The Atlanta Braves sit atop the NL East, with a two game lead over the Phillies after Thursday night’s victory over the Rockies. They currently hold the only positive run differential in their rather volatile division, at +89. Since the trade deadline, the Braves have a 19-9 record, and their deadline pickups have certainly made a huge contribution. Jorge Soler went 2-for-5 on Thursday night, including his 22nd home run of the year, a solo shot home run in the first inning to give the Braves an early lead. That 407-foot homer was off a Chi Chi González fastball off the plate outside, clobbered at 103 miles per hour. He also singled and scored a run in the third inning.
This was also Soler’s ninth homer in 29 games over 122 plate appearances with the Braves; more recently, he’s homered six times in his last 12 games. Since being traded to Atlanta from the Kansas City Royals, Soler totes a .267/.375/.535 line, including 17 runs, three doubles, eight home runs, 16 RBI, and 18 walks drawn.
Soler, along with Adam Duvall were fantastic deadline pickups, as the Braves are enjoying the dividends from their combined effort on Thursday. Duvall is averaging a home run every 16.8 at-bats in his career, and the proof was in the pudding on Thursday as he pummeled a two-run shot in the fifth inning to put the Braves ahead for a 6-5 lead for an eventual win over the Rockies. That was Duvall’s 30th homer of the season; he’s now just three homers shy of his previous career-high 33 home runs, back in 2016 while a member of the Reds.
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Hitters with an EDGE
Mark Canha vs. Tigers
1-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Canha crushed his 14th home run of the year in the first inning: a two-out solo shot off Matt Manning to help put the A’s on the board early in Thursday’s 8-6 win over the Tigers. He also drew two walks.
Thairo Estrada vs. Brewers
1-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI
Estrada’s eighth inning three-run home run off Devin Williams helped put a crooked number on the board for the Giants. This was the 25-year-old’s fourth home run of the year.
Rafael Ortega vs. Pirates
2-for-5, 1 R, 3 RBI
Ortega’s rather eventful evening included a seventh inning three-run home run off Chad Kuhl to put the Cubs on the board, tying it up, 3-3. Ortega also set the table for an 11th inning victory with a sacrifice bunt that pushed Sergio Alcantara to third base; Alcantara was later plated after Ian Happ reached after a fielding error by Wilmer Difo.
Pitchers with an EDGE
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Rays
6 IP, 4 H, 0 R. 1 BB, 6 K, 28% CSW
Rodriguez was able to keep the Rays at bay by establishing his four seamer – good for nine swings-and-misses and seven called strikes, contributing to a fantastic 37% CSW on that pitch alone. This was also Rodriguez’s third scoreless start (out of six starts) since the beginning of August; he’s struck out six or more in each of those scoreless starts.
Triston McKenzie vs. Royals
6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 30% CSW
In McKenzie’s first start after coming off the injured list with a minor shoulder issue, he was able to continue his excellent August by limiting the Royals to one run off two hits in six innings pitched. He carries forth a 3.27 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 54/9 K/BB ratio across 55 innings (nine starts) since July 9.
Mitch Keller vs. Cubs
6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 33% CSW
A solid start for Keller, who threw 84 pitches, 64 of them for strikes, including 10 swings and misses. The slider was Keller’s best pitch, notching seven of those 10 whiffs. Though hard contact was a problem for Keller throughout the contest, he was able to prevent runs from scoring, keeping the Pirates in the ballgame though they eventually fell to the Cubs in extra innings.
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Sergio Romo vs. Tigers
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (2nd Save)
Ian Kennedy vs. Nationals
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB 0 K (22nd Save)
Kennedy gave up a one-out double to Josh Bell, but was able to slam the door on the Nats with a groundout and flyout to end the ninth inning.
Will Smith vs. Rockies
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (30th Save)
Smith gave up a leadoff single to Ryan McMahon in the ninth inning, but was able to finish the Rockies by striking out Elias Diaz, and luring Garrett Hampson into grounding into a double play to end the game.
Emmanuel Clase vs. Royals (20th Save)
1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K
A slippery save situation for Clase, who gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Santana. An overturned challenge allowed Santana to reach third. He was later plated by an Edward Olivares groundout to bring the Royals within two runs; to make things stickier, Hunter Dozier singled after. Clase was able to get out of the inning, finally getting Ryan O’Hearn to fly out to center field.
Edwin Diaz vs. Marlins
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (28th Save)
Garrett Richards vs. Rays
3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (2nd Save)
A lengthy, three inning save for Richards, who ran into no troubles except giving up a ninth inning single to Joey Wendle. Richards has now converted two out of two possible save opportunities.
Gavin Sheets – OF – Chicago White Sox – Available in 99% of Yahoo Leagues
A September callup you’ll certainly want to make note of. The rookie outfielder was sparkling in the few weeks after his Major League debut, but was optioned to Triple-A on August 9, upon the return of Luis Robert from the injured list. The 25-year-old has a formidable left-handed power bat; he was recalled to the big league club on Wednesday afternoon, only to crush two home runs in a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He now has a .867 OPS including 12 runs scored, 20 RBI, and eight home runs for the year.
Friday’s Matchup of the Day
The Brewers have a lock on the NL Central as they are 30 games over .500 and a 10 game lead over the Cincinnati Reds — but this pitching matchup is still one to watch as these starters have plenty to prove with a month left in the regular season. At 40, Adam Wainwright is having a career season, and was the NL Pitcher of the Month for August. His opponent on the mound is 15 years his junior, but is already in line for plenty of accolades; Freddy Peralta goes into tomorrow’s start with 164 strikeouts, the second most of any pitcher age 25 or younger. This is also Peralta’s first start since departing a game versus St. Louis on August 18, with what turned out to be mild shoulder inflammation.
American League Quick Hits
Enrique Hernandez (COVID-19) told reporters on Thursday that he’s «close to 100 percent.». … Marlins placed RHP Chris Mazza on the COVID-19 injured list…Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 33 games on Thursday before making an early exit from the Rays’ loss to the Red Sox with a headache. … Gleyber Torres (thumb) left Thursday’s game after being hit by a pitch during a rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
National League Quick Hits
Wilmer Flores was lifted early from Wednesday’s loss to the Brewers with left hamstring tightness. … Max Scherzer is expected to make his next scheduled start after exiting Wednesday’s outing against the Braves early due to hamstring tightness. … Brewers placed LHP Brett Anderson on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder contusion. … Giants placed INF Wilmer Flores on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. … Tommy La Stella (side) was out of the Giants’ lineup again on Thursday. … Braves placed RHP Chris Martin on the 10-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. …. Matt Duffy (neck) was back in the lineup on Thursday against the Pirates. …. Nico Hoerner (oblique) took infield before Thursday’s game against the Pirates…Ke’Bryan Hayes (hand) was out of the lineup Thursday against the Cubs. … Marlins activated RHP Paul Campbell off the injured list…Marlins INF Brian Anderson is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. … Avisail Garcia left Thursday’s game against the Giants with back and hamstring tightness. … Ozzie Albies (knee) was not in the lineup on Thursday against the Rockies. … Willson Contreras (knee) will play on Friday for Triple-A Iowa.