Thoughts: Wainwright back to Cy status
April, 24, 2013
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
Thoughts on Tuesday's fun night of baseball ...
- Matt Harvey has deservedly been stealing all the headlines, but Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is quietly off to an amazing start. He pitched 8.1 scoreless innings in a 2-0 win against the Nationals, improving to 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA. He also walked his first batter of the season -- he has 37 strikeouts -- and that was a careful pitch-around to the red-hot Bryce Harper with runners at first and third and two outs in the sixth. His 2-2, 94-mph four-seam fastball to then strike out Adam LaRoche was a thing of beauty. Good note from Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com on how catchers Yadier Molina and Tony Cruz arrived early to look at video from last season, when the Nationals twice scuffed up Wainwright, including knocking him out in the third inning in the postseason: "I don't want to say I don't do this every day, because I do," Molina said of the pregame video work. "But I was so focused to beat those guys, because I know last year [Wainwright] had a hard time facing the Nationals, so I wanted to do something different." Wainwright threw just one changeup and used his four-seamer more -- he had five strikeouts on fastballs after having just six in his first four starts.
- Big 6-4 win for the Diamondbacks against the Giants after Brandon Belt tagged J.J. Putz for a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth to tie it. Didi Gregorius scored the go-ahead on a wild pitch, but the game's crucial play happened in the bottom of the 10th when Cody Ross threw out Pablo Sandoval at home plate -- by about 25 feet. Check out the jump -- or lack of it -- that Sandoval got on the hit, which wasn't even hit that hard. The Diamondbacks have to be a little concerned about closer Putz, who is now just 3-for-6 in save chances, although Arizona has managed to win all three of those games. And Matt Cain remains winless for the Giants in five starts.
- Speaking of winless starters: The Rays are now 0-5 when David Price starts after losing 4-3 to the Yankees. Price pitched into the ninth inning with the game tied, but left after Robinson Cano's leadoff single. Fernando Rodney couldn't contain the damage as Ichiro Suzuki eventually hit a soft liner to center with two outs to score two. Price pitched OK, but remember that the Yankees have been among the worst teams in the majors against left-handers.
- With a 4-3 win against the Blue Jays, ESPN Stats and Info reports that the Orioles have now won 100 consecutive games when leading after seven innings, the third-longest stretch in major league history (the 1906-07 Cubs won 121 and the 1998-99 Yankees won 116). The Orioles scored all four runs off R.A. Dickey in the second inning, with walks to Ryan Flaherty and Nate McLouth keeping the rally going.
- Oh, those Marlins. Here's a story from the Miami Herald on how Marlins players are upset that veteran Ricky Nolasco was made to start the night game of the doubleheader while rookie Jose Fernandez started the day game. Sources told Clark Spencer that the decision was made by management, not manager Mike Redmond and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. As for Fernandez, watched some of his outing; he has to stop throwing so many first-pitch fastballs. The Twins started jumping on the pitch, including three straight hits in the fourth, including Oswaldo Arcia's three-run homer, his first in the majors.
- Eric Karabell wants me to point out that the Phillies couldn't score off Jeff Locke. ... Mariners fans flooded Twitter with more disgust after yet another Raul Ibanez misadventure in left field. ... Jose Valverde is back with the Tigers and he'll be the closer. ... Watched Clayton Kershaw, and he scuffled through five innings, including a walk to Mets reliever Robert Carson that led to a two-out rally. The Dodgers won anyway as Mark Ellis hit two home runs. ... Howie Kendrick had the big walk-off homer in the 11th for the Angels. Curiously, Josh Hamilton was back in the cleanup spot. ... The Brewers won their ninth in a row even though Yovani Gallardo allowed eight hits and five walks in 6.2.