There is a lot to talk about today, as Rangers starter Yu Darvish came within one out of a no-hitter, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez had one of his worst outings of his young career, and Brandon Belt will miss the next six weeks due to a broken thumb.
With the injury to second baseman Donnie Murphy on Wednesday night, the Rangers called up second base prospect Rougned Odor from AA. Odor was the #42 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America coming into the season, and was hitting .279-.314-.450 with six home runs, 21 runs, 17 RBI and six stolen bases in 138 plate appearances.
It appears Odor will hold down the second base job until Jurickson Profar is ready to return from the disabled list. Profar was recently given the permission to begin playing in extended spring training games in Arizona. If that goes well, he will move on to rehab assignment with one, or several, of the Rangers minor league affiliates before returning to the big league club.
Odor should be picked up in all AL only and deep mixed leagues as he should get plenty of at bats till Profar returns. He should help owners in the batting average, runs scored and stolen base categories.
For more on the call up of Odor, check out Lone Star Ball, SB Nation's Rangers fan site.
Yu Darvish nearly tosses a no-no
Rangers ace Yu Darvish was ranked as the #2 starting pitcher in most starting pitcher rankings in the preseason, and is rewarding owners who took him early in drafts with another spectacular start to the season. Last night, Darvish came within one out of pitching a no-hitter vs the Red Sox in the Rangers 8-0 win. Darvish left the game after giving up a two out single to Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz in the ninth inning. He gave up just the one hit, two walks and 12 strikeouts.
The 12 strikeouts were a season high, but Darvish needed 126 pitches to nearly complete the no-hitter, so I wonder if manager Ron Washington will elect to give him an extra day of rest before his next start, or watch his pitch counts over his next few starts. Darvish moved his record to 3-1 with a 2.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a 54-12 strikeout to walk rate in 46.1 innings.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was having a solid power break out this season, but he will now miss the next six weeks due to a broken left thumb after getting hit by a Paul Maholm pitch last night. He stayed in the game after getting hit, but later was removed with discomfort. X-rays showed the thumb was broken, and now the surging Giants will be without their starting first baseman for the next month and a half. It's ashame, as I was high on Belt coming into the season, and saw him building on the improvements he made at the plate in 2013.
Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko probably would have won the National League Rookie of the Year award with the power he had on display in 2013. But, he was up against Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, Shelby Miller and a few others last season and ended up sixth in the voting. Last night, Gyorko got to face the eventual winner of the NL ROY award last season, Jose Fernandez, and he showed off his power once again, by going 3-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and six RBI in the Padres 10-0 win over the Marlins. Despite the big night at the plate, Gyorko is struggling to repeat his 2013 performance, as he is hitting just .165-.217-.307 with five home runs, 10 runs scored, 18 RBI and 36 strikeouts in 127 at bats. He appears to be the younger version of Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. If I owned him, I would consider dealing him.
Gyorko had a big night off of one of the best pitchers in the game, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, which was a surprise since the Padres had struggled to score runs all year, and this appeared to be a very nice match up for him. Fernandez was lit up for six runs, five earned, on six hits, including the two home runs off the bat of Gyorko, one walk and five strikeouts. The loss moved his record to 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA, 2.13 FIP, 2.17 xFIP and an elite 70-13 strikeout to walk rate in 51.2 innings.
Where would the White Sox be without first baseman Jose Abreu this season? With Abreu, they are over .500 after last night's win over the Diamondbacks. And, once again, Abreu had another big night at the plate, going 3-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. On the season, Abreu is hitting .279-.333-.633 with 13 home runs, 11 doubles, 26 runs scored, 37 RBI, and a 38-10 strikeout to walk rate in 147 at bats. His strikeout rate sits at 23.5%, which is expected from a power hitter, and nothing to worry about unless it starts creeping up as the season goes along.
Don't look now but Twins starter Phil Hughes might be rosterable now. Last night, Hughes out-dueled Tigers ace Justin Verlander, shutting out the Twins on eight hits, no walks and three strikeouts in the Twins 2-1 win. Hughes moved his record to 4-1 with a 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and a respectable 32-6 strikeout to walk rate in 41.1 innings this season. He has given up three runs or less in each of his last four starts, going at least six innings in those starts. His 3.30 FIP indicates he has pitched better than his ERA indicates, so he could be in the midst of a mini-breakout this season.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi gave us a glimpse of his potential last night, as he dominated the Indians for five innings, but did not figure in the decision. Odorizzi shut out the Indians for five innings, giving up five hits, walking two and striking out a season-high 11 batters. Like many young starters, Odorizzi has struggled in his first full season in the rotation, as he is 1-3 in his seven starts, with a 5.79 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, a 1.74 WHIP and a 37-16 strikeout to walk rate in 32.2 innings. He needs to work on his command, but the strikeouts are a pleasant surprise thus far.
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