There were supposed to be 12 games on this Monday, but the weather robbed us of three of those, meaning one third of the league will have the day off. Nonetheless, here is everything you need to know about the day in baseball.
Nats rally to steal win from Mets
Going into Monday’s series opener with the Nationals, the Mets were off to a franchise best 12-2 start to the season, and new manager Mickey Callaway had the golden touch. Every move he made worked, especially with the bullpen. Until Monday, that is.
The Mets dropped their first heartbreaker of the season Monday, as four relievers (Seth Lugo, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia) conspired to blow a 6-1 lead in the eighth inning. It was a death by a thousand cuts inning. Six runs scored without the benefit of an extra-base hit, and the go-ahead run scored on a Michael Taylor bases loaded walk.
The bullpen was charged with five runs allowed — Hansel Robles allowed an insurance solo homer to Howie Kendrick in the top of the ninth — in 1 2/3 innings, wasting Jacob deGrom’s gem (the bullpen allowed two inherited runners to score, ruining DeGrom’s previously stellar pitching line).
Prior to Monday’s game Callaway’s bullpen had allowed six runs total in their previous 16 1/3 innings, then they coughed up five runs in 1 2/3 innings Monday. So it goes. What does the manager tell the team after a meltdown like that?
The Nationals, meanwhile, scored a much-needed win against the team they’re chasing in the super early NL East standings. Washington improved to 8-9 on the season with Monday’s win. They were swept at home by these same Mets two weeks ago. Surely they hope to return the favor this week at Citi Field.
Brewers lose at home again
Bit of a weird season for the Brewers so far. They lost Monday’s game to the Reds, dropping them to 2-6 at Miller Park in the early going. They’ve been outscored 48-20 in those eight games as well. Reliever Oliver Drake took one on the chin Monday.
Drake woke up with a 1.16 ERA on Monday, and he’ll go to bed with a 7.00 ERA. Ouch.
Despite their home struggles, the Brewers have been quite strong on the road, going 6-3 in nine road games and outscoring their opponents 40-31. I reckon these home struggles won’t last all season for the Brew Crew. File this under “annoying early season randomness” rather than “worrisome trend.”
Stanton, Yankees blow out Marlins
Giancarlo Stanton’s first career game against the Marlins was a smashing success for his team. The Yankees blew the Marlins out 12-1 on Monday, though Stanton personally didn’t have a huge hand in the win. He went 0 for 3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Gary Sanchez (3 for 4, 3 RBI) and Didi Gregorius (2 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI) led the way offensively.
The Marlins are now 2-10 in their last 12 games and have been outscored 77-32 in the process. Oy vey.
Another leadoff Springer Dinger
Including Monday, the Astros have played 17 games so far this season. George Springer has now started three of them with a leadoff home run. He hit his third leadoff Springer Dinger of 2018 on Monday.
The reigning World Series MVP has three leadoff homers by himself in 2018. No other team in baseball has more than one leadoff homer this season. Last year nine — nine! — of Springer’s 34 homers were leadoff shots. There’s no better way to start a game than with a quick 1-0 lead after one batter.
Harper hits broken bat homer
Monday night Bryce Harper was left with a piece of kindling in his hand after getting sawed off by deGrom, yet the ball sailed well into the Citi Field bullpen. Look at this:
Unreal. That was Harper’s league leading eighth home run of the season in his 17th game. During his MVP season in 2015, Harper hit his eighth home run in his 29th game.
Judge becomes fastest to 60 homers
That home run extended Judge’s hit streak to an MLB leading 12 games. He went 16 for 41 (.390) with three home runs and 11 walks in the first 11 games of the streak.
That home run was also career home run No. 60 for Judge. No player in history has reached 60 home runs in fewer games than the reigning AL MVP.
Judge broke McGwire’s rookie record last season with 52 home runs. McGwire hit 49 back in 1987.
Dodgers climb out of NL West cellar
Thanks to Monday’s win over the Padres, the Dodgers are officially out of the NL West cellar. They improved to 6-9 with Monday’s win, moving them into a tie with the idle Giants for third place in the division. The Padres, at 7-11, fall into last place.
Los Angeles won Monday thanks in large part to former Padre Matt Kemp, who received a hearty round of boos when he stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat. Later in the game, Kemp silenced the crowd with a three-run home run into the San Diego night.
The Dodgers have won back-to-back games for the third time this season — they have six wins thanks to three sets of back-to-back wins — though the problem has been avoiding losing streaks. Their season to date: L, L, W, W, L, L, L, L, W, W, L, L, L, W, W.
One of the biggest reasons the Dodgers have started slowly is the absence of Justin Turner. He remains out, and he’s since been joined on the disabled list by his replacement, Logan Forsythe. The Dodgers are now rotating their plans C through E through the hot corner in Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Farmer, and recent call-up Breyvic Valera.
Mengden dominates ChiSox
Hands down, one of my favorite pitchers in baseball right now is Athletics righty Daniel Mengden. They picked him up from the Astros in the Scott Kazmir trade a few years ago, and between the Rollie Fingers-esque mustache and wonky delivery, Mengden is the quintessential A’s pitcher.
Monday night the 25-year-old Mengden had the best start of his relatively brief big league career, holding the White Sox to one run on six hits and one walk in eight innings plus one batter.
Mengden was sent back out for the ninth inning even though his pitch count was already sitting at 100. He gave up a home run to Jose Abreu to end his night, but it was still refreshing to see him get a chance for the complete game. I get why teams are pulling their starters earlier than ever. It’s all about keeping them healthy. Mengden threw eight easy innings though. Those 100 pitches stress-free, so he A’s skipper Doug Melvin gave him a chance to complete the game.
- Pirates 2B Josh Harrison will miss six weeks . He suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch over the weekend.
- The Rays will be without CF Kevin Kiermaier . Kiermaier tore a ligament in his thumb sliding into a base during the weekend.
- The A’s approached 3B Matt Chapman about an extension — . Chapman has been one of the best players in baseball so far this year.
- Brewers OF Christian Yelich will work out the next few days before being activated off the disabled list. He is currently out with an oblique injury.
- Braves C Tyler Flowers, who is out with an oblique injury, went through catching drills Monday and could be cleared to resume hitting later this weekend.
- Top Yankees prospect IF Gleyber Torres was removed from Monday’s Triple-A game with back stiffness, the Yankees say. It was precautionary.