. After losing to the Rockies, unable to complete an eight-run rally Thursday night in Denver, the Giants sit 16 games under .500 with only 2018 to look forward to. In between now and then stands the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, where the Giants may flaunt Johnny Cueto’s contract that he’s eligible to opt out of at the end of this season.
What hasn’t been discussed as much is dealing away left-hander Matt Moore, whom San Francisco acquired from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. He’s turned in mixed results, most recently allowing eight runs to Colorado on Thursday, but he remains under team control for the next two years for a combined $19 million. Assuming the Giants don’t plan to trade away any of their homegrown infielders, he’s probably the most tradeable asset on the team. His next four or so starts may determine what San Francisco can fetch for him.
6. In the only competitive matchup of first- and second-place teams this weekend (sorry, Mets and Nationals, there’s a 9 1/2-game gap between you two), the Indians head to Target Field for a series against the Twins. Minnesota’s clinging to a two-game division lead and has played surprisingly poor at home, dragged down by a 14-20 record, the worst of any first-place team. The teams will be tested in a day-night double-header on Saturday, but first Carlos Carrasco opposes Twins’ starter Nik Turley in his second major league start Friday.
What you need to watch
7. Trevor Story got down, keeping the Rockies up.
8. Didi Gregorious did his best Willie Mays impression from shortstop.
9. Police officer injured in GOP baseball practice shooting throws first pitch at Congressional game in Washington, D.C.