Starting Nine: Two lost no-hit bids end in losses, plus a Joey Gallo inside-the-parker
Wednesday offered an amusing day of baseball, from a near no-hitter that ended as a loss to Freddie Freeeman openly discussing a move across the diamond. Here are the nine items you need to know about from the latest slate of games.
What you might have missed
1. Five outs from the second no-hitter of his career, Max Scherzer lost the no-no, shutout and the lead in a nightmare five-batter span. Of all the Marlins to get in the way of history, backup catcher A.J. Ellis nicked a comebacker off Scherzer’s glove that shortstop Trea Turner couldn’t grab with his bare hand to give Miami its first hit.
From there, J.T. Realmuto reached on an error and Dee Gordon loaded the bases after getting hit. A wild pitch scored the tying run with Giancarlo Stanton at the plate, and he promptly knocked in the go-ahead run to solidify a 2-1 Marlins win. Scherzer walked away with his third eight-inning loss of the year, all coming in one-run games. He’s also reached double-digit strikeouts in six straight starts.
Scherzer's former rotation-mate in Detroit also looked to have a shot at his third no-no. He was perfect through five against the Mariners but imploded the next inning—after a Jarrod Dyson bunt broke up his bid— and exited without completing six innings. Verlander did set a season-high with 11 strikeouts through 5 2/3 in the Tigers' 7-5 loss in Seattle.
2. The Royals continued their climb up the AL Central standings Wednesday afternoon in dramatic fashion. Catcher Salvador Perez launched the first grand slam of his career to rescue Kansas City from a two-run deficit and round out a 6-4 win over the Red Sox. The best part about the home run, of course, had nothing to do with the actual moment. It’s what he used to generate the moment: Miguel Cabrera’s bat.
Perez’s grand slam capped off a 3-for-3 day for the young catcher, who’s hitting .465 over his last 11 games. Kansas City has won eight of its last 10 games, sitting 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Twins only two games out of the second Wild Card berth.
3. It’s no secret that the Phillies are a bad baseball team, but some of the reminders are more cringe-worthy than others. Phillies fans most likely weren’t cringing, but rather yelling when Odubel Herrera plowed through Juan Samuel’s stop sign at third base and was thrown out handily at home plate in a tie game in the ninth inning. The Cardinals scored twice in the next inning to win, 7-6.
Herrera’s blunder, while completely egregious, was only the latest link in a poor sequence of events for the Phillies. After jetting out to a 5-0 lead, Philadelphia watched St. Louis chip away with one run in the fifth inning, two in the sixth, one in the eighth, one in the ninth and finally two in the 10th. The Phillies never scored between the fifth and ninth innings, leading to their major league-worst 48th loss of the season.
What you shouldn’t miss
4. File this tidbit away: When Freddie Freeman returns from the disabled list, he might be the Braves’ new starting third baseman. Why? Since Atlanta traded for Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams, who had no solidified role in St. Louis, he has hit over .290 with 11 home runs in 30 games. That includes a two-run shot in the Braves’ 5-3 win against the Giants on Wednesday night. The move to third base could keep both Freeman and Adams in Atlanta’s lineup, undoubtedly a better option than having to choose one over the other.
Freeman is aiming for a return next month and could start hitting by the end of this week as he works back from a left wrist fracture. He last played third base 10 years ago in the Gulf Coast League. He’s played first base or been the designated hitter in every one of his 935 major league games.
5. After the Rockies scored two in the eighth to take game one of a big three-game set against the Diamondbacks, Arizona thumped the hosts, 16-4, on Wednesday to set up an intriguing rubber match Thursday afternoon. The blowout nudged the Diamondbacks just a game behind the Rockies atop the NL West, leaving the possibility open for Arizona to finish the series with a share of first place in the division depending on how the Dodgers perform.
It’s been harped on frequently in the past few weeks, but it bears repeating that the three best teams in the National League, and three of the top four teams in baseball are all NL West foes. The circumstances shade of 2007, when the Diamondbacks won the division while the Rockies and Padres duked it out in an epic tiebreaker game that decided the lone Wild Card team.
6. The Yankees finally snapped their seven-game losing streak, but there’s a lingering relief issue when it comes to veteran Tyler Clippard. He’s served primarily as Joe Girardi’s seventh-inning man this season. There’s no telling how much longer that will last after Clippard allowed another pair of runs to score in New York’s 8-4 win over the Angels, totaling seven earned runs over his last five outings (which amount to 2 2/3 innings pitched). The Yankees’ offense will keep the team within reach of most games, but it might be time to shuffle up bullpen roles.
Tyler Clippard: 1st pitcher in Yankees history to allow 2+ ER and 2+ XBH in back-to-back outings of 1/3 IP or fewer.— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) June 22, 2017
What you need to watch
7. Joey Gallo circled the bases on what should have been a fly out.
8. Miguel Sano’s power is not to be doubted.
9. With all the slide rules in effect, Hernan Perez chose to stand.