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While one of the hot topics early in the season has been a general lack of run-scoring, there are some batters who have more/less been immune to offensive failure this spring. Case in point: Manny Machado. Machado went off yet again in Thursday’s win over the Reds, racking up four hits. His numbers of late have somehow raised the bar on what was already a stellar season, with Machado collecting nine hits in his last 14 at-bats.
It’s way early to talk MVP, of course. But can we start whispering MVP? Boasting a .395/.465/.605 triple-slash with three homers, 12 RBI and 18 runs scored while leading the league with a 2.0 WAR in 76 at-bats, Machado is building a strong early case for the NL award. The Padres are going to need to keep winning for him to stay in the thick of the race, but Machado is certainly doing all he can to keep his name in the headlines.
Hitters with an EDGE
Manny Machado – 4-for-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R
See our open. Machado has been a near-daily entrant in the Daily Dose and came through once more against the Reds on Thursday. The double was his seventh of the young campaign. Through 76 at-bats this season, Machado is slashing a silly .395/.465/.605 with three homers, 12 RBI and 18 runs scored.
Andrew McCutchen – 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB
Nice to reunite with the veteran outfielder in this space. McCutchen has had few efforts to write home about this season. His homer in the Brewers’ 3-2 win over his old Pittsburgh squad was his first of the new campaign. Cutch has just five extra-base hits through his first 72 at-bats.
Aaron Judge – 2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
The Yankees’ offense began the season flat as a day-old soda pop, but with Thursday’s 10-5 win over the Orioles, New York has now scored double-digit runs in three of their last four games while whupping up on Cleveland and Baltimore. Judge has been a huge part of that, having now homered in two of his last three games while recording two-hit showings in three straight. Perhaps this author’s most-pressing question with Judge is how he is already 30 years old. Time makes little sense.
Austin Hays – 4-for-5, 3 2B, RBI, R
Hays posted his first career four-hit game in 223 games at the big-league level. Over his last four games, he has cracked a pair of home runs plus Thursday’s three doubles.
Carlos Correa – 3-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 1 R
The Twins’ big offseason acquisition coming in with a nice – and needed – game against the Tigers. Correa had gone 11 straight games without an extra-base hit before picking up a two-run double on Thursday.
Pitchers with an EDGE
Patrick Corbin – 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 8 K, 2 BB
Corbin took the loss against the Marlins to fall to 0-4 on the season, but this showing was at least respectable after he had given up a combined 15 runs over his previous three starts. He had walked nine in that space. Corbin has not pitched to an ERA lower than 4.50 since the 2019 season.
Trevor Rogers – 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 2 BB
Rogers was rocked by the Phillies for seven runs in just over an inning earlier this month, but in his past two starts he has given up a combined two runs (one earned) on six hits over 11 innings to go with an 8/4 K/BB in that space.
Zack Wheeler – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 4 BB
While this was the second time in four starts that Wheeler has walked three or more batters, he more than made up for the free passes by allowing just the one hit versus the Rockies on Thursday. Wheeler had been knocked for 11 runs on 15 hits over eight inning in his past two starts combined prior to coming in with the sharp (if wobbly-controlled) showing, here.
Justin Verlander – 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 0 BB
Vintage Verlander in a nice pitcher’s duel with Martin Perez (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB). In four starts this season, the veteran hurler has put up a 1.73 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 28/4 K/BB ratio over 26 innings. What reconstructive elbow surgery?
Brad Keller – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB
No win on the afternoon for Keller, as the Royals did not pull this out against the White Sox until they plated three runs in the 10th inning. This was Keller’s second start (out of four this season) in which he has pitched at least six innings while allowing one or fewer runs and three or fewer hits.
Alek Manoah – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 BB
Manoah compounded the Red Sox’ early-season woes with an absolute gem in the Blue Jays’ 1-0 win on Thursday. Manoah has now gone at least six innings in all four of his starts this spring, with two shutout performances to open the campaign.
Kyle Wright – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 4 BB
Over his last three starts (covering 18 innings), Wright has struck out 28 batters. He has allowed one or no runs in three of his four outings this season.
EDGE Priority Pickup – Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA, available in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Angels have had several non-Trout, non-Ohtani batters provide big contributions early this season. Still available in over half of Yahoo leagues, Marsh is off to a smoldering start to the season, slashing .340/.411/.532 with two homers and 15 RBI over 47 at-bats. Taylor Ward has already been highlighted as a priority pickup earlier this month, but if you missed out on your chance with Ward, here is a potential fresh opportunity to add a Halo off the wire.
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Taylor Rogers picked up save No. 7 in Thursday’s 7-5 win over the Reds. It wasn’t an entirely clean ninth, with Rogers surrendering a one-out single to Aramis Garcia just to add a little uncertainty into the mix, but the end result was a scoreless ninth. Something that is pretty familiar when it comes to Rogers this season. He has yet to allow a run across eight appearances.
