1. Pitchers get their revenge, for one day at least. In a season that has seen run scoring increase to its highest level since 2009 and home runs to the second-highest per-game level in history, Sunday marked a rare slate of low-scoring games. Jacob deGrom pitched a dominant one-hit, 105-pitch shutout in the Mets’ 5-0 win over the Phillies, the Reds and Braves won 1-0 games over the Brewers and Rockies, the Pirates and Nationals played 18 innings before the Pirates finally won 2-1, and five other teams were held to one run. Edwin Jackson, making his first start for the Padres, even took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Giants. A couple highlights:
The only hit deGrom allowed was to opposing starter Zach Eflin, meaning deGrom was just the third pitcher in the past decade to throw a one-hit complete game in which the only hit was to a pitcher, joining Matt Cain (2012) and R.A. Dickey (2010).
Cole Hamels pitched a no-hitter at Wrigley Field last year; this time, he settled for allowing four hits and only an unearned run in eight innings (and also fanned the first six batters of the game). He threw his fastball a season-high 57 percent of the time — especially in the upper half of the zone, with the Cubs going 1-for-10 in at-bats ending in such fastballs. He also registered a season-high four strikeouts with his curveball.
Dan Straily tossed seven scoreless innings for the Reds, lowering his ERA to 4.07. Straily has allowed just 82 hits in 108.1 innings, looking more like the pitcher who started a playoff game for the A’s as a rookie in 2013. He could be a guy who is moved at the trade deadline.
Collin McHugh walked four in six innings, but also struck out 10 and allowed no runs as he had his second-highest average fastball velocity of the season (91.5 mph). After a rocky start, McHugh has a 2.41 over his past six starts.
2. Mark Melancon is not a popular guy on the Pirates’ plane ride tonight. Daniel Murphy hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning off Melancon … and then the Pirates and Nationals played nine more innings before Starling Marte homered off Oliver Perez. Andrew McCutchen had the longest day in going 0-for-8, the Nationals completed a beautiful 8-6-2 relay to nail Erik Kratz at the plate in the 16th inning and the teams combined to use 15 relievers and throw 541 pitches. The Pirates also avoided a sweep that would have knocked them back to .500.
“Too many innings, we were tired, it was time for a home run,” Starling Marte said.
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 18, 2016
Starling Marte’s HR was hit 111.1 MPH. 2nd hardest hit ball of the year for him. Hardest HR of the year. #Crushed
— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 17, 2016
3. Jonathan Lucroy trade rumors will heat up even more. Indians catcher Yan Gomes left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and said after the game that he fears he has a separated shoulder. Considering Gomes’ complete ineffectiveness at the plate this year — .165/.198/.313 — there already were rumors the Indians would be interested in the Brewers catcher. With Indians backup Chris Gimenez hitting .188, Lucroy would obviously be a great fit. Terry Francona loves Gomes’ ability to handle a pitching staff, but the Indians are essentially punting a lineup spot right now. Lucroy is a smart guy who would adapt easily enough to catching the best rotation in the American League. (Oh, underrated Josh Tomlin improved to 10-2 with a 3.34 ERA in beating the Twins on Sunday.)
Ending the weekend with some flair. 🙌https://t.co/l0vcsMHJNO
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 17, 2016
5. Dylan Bundy makes first major league start. With the Orioles scuffling to fill the back of their rotation, they finally gave Bundy, the one-time prized prospect who has worked out of the bullpen so far, his first start.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go well: He gave up three home runs and three walks in 3⅓ innings as the Rays beat the Orioles 5-2. Bundy had a 3.08 ERA in relief, but had also been hittable with 46 hits allowed in 38 innings. Still, I’d like to see the Orioles give him another shot. He’d pitched very well in June and early July, including back-to-back stints of three scoreless innings. He can’t be any worse than Ubaldo Jimenez, that’s for sure.