Thanks to a makeup game in Boston, we've got an overstuffed 16-game MLB slate for Tuesday.
The Cubs saw Javier Baez provide some highlights while one of their pitchers continues to enjoy his best stretch with the club. The Red Sox having their mojo back after a weekend sweep of the Rays seems like it was a premature storyline. A certain AL Central contender is still running into offensive issues while an NL Central contender after an excellent start to the season has been struggling for a bit now, somewhat under-the-radar, in fact.
All that and more in our daily roundup.
Let's jump in ...
Baseball scores for Tuesday, April 23
- FINAL - Tigers 7, Red Sox 4, Game 1 (box score)
- FINAL - Marlins 3, Indians 1 (box score)
- FINAL - Reds 7, Braves 6 (box score)
- FINAL - Diamondbacks 2, Pirates 1 (box score)
- FINAL - Orioles 9, White Sox 1 (box score)
- FINAL - Giants 7, Blue Jays 6 (box score)
- FINAL - Tigers 4, Red Sox 2, Game 2 (box score)
- FINAL - Mets 9, Phillies 0 (box score)
- FINAL - Rays 5, Royals 2 (box score)
- FINAL - Cardinals 4, Brewers 3 (box score)
- FINAL - Cubs 7, Dodgers 2 (box score)
- FINAL - Astros 10, Twins 4 (box score)
- FINAL - Nationals 6, Rockies 3 (box score)
- FINAL - Athletics 11, Rangers 5 (box score)
- FINAL - Yankees 7, Angels 5 (box score)
- FINAL - Padres 6, Mariners 3 (box score)
Mixed bag for Sale and Red Sox swept
As you see above, the Red Sox dropped both games of their Tuesday doubleheader against the Tigers. After having swept the Rays in Tampa Bay over the weekend, it seemed like maybe the Red Sox were ready to put a disappointing start to their title defense season in the rearview mirror. Instead, they gave back two of those wins and are 9-15 on the season.
In Game 1, Chris Sale, who lugged a profoundly uncharacteristic 8.50 ERA into this one, made the start:
So we've got some good and bad here. On the downside, Sale lasted just five innings against the American League's worst offense to date. As well, while Sale's fastball velocity wasn't nearly as down as it was earlier in the season, he didn't pop it like he did in his prior star against the Yankees. There's also this:
On the other hand, this was easily Sale's best start of the season. He struck out 10 after not striking out more than six in his previous four starts of 2019. Here's all 10:
That's the first time since August of last year that Sale has reached double figures in strikeouts in a start. He also had five swings and misses on his fastball against the Tigers on Tuesday after getting just two swings and misses on his fastball in those previous four starts.
All in all, let's call it more good than bad for Sale, and given how his 2019 had been unfolding that's big progress. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the troubled bullpen found trouble again, as four relievers combined to allow five runs. The Sox's bullpen now has a 5.08 ERA on the season, which is good for 13th in the AL.
In the second game, the Red Sox didn't even manage a run until the seventh inning. It's not just one problem with this team. There are several issues. They didn't lose their 15th game last season until May 18, when they had 30 wins.
Mets-Phillies escalate beanball war
On Monday, the Phillies hit two Mets batters. It looked like the Mets were willing to let bygones be bygones on Tuesday, yet in the ninth inning of a 9-0 rout reliever Jacob Rhame decided to seemingly throw at Rhys Hoskins's head -- twice. You can read more about that story -- including why Hoskins believes Rhame was intentionally throwing at him --.
Quintana deals for Cubs; Javy highlights
Cubs lefty Jose Quintana has done an outstanding job in stepping up with ace Jon Lester on the shelf. Prior to Tuesday, his last two starts had yielded 14 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts and one walk. After yet another strong outing Tuesday, this is the best three-start stretch with the Cubs.
For more on Quintana's string of excellent starts,.
The Cubs' big hit of the night came with two outs in the first inning, when Willson Contreras cleared the bases with a two-strike, three-RBI double down the third-base line. The Cubs added another on a Daniel Descalso double and next inning Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer. They were in control from then on.
Still, as he is wont to do, Javier Baez was the highlight reel. First, he did a little juking here:
(Naysayers: The rule says a runner has three feet to either side of the baseline he had already established. It's pretty clear he didn't move more than three feet inside where he established the line as he was running to first in the grass).
Later, he added an opposite field blast (his fifth of seven home runs total).
The Cubs have been playing good baseball since a disaster of an opening road trip. They went 2-7 on that trip to start the season. They have gone 9-3 since. On the flip side in the NL Central ...
Brewers are struggling, especially on the road
Through a week and a half this season, the Brewers were 8-2 and already had series victories over the Cardinals, Reds and Cubs. The defending NL champs looked the part, just as the reigning NL MVP was destroying the ball. Fast-forward a bit and the Brewers are now just one game over .500 and, based on percentage points, are technically in fourth place in the very-competitive NL Central.
They've lost six of seven right now, but we could extend that to them having lost 10 of their last 15 games since that 8-2 start.
The pitching has been bad and the offense disappears on the road. Look at this split:
Brewers at home: .271/.345/.532, 5.64 runs per game
Brewers on road: .215/.299/.386, 3.82 runs per game
Whatever is going on, it would behoove them to fix it.
Gray looking good and so are the Reds
With the Reds hard-fought win on Tuesday, they've now gone 8-5 since that dreadful 1-8 start. In the shorter term, they've now won four of their last five. Sonny Gray had a nice night on the mound and he's putting together an encouraging season. The esteemed .
Indians offense again fails
The Indians dropped their third straight game on Tuesday and the lack of offense was the culprit, as has been the case through several of their losses this season. They came into Tuesday ranking 14th in the AL in runs, last in average, 11 in on-base percentage and last in slugging.
Tuesday, they didn't get a hit off Marlins starter Pablo Lopez until the sixth inning and ended up with just one run on three hits.
Francisco Lindor has yet to make an impact since returning last week and Jose Ramirez is hitting .157/.237/.229 on the season. The hope for the Indians lies in those two hitting like MVP candidates, as they did last season. If not, the offense will continue to be a problem.
Highlight of the night: Mondesi's two-base race
The Royals lost to the Rays, but this is too fun not to share. Adalberto Mondesi zips home from second on a wild pitch.
Run, Adalberto, run!
Highlight of the night, Take II: Hedges' glove-aided HR
- Dwight Smith Jr. looking good for the Orioles.
- Tigers closer Shane Greene now has 11 saves in 12 Tigers wins. The first game of the doubleheader Tuesday was the first game of the season the Tigers won without a Greene save.
- Rays LHP Blake Snell (broken toe) is expected to come off the IL on Wednesday and start against the Red Sox.
- Indians starter Carlos Carrasco didn't leave the game Tuesday, but he is getting what the club is calling a precautionary MRI on his knee.
- Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez will be a reliever when he returns from the injured list, manager Mike Schildt told reporters (via Mark Saxon of The Athletic).
- Blue Jays SS prospect Bo Bichette reportedly suffered a broken hand when he was struck by a pitch on Monday. .
- The Reds have placed OF Matt Kemp on the 10-day IL with a broken rib.
- The Pirates have placed RHP Nick Burdi on the IL with biceps/elbow pain, .
- DH Hanley Ramirez has declined an outright assignment to the minors by the Indians and has become a free agent.
- According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets and Brewers have interest in LHP Gio Gonzalez, who recently became a free agent.