I just started a new job this week, so I may not be writing the Roundup every day until I settle into a routine, as it appears I will be working some overtime in this job, so there might be times where I go a few days without writing.
Max Scherzer strikes out 20
Coming into Wednesday's start, Nationals starter Max Scherzer had given up three runs or more in half of his eight starts this season, including his last start where he got bombed for 7 runs in 5 innings, including 4 home runs. He bounced back in a big way last night, thoroughly dominating the Tigers lineup, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, no walks and 20 strikeouts in the Nationals 3-1 win. The only runs the Tigers scored were on home runs from shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder J.D. Martinez.
The win moved Scherzer's record to 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 1.17 WHIP and a 66-15 strikeout to walk rate in 52 innings. After giving up 27 home runs in 228+ innings last season, Scherzer has already given up 10 home runs in his 52 innings of work this season. I don't see him giving up two home runs per game like he is now, but fastball pitchers do give up the long ball. Just ask Nolan Ryan.
In striking out 20 hitters, Scherzer induced a major league 33 swinging strikes and only four balls left the infield.
After striking out zero batters in his last start, Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen had his best start of the season last night. Chen dominated the Brewers lineup, giving up just two runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and struck out 12 in 6.1 innings in the Marlins 3-2 win. The win moved his record to 3-1 with a 4.40 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 1.28 WHIP and a 36-9 strikeout to walk rate in 43 innings. The move to Marlins Park has been a positive one for Chen, who has seen his strikeout rate improve from 7.20 K/9 in 2015 to 7.53 K/9 this season. His walk rate is down slightly and his ground ball rate is up, and he is pitching better than his ERA indicates, so expect better days ahead for Chen.
Rangers outfielder Ian Desmond is starting to see better days at the plate recently, as he is riding a seven game hitting streak after going 2-4 with a walk, 2 runs scored. 2 RBI and a stolen base in the Rangers 6-5 win over the White Sox. Desmond has seen his average rise from .224 to .260 in his seven game hitting streak and has hit 4 home runs, scored 27 runs and stolen 6 bases in 7 attempts thus far. He is on pace to hit 19 home runs and steal 28 bases, so he may put up a 20-20 season for the fourth time in five seasons.
What the heck is going on with Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward? Heyward signed a huge contract in the offseason and may be feeling the pressure to outperform expectations as a result, but he has struggled in the first six weeks of the season. Yesterday, he went 1-4 in the first game of their double header with the Padres, and is 1-2 in the second game as I write this. He is now hitting just .217-.318-,261 with ZERO home runs, 16 runs scored, 13 RBI, 4 stolen bases and a 26-16 strikeout to walk rate. As one of my Twitter followers asked, why is Joe Maddon still writing his name in in the second slot in their lineup? I imagine if he was any other player, he would either be sitting the bench or hitting much lower in the lineup.
After a slow start to the season, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has caught fire over the last 2-3 weeks. Last night, he went 3-4 with a home run and 2 runs scored in the Braves 5-1 win over the Phillies. He has now homered in two straight games and four times in his last ten games. He is now hitting .289-.391-.500 with 6 home runs, 14 runs scored and 10 RBI. The runs scored and RBI totals are low as the bottom half of the Braves lineup is pitiful. That should change come midseason as I expect them to call up a trio of hitting prospects including Dansby Swanson, who is raking in Double A right now, Ozhaino Albies, who has gotten hot after a slow start upon his promotion to Triple A, and Triple A third baseman Rio Ruiz. Braves fans should get a taste of what their future holds for them come August once these prospects get the call.
One starter who has been a huge surprise this season and probably wasn't even drafted in most mixed leagues is Padres starter Drew Pomeranz. Last night, facing the best lineup in baseball, Pomeranz was dealing, shutting out the Cubs on 3 hits, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts in 6 innings of work. He left with the Padres leading 1-0. Should the Padres hold onto the lead, the win would be his fourth of the season, along with a 1.80 ERA.1.08 WHIP and a 51-19 strikeout to walk rate in 40 innings of work. He has struck out ten batters in two of his eight starts this season and is owned in just 48% of leagues right now. He is a must add right now.
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