Stating His Case
Blake Snell is making a very strong case that he deserves to win the American League Cy Young Award this season.
He delivered another magnificent performance on Sunday, striking out 11 batters over 6 ⅔ shutout innings in a victory over the Blue Jays. The left-hander scattered just three hits and a pair of walks in the contest.
Snell had entered play on Sunday as the only 20-game winner in all of baseball. With Sunday’s dazzling performance, he now sits at a mighty impressive 21-5. With his 21st victory, Snell also set a Rays’ franchise record for most victories in a season, topping the previous mark set by David Price in 2012.
He also owns the best ERA in the American League with a minuscule 1.90 mark, trailing only Jacob deGrom’s 1.77 for the best in either league.
He’s one of only six qualified pitchers to sport a sub-1.00 WHIP, with his 0.96 mark checking in as the fourth best in baseball, and trailing only Justin Verlander in the American League.
Snell has also recorded plenty of strikeouts. His 211 K’s rank 11th in all of baseball, trailing only Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Luis Severino in the American League.
What’s really remarkable though, is that the 25-year-old hurler continues to get better as the season progresses. In fact, he has been at his best over his last nine starts.
Over those nine outings, he’s a perfect 9-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 74/10 K/BB ratio across 52 ⅔ innings. According to STATS, only Johan Santana (2004) and Bob Gibson (1968) have matched or exceeded those numbers over any nine-start span.
Both Santana and Gibson were unanimous Cy Young Award winners those seasons. Snell should soon be joining that list.
Rays’ manager Kevin Cash echoed that sentiment after Sunday’s game, telling reporters, “"I think he's pretty much cemented his case that he belongs not just in the conversation, but right at the top of the list."
He has one more opportunity to bolster his resume, in a rematch against the Blue Jays at home on Friday.Should he win his 10th straight decision there, he’ll match Rick Porcello (2016) and Jake Arrieta (2015) for the most victories in any single season since 2011 where Justin Verlander won 24 games for the Tigers.
Down Goes Didi
Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone made a shocking announcement on Sunday, telling reporters that Didi Gregorius tore cartilage in his right wrist while sliding into home plate during Saturday’s playoff-clinching victory over the Orioles and that he could miss the remainder of the 2018 season.
Gregorius received a cortisone injection in his wrist on Sunday and remains hopeful that he’ll be able to participate in the postseason. He admitted that his right wrist got stuck underneath him while diving into home plate on a walk-off double by Aaron Hicks. He said that he didn’t feel any pain after Saturday’s game, but it was sore when he woke on Sunday which prompted the MRI.
Gregorius wants to take part in the Wild Card game and sounds like he’s going to do everything in his power to make it back in time for that. He explained Sunday, "We're going to take it day to day. We'll see how far it goes, but I have some movement in there. They say things like this happen to other players. Some of them have played through it. We're going to see how it goes. If it feels better, I'll be back in there so we can still make that playoff decision."
As he did the last time Gregorius was sidelined, Adeiny Hechavarria will see the bulk of the action at shortstop for the Yankees over the final week of the regular season.
Into the Home Stretch
With just one week of baseball remaining in the 2018 regular season, there are a few statistical battles that are already wrapped up and others that look like they’ll come down to the wire.
Barring an unforeseen power surge from J.D. Martinez, it looks as though Khris Davis will win his first ever home run title. He heads into the final week with a four-homer advantage over the Red Sox’ slugger.