Walker Buehler returned from the injured list and pitched very well, but it was the opposing pitcher who stole the spotlight.
Zac Gallen continued his brilliant season Wednesday versus the Dodgers, holding arguably the best offense in baseball to just one single and two walks over seven-plus scoreless innings. He struck out seven batters.
Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and Gallen walked Will Smith with two outs in the second. Those were the only two runners to reach base for the Dodgers before Gallen was pulled following a leadoff walk in the eighth. He had retired 16 straight. No Dodger reached second base against him all night.
Unfortunately, Betts came up again in the ninth and took Kevin Ginkel deep, tying the game and costing Gallen a win. The 25-year-old is somehow just 1-0 on the season.
Gallen has permitted just three runs over his last four starts to lower his ERA on the season to 1.80. He hasn’t given up more than two runs in an outing all season. His WHIP is a microscopic 0.94. He has a 54/15 K/BB ratio across 50 innings.
The domination goes back further than that, of course.
Since his major league debut last June, Gallen boasts a 2.42 ERA over 23 starts. Not once has he given up more than three runs in any of those 23 outings, which is a major league record. Heck, he’s allowed two or fewer in 19 of the starts.
Gallen was generally ranked around No. 30 among starting pitchers in fantasy coming into this season. He might be pitching his way into the top 10 for 2021.
Braves Bash Bros.
Everyone has been beating up on the Red Sox’ pitching this season. Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall have just been feasting on it even more than most the last couple days.
One day after Ozuna slugged three home runs at Fenway Park, Duvall did the same thing Wednesday. The 31-year-old popped a pair of two-run shots and capped off his night with a solo blast as the Braves downed the Red Sox for the third day in a row.
Oh, by the way, Ozuna also homered again Wednesday.
By posting three-homer games on back-to-back days, Ozuna and Duvall made history. It’s the first time since 1930 that it’s been accomplished by teammates. Who did it 90 years ago? Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Ruth and Gehrig.
Ozuna and Duvall.
The Braves’ duo are actually the first in baseball history to do it in back-to-back games, as Ruth and Gehrig’s feats involved doubleheaders.
Duvall was thrust into a bigger role with the Braves when Nick Markakis opted out and he’s continuing to play a lot even after Markakis opted back in, as the club has gone more with Ozuna in the designated hitter spot. He’s been doing his normal thing in striking out a lot (28.7 percent) and not walking much (4.6 percent). However, Duvall has provided some thump with a .520 slugging percentage and eight dingers.
As for Ozuna, he’s now sitting on a robust .301/.390/.624 batting line with 12 home runs and 31 RBI. Only Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout, Luke Voit and Fernando Tatis Jr. have hit more homers. Only Tatis Jr., Trout, Jose Abreu and Anthony Santander have driven in more runs.
Ozuna decided to bet on himself when he accepted a one-year deal from the Braves over the offseason. It’s looking like it might pay off this winter.
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He didn’t win the game, but Sixto Sanchez continued to “wow” on Wednesday.
Sanchez spun seven excellent innings against the Blue Jays, yielding just two runs on six hits and no walks. He notched five strikeouts. The young right-hander needed a mere 79 pitches to cover his seven frames.
Pounding the strike zone has been a theme for Sanchez in his first three outings. He need only 66 pitches to get through five innings in his first start and 92 to get through seven innings in his second start. Now 79 to get through seven.
Strikeouts? 19 over 19 innings. Walks? One.
In his minor league career, Sanchez posted just a 1.7 BB/9 ratio. That the 22-year-old has displayed pinpoint control so far in the big leagues has not come as a surprise.
What has been surprising is that Sanchez has been hurt by the long ball. The fireballing right-hander has allowed five runs in his three starts. They’ve come in the form of a solo homer and two two-run homers.
In 335 1/3 minor league innings, Sanchez gave up just nine home runs. He’s an extreme groundball pitcher who usually keeps the ball in the yard.
So why is he already one-third of the way to his total home runs allowed total from the minors in just 19 major league innings? It’s too soon to make any definitive judgments, of course. Maybe Sanchez is actually in the strike zone a little too much and major league hitters feel they can let it rip, knowing he’ll be around the plate.
It also could just be bad luck and he’s due for a little positive home run regression. That’s a scary thought. Sanchez is lined up to face the Braves next.
American League Quick Hits: One day after Aroldis Chapman buzzed his tower with a 101 mph fastball and drew a suspension, Mike Brosseau homered twice Wednesday to propel the Rays to a win over the Yankees … Tyler Naquin homered twice and drove in five runs against the Royals on Wednesday … Triston McKenzie didn't allow a run over six innings while striking out six in the Indians' win over the Royals on Wednesday … Jose Barrios was sharp on Wednesday, allowing just three hits and a run while fanning eight over six innings to pick up a win against the White Sox … Hyun Jin Ryu fanned eight while allowing one run over six innings Wednesday in defeating the Marlins … Gleyber Torres (quad/hamstring) said Wednesday that he thinks he'll be ready to rejoin the Yankees in two days … Jorge Soler was removed from Wednesday's game versus the Indians due to right oblique irritation and hip tightness. He’s not expected to need a stint on the injured list … Kolby Allard took a loss despite allowing just two runs on two hits over seven innings against the Astros on Wednesday … Max Kepler is day-to-day after being removed from Wednesday's game against the Tigers because of left groin tightness … Renato Nunez is considered day-to-day after leaving Wednesday's game versus the Mets with a sore hamstring … Jose Urquidy (undisclosed) is on track to start one of the games during Saturday's doubleheader versus the Angels.
National League Quick Hits: Josh Hader didn't allow a hit over a scoreless ninth to procure a save against the Tigers on Wednesday, setting a major league record with 12 straight hitless appearances to begin a season … Michael Conforto went 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and five RBI to lead the Mets to a win over the Orioles on Wednesday … Eric Hosmer hit a three-run homer, reached base three times and scored three times Wednesday against the Angels … Zack Wheeler blanked the Nationals for 6 2/3 innings Wednesday in the Phillies' victory, whiffing six along the way … Madison Bumgarner (back) will rejoin the Giants' rotation on Saturday in San Francisco … Garrett Hampson homered Wednesday for the third time in two days as the Rockies stormed back to beat the Giants … Kyle Hendricks held the Pirates to one run over six innings and struck out six Wednesday in the Cubs' victory … Christian Yelich scored three runs, walked four times and stole two bases in the Brewers' win over the Tigers on Wednesday … Anthony Alford went 2-for-4 and hit his first homer for the Pirates in Wednesday's loss to the Cubs … Brad Miller went 2-for-3 with a homer and a walk Wednesday versus the Reds … The Padres placed Wil Myers on the injured list Wednesday for undisclosed reasons … Ronald Acuna (hamstring) was absent from the Braves' lineup again Wednesday but is expected back Friday … The Marlins placed Elieser Hernandez on the 10-day injured list with a right lat strain.