Devin Williams struck out the side in the ninth to preserve Milwaukee’s 3-2 win over the Pirates. First save of the season for Williams, who has struck out at least one batter in every one of his 10 appearances. Great stuff, he just doesn’t know where it’s going sometimes. Josh Hader – off to a blistering start – is locked in for regular closing duties with the Brewers, but if Williams can start to show more consistent control, he’s going to continue to see high-stress late work moving forward.
Cole Sulser tossed 1 1/3 innings for the save (his first of the season) in Miami’s 3-2 win over the Nats on Thursday. He came in with two on and two outs in the eighth inning and Washington swinging hot, having just cut the lead to one run on an RBI double by Cesar Hernandez. Sulser struck out Josh Bell to end the threat, then proceeded to blank the Nationals in the ninth (albeit after issuing a leadoff walk to Nelson Cruz. Anthony Bender – who leads the team with four saves in five chances – had pitched in back-to-back contests, hence the opportunity for Sulser, here.
Griffin Jax emerged from a 7-1 final score with his first save of the season after finishing out the final three innings in the Twins' win over the Tigers. Jhoan Duran is your author’s preferred relieving option for long-term saves in Minnesota, though it could take him some time to officially take over the ninth-inning job.
If Jax basically went to the long extreme of a save pitching three innings, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Thompson went the short extreme, coming on to record just one out – a strikeout of Tom Murphy – for his second save of the campaign. Thompson has now gone five straight appearances without allowing a run.
Taylor Clarke came on in the bottom of the 10th with the Royals up 5-2 on the scoreboard. He struck out Josh Harrison and Jake Berger before inducing an AJ Pollock groundout to end the game. Clarke earned the save due in large part to circumstance, as Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont remain the top two relief options in the KC pen.
Jordan Romano came out for the ninth inning in a 1-0 game. While he did allow a Rafael Devers single with one out, he kept his cool despite the tying run on first, retiring Kike Hernandez and Jackie Bradley Jr. to pick up his ninth save of the season. Romano is 9-of-10 in save chances. He had a two-of-three stretch allowing runs, but has bounced back with consecutive scoreless outings in the interim.
Raisel Iglesias struck out one in a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season. He has not allowed a run since his second appearance of the season and now boasts a 1.04 ERA and 11/0 K/BB ratio in 8 2/3 innings. Don’t look now, but the Angels are 7-3 in their last 10 games and currently lead the AL West. Apparently if you try just a little, building around Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout can be done.
Friday’s Matchup of the Day
Syndergaard has pitched well – if not dominantly – this season, posting a 2.12 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 11/4 K/BB ratio in three starts (17 innings) while looking like a potentially successful rehabilitation project for the Halos. The White Sox have been playing middling ball on the way to a 7-11 record this season, with Giolito’s early injury absence not helping matters. Giolito is back, now, and coming off a nine-strikeout performance against the Twins over just four innings. He has yet to make it through five innings in either of his starts this season. If both Syndergaard and Giolito are in the zone, this could certainly end up a 3-2 or 2-1 kind of game.
AL Quick Hits: Austin Hedges went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, a rare bright spot in a tough season to date. … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (foot) is likely to return to the lineup Friday. … Jameson Taillon allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings vs. BAL. … Rougned Odor went 3-for-5 with two doubles. … Leury Garcia hit his first homer of the season. … Kyle Bradish will reportedly draw Friday’s start for the O’s against the Red Sox. … Spencer Torkelson is now in a 2-for-16 skid after going 0-for-4 on Thursday. … Corey Seager went yard with his second homer of the season. … Julio Rodriguez stole two more bases to give him eight to date. … Astros released Pedro Baez. … Steven Kwan remains out of action due to a groin injury. … Chris Sale (ribs) threw a seven-pitch bullpen session; baby steps are still steps. … J.D. Martinez re-aggravated the abductor injury which has been plaguing him this season. … Jose Altuve (hamstring) is expected off the injured list on Monday. … Mitch Haniger is still not at full health after going through COVID-19 protocol.
NL Quick Hits: Pavin Smith hit his first homer of the season. … Yadier Molina Steal Alert. … Dansby Swanson homered and stole a base. … Ronald Acuña Jr. stole two bases in his long-awaited 2022 debut. … Austin Riley smashed his fifth homer. … Wade Miley (elbow) threw a simulated game. … Diamondbacks released Oliver Perez. … Nolan Arenado was suspended two games for his part in a Wednesday fracas with the Mets. … One-game suspension for Genesis Cabrera. … Jordan Hicks (wrist) threw on Thursday. … Jack Flaherty (shoulder) threw from 240 feet. … Miguel Rojas has a jaw contusion after getting hit with a pitch. … Nelson Cruz has one hit in his last 20 at-bats as Father Time does its thing. … Kris Bryant continues to sit due to back soreness. … A bruised right thumb sent Wil Myers to the injured list. … Mike Moustakas has recovered from a mild right biceps strain.