Showing posts with label Mike Leake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Leake. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

White Sox (mercifully) snap 7-game losing streak with win over Mariners

Jose Abreu -- two HRs Monday night
Seven straight hits to start the game. Five runs in the first inning. Eighteen hits overall.

Who would have saw this coming? The White Sox had only two runs on 15 hits in three games over the weekend against the Houston Astros, but they finally found some offense Monday in a 10-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Granted, Mike Leake is not anywhere near as good as Justin Verlander or Dallas Keuchel, but the Sox have made pitchers worse than Leake look like perennial All-Stars this season.

But not Monday.  

Yoan Moncada opened the game with a triple that led to the five-run rally. The Sox added two runs in the second and another in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead and knock Leake (2-2) out early.

It was a big night for Moncada and Jose Abreu, as the two combined to go 7 for 10 with three home runs, a triple, a double, six runs scored and four RBIs.

Moncada went 3 for 5 and had a triple, a double and a home run in his first three at-bats. He had two opportunities to hit a single to complete the cycle, but he struck out looking on a pitch that appeared to be outside and flew out to left field in his last two at-bats. It probably didn't help that Seattle used left-hander Wade LeBlanc to mop up -- the switch-hitting Moncada is clearly weaker batting right-handed, which was the case for the two plate appearances in which he did not reach base.

Abreu, meanwhile, raised his batting average to .308 by going 4 for 5. He hit a two-run homer off Leake in the second inning and a solo homer off LeBlanc in the sixth. Abreu now has a team-high six home runs on the season.

This time, Carson Fulmer (1-1) held a big lead. The right-hander has been struggling, but he pitched six innings of three-hit ball to earn the win. A two-run homer by Mike Zunino in the fifth was the only blemish on Fulmer's line. He struck out three and walked only one -- a refreshing change from previous wildness.

Chris Beck allowed two runs and six hits over three innings of relief, but he didn't walk anybody while pitching with a big lead, which also is a refreshing change from previous wildness. Beck earned his first career save.

Garcia to DL; Palka called up

Of course, no Sox game recap can be complete this season without some bad news.

Right fielder Avisail Garcia strained his right hamstring running out a ground ball Monday night and has been placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Outfielder Daniel Palka has been called up to take Garcia's place on the 25-man roster.

It has been a slow start for Garcia this season. A 2-for-34 slump has left him with an unimpressive .233/.250/.315 slash line with one home run and four RBIs in 18 games. Garcia is the only qualifying batter in Major League Baseball who has yet to draw a walk this season.

Palka, 26, is a former Minnesota Twins prospect who was claimed off waivers in the offseason. The left-handed hitter was batting .286/.384/.476 with three home runs, three doubles and seven RBIs in 17 games at Triple-A Charlotte.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Alex Reyes, the best pitching prospect in baseball, is out for the year

Just yesterday, we noted that Baseball Prospectus ranked St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes the top prospect in all of baseball.

Today, one day after the beginning of spring training, Reyes is heading to the operating table with a ruptured ligament in his right elbow. He will have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2017 season.

The 22-year-old was 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 12 games (5 starts) with the Cardinals last season. He struck out 52 batters in 46 big-league innings.

Reyes was expected to compete for the fifth spot in the St. Louis rotation, and some were thinking he would be a candidate for National League Rookie of the Year.

The Cardinals had high hopes for Reyes, and obviously, this is not the sort of news any team wants early in camp. However, St. Louis has a rotation that is mostly set -- Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake and Lance Lynn are penciled in for the first four spots.

The Reyes injury leaves Michael Wacha as the leading candidate for the fifth spot. Wacha dealt with shoulder issues in 2016 and went 7-7 with a 5.09 ERA. The Cardinals need him to bounce back, because their other fifth-spot options are not great -- 23-year-old Luke Weaver, who struggled in eight starts last year, and former closer Trevor Rosenthal.

Tying this news back to the White Sox, every time some team has a pitching injury this spring, my reaction is going to be the same: "Hmmmm ... might this team be interested in Jose Quintana?"

So, would the Cardinals be interested in Quintana? Yeah, of course, who wouldn't? However, the Cardinals are not the type of organization that makes knee-jerk moves. They like to fill spots from within, and it seems unlikely they would want to send all their high-level prospects to the Sox for Quintana, even though the fit might be good on paper.

Unless, of course, one of their veterans at the top of the rotation gets hurt. Then they might start to feel desperate.

This situation illustrates the fact that Sox general manager Rick Hahn isn't necessarily wrong for holding on to Quintana going into the season. The market might heat up for him as we go along, because injuries and underperformance might cause certain clubs who think they have enough pitching right now to realize they don't.

Wait long enough, and you might have 10 suitors for Quintana instead of three or four. The gamble in that is the possibility that Quintana himself could get injured. But if Quintana stays healthy, and pitches like he usually does in the first half, there's an opportunity to create a bidding war among clubs at the July trade deadline.

There are potential risks and potential rewards in any strategy. The injury to Reyes is just the latest reminder of how important it is for teams to stockpile pitching.