Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon wrapped up a special April on Wednesday evening in his hometown of Houston, Texas, going 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, two runs scored, and three RBI as Washington moved to 16-12 on the young season with an easy 7-0 victory against the host Astros.
Rendon is now batting .316/.352/.544 with four homers, 10 doubles, 19 runs scored, and 20 RBI through 28 games played in 2014, and this isn’t a case where regression seems imminent. The former No. 6 overall draft pick is an exceptionally well-rounded offensive weapon -- three of his four hits on Wednesday went the opposite way -- and he has a comfort level in the batter’s box right now that should be frightening to pitchers around the National League.
The issue with Rendon in the past has been health -- he played only 79 total games in the minors -- but most of his injuries were of the freak-accident variety and he has looked downright spry since the beginning of spring training.
Rendon’s average draft position (ADP) this year in Yahoo leagues was 250.6. He was being selected after guys like Rickie Weeks, Josh Rutledge, and DJ LeMahieu. That’s going to look really silly by season’s end. Actually, it looks silly already.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw looked sharp in his second minor league rehab start Wednesday night with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, striking out nine batters while allowing just one earned run (two total) in five innings against the Southern League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. He made it to 56 pitches last Friday in his rehab debut at High-A Rancho Cucamonga and tossed 86 pitches on Wednesday at Chattanooga, so the Dodgers can feel good about letting him get near 100 pitches his next time out.
That next time out will likely be Monday in Washington, D.C. against the Nationals, assuming Kershaw wakes up Thursday pain-free.
The left-hander has been on the disabled list since March 29 with a teres major muscle strain. The one start he has made this season in the major leagues was on March 23 against the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia. Kershaw fanned seven batters and surrendered just one run over 6 2/3 innings in that game, helping the Dodgers to a 3-1 win.
The 26-year-old signed a $215 million contract extension with Los Angeles in January.
Chavez Dazzles Again
The A’s got another outstanding performance from reliever-turned-starter Jesse Chavez on Wednesday night in Arlington, Texas. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed just one hit and one walk while racking up eight strikeouts over seven scoreless frames, helping Oakland blow out the rival Rangers for a 12-1 win.
Chavez is now 2-0 on the season with a 1.89 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 41/8 K/BB ratio in six starts (38 frames). But it’s probably time to sell high in fantasy leagues. Chavez entered 2014 with a 5.48 ERA career ERA and 1.466 career WHIP in 234 2/3 major league innings -- a fairly significant sample size. He doesn’t have great raw stuff, and durability is going to become a factor eventually. Chavez has never thrown more than 67 1/3 innings in a single season.
National League Quick Hits: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (face) is 7-10 days away from being activated … Aaron Harang had his first poor start of the season on Wednesday, yielding nine runs in 4 2/3 innings to the lowly Marlins … Allen Craig went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a homer, and three RBI in the Cardinals’ win over the Brewers on Wednesday … Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario (hand) was able to take live batting practice Wednesday … Danny Espinosa collected his third homer and third steal Wednesday versus the Astros … The Dodgers will start 26-year-old right-hander Red Patterson in the second half of Thursday’s doubleheader with the Twins … Matt Garza made an early exit from his start Wednesday against the Cardinals with a bruised thumb but expects to take his next turn in the Brewers’ rotation … Gavin Floyd (elbow) will join the Braves in some capacity this weekend … Ryan Braun remains day-to-day with an oblique strain … Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo homered and drew four walks Wednesday against the Reds ... Darin Ruf (shoulder) is on track to begin a rehab assignment this weekend … Aramis Ramirez (elbow) is aiming to return to the Brewers’ starting lineup on Thursday … The Dodgers called up veteran catcher Miguel Olivo on Wednesday … Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche is day-to-day with a sore quad … Jhoulys Chacin (shoulder) is expected to make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Mets … Nathan Eovaldi threw seven innings of one-run ball in the Marlins’ defeat of the Braves on Wednesday … Tim Hudson struck out six over 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball Wednesday versus the Padres.
American League Quick Hits: Angels outfielder Mike Trout went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double on Wednesday against the Indians, finishing April with a .321/.403/.596 batting line … Max Scherzer threw six scoreless innings against the White Sox on Wednesday, lowering his season ERA to 2.08 ... A’s starter A.J. Griffin underwent Tommy John elbow surgery, as scheduled, on Wednesday afternoon … Yordano Ventura tossed five scoreless innings Wednesday in the Royals’ win over the Blue Jays … Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis remains day-to-day with a right abdominal strain … White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie (hand) is expected to return from the disabled list next week … Jesse Crain (biceps) resumed throwing on flat ground earlier this week … Tigers pitching prospect Robbie Ray is set to make his major league debut on May 6 against the Astros … Alex Cobb threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since suffering a severe left oblique strain … Melky Cabrera is day-to-day with a bruised shin … Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick stole two bases in Wednesday’s defeat of the Indians … Yoenis Cespedes had two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored in the A’s blowout win over the Rangers on Wednesday … Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain (groin) is on track to begin a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Omaha.