Joe Ross entered Monday’s start against the Cardinals having not allowed a run this season. He exited it with a 5.87 ERA.
The Cards pounded Ross for eight hits and 10 runs over the right-hander’s 4 1/3 innings in a 12-5 victory. Ross surrendered four home runs in the laugher, walked three batters and hit a batter. The right-hander had shut out the same St. Louis club over six innings in his previous outing.
Two of the long balls hit off Ross were launched by Paul DeJong. He got the scoring started by ripping a laser down the left field line in the first inning which hit the netting attached to the foul pole. His next dinger was more dramatic.
After Ross intentionally walked Dylan Carlson to load the bases and set up the potential for a double play, DeJong hit a towering shot to left field which cleared the wall for a grand slam. It was the second grand slam of the shortstop’s career.
Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt also had back-to-back homers off of Ross as part of the Cardinals’ offensive explosion. Justin Williams added a fifth bomb off of reliever Kyle Finnegan which was hit a blistering 109.2 mph.
It’s been an odd season thus far for DeJong. He boasts a 19.4 percent barrel rate, which is tied for the seventh-highest mark in baseball. He also has a 14.3 percent walk rate, which would easily be the best rate of his career. That’s the good.
The bad is that DeJong is striking out at a 33.3 percent clip and his exit velocity is sitting at a lowly 87 mph. In other words, he’s mixing in a lot of soft contact or no contact with those lasers.
In some ways, DeJong is the microcosm of the Cardinals’ offense as a whole. They’ve had a handful of offensive outbursts, only to have them usually followed by offensive droughts. Their last eight runs totals, for example, are 3, 2, 14, 0, 2, 9, 0, 12. The end result has been an 8-8 record and run differential of zero, which seems appropriate.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Joe Musgrove vs. MIL – 7 IP, 4 H, BB, 13 K
Two starts after throwing the first no-hitter in Padres history, Musgrove set a new career high with 13 strikeouts against the Brewers. He induced a whopping 27 swinging strikes, including 14 on 18 swings against his slider. All 13 strikeouts came on offspeed pitches. Musgrove did serve up a couple solo home runs, which kept him from picking up his third win. Still, it was yet another dominant effort from the right-hander as he continues to ride a breaking ball-heavy approach to what looks like will be a breakout season.
Kevin Gausman vs. PHI – 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 5 K
It wasn’t the prettiest of outings. The Phillies put multiple runners on base in five of six innings against Gausman, who needed 108 pitches to navigate through his six frames. However, he was able to keep wiggling out of jams to pick up his first win of the season and lower his ERA to 2.45. Gausman induced 14 swings and misses, with nine of them coming on his splitter.
Kohei Arihara vs. LAA – 5 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K
Arihara entered this one with a 3.07 ERA in his first three major league starts even though he’d managed just seven strikeouts in 14 2/3 frames. He used seven different pitches Monday to whiff six batters and nearly double his season total. It’s great and all, but this looks like a smoke and mirrors situation. Arihara had allowed a 93.4 mph exit velocity going into Monday’s game which ranked in just the 10th percentile. Against the Angels that number was 96.6 mph.
Hitters with an EDGE
Alex Verdugo vs. CWS – 3-for-4, HR, BB, RBI
It was an early start on Monday in Boston on Patriots’ Day, and the Red Sox jumped on Lucas Giolito early with two home runs and six runs in the first inning. Verdugo actually made the final out of the frame in his second trip to the plate after he singled in his first plate appearance. It wound up being the only time he was retired on the day, as Verdugo reached base four times and took reliever Zack Burdi deep with a solo blast in the third inning.
Taylor Trammell vs. LAD – 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Trammell has no doubt had some rocky times in the early going this season, but he’s had some nice moments, too. A couple of them came during the Mariners’ win over the Dodgers on Monday, as he popped a solo home run off Dustin May in the second inning before adding an RBI double off May in the fourth.
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JT Brubaker, SP, PIT – 29 percent rostered in Yahoo fantasy leagues
Have you taken notice of what Brubaker has done so far this season with the Pirates? After tossing six innings of one-run ball against the Brewers in his last outing, Brubaker now boasts a 1.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 18/5 K/BB ratio over 15 1/3 frames in his first three starts. The right-hander’s fastball has been one of the more effective pitches in the game in the early going, and he pairs it with a nasty slider. Brubaker gets a juicy matchup against the Tigers on Thursday in his next trip to the hill.
With Jake McGee (COVID-19) unavailable and Tyler Rogers having appeared in 10 of the team’s first 15 games, the Giants used Wandy Peralta to close out Monday’s win over the Phillies. He did so with ease, throwing nine of 12 pitches for strikes and getting one punchout in a clean ninth inning. It’s the second save of the season for Peralta.
Ian Kennedy tossed a scoreless ninth inning on Monday against the Angels to notch his fourth save of the season, escaping a two-out, two-on jam to preserve the Rangers’ two-run victory. He’s converted all four of his save opportunities and boasts an 11/0 K/BB ratio over seven innings.
Mariners manager Scott Servais turned to Rafael Montero to close out Monday’s win over the Dodgers. Kendall Graveman, who had notched two of the team’s previous three saves, came in to get the M’s out of a jam in the seventh and then had a 1-2-3 eighth. Montero pitched around a walk and a hit by pitch to nail down his third save.
Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day
There are a few good options on Tuesday’s slate, including Carlos Rodon gunning for Johnny Vander Meer. However, I am tempted to go with Burnes no matter who he is facing. He’s become appointment viewing, having put up a 0.49 ERA, 0.22 WHIP and 30/0 K/BB ratio over his first 18 1/3 innings. Yep, 30 strikeouts and zero walks. I’m also anxious to get another look at Paddack. He was better in his third outing but still not super sharp.
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American League Quick Hits: Shohei Ohtani (blister) will be limited to around 75 pitches in his return to the Angels' rotation on Tuesday versus the Rangers. Ohtani will not be used in the designated hitter spot during the game … Kyle Lewis (knee) will make his season debut on Tuesday against the Dodgers … Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle has reported that Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martín Maldonado and Robel García (COVID-19) are tentatively expected to rejoin the Astros on Tuesday in Colorado … J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5 with a solo homer, two RBI, and two runs scored in Monday's lopsided win over the White Sox on Patriots' Day … Josh Fleming held the Royals to two hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings in the Rays' 4-1 victory Monday … Danny Duffy allowed just a pair of unearned runs and struck out eight over six innings in a loss to the Rays on Monday … Anthony Rendon (groin) hit off a tee and did some light throwing and fielding on Monday … Lance McCullers (illness) will not make his scheduled start on Tuesday in Colorado … Adalberto Mondesi (oblique) has still yet to be cleared to swing a bat … Nathan Eovaldi matched his career-high with 10 strikeouts while allowing four runs over 6 1/3 innings as part of an 11-4 victory over the White Sox on Monday … Spencer Turnbull (COVID-19) will make his season debut Wednesday against the Pirates … Ty France was removed from Monday's game against the Dodgers after being hit in the right forearm by a pitch. X-rays came back negative … Adolis Garcia homered and drove in two runs while going 2-for-4 on Monday in a win over the Angels.
National League Quick Hits: Ronald Acuña Jr. is considered day-to-day after an MRI revealed a mild abdominal strain … Starling Marte will be placed on the injured list after an MRI revealed a non-displaced fracture of his 12th rib. He will be shut down for 5-7 days before being re-evaluated … Dinelson Lamet (elbow) will make his season debut on Wednesday against the Brewers … Kolten Wong (oblique) is expected to be activated from the injured list for the Brewers' weekend series versus the Cubs … Brandon Woodruff yielded just one run on one hit and three walks while fanning seven over six frames in Monday’s win over the Padres … Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-5 and hit his second homer Monday in the rout of the Nationals … Luis Urias homered against his former team, the Padres, on Monday but was later removed with a right calf cramp … Tommy Edman had a homer and a double against the Nationals on Monday … Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Monday that Austin Nola (finger) should resume playing in games at the team's alternate training site in the "next two or three days” … Miles Mikolas (shoulder) threw a simulated game on Sunday in his first time facing hitters since February … Jeff Passan of ESPN.com has reported that Nick Castellanos' appeal of his two-game suspension has been denied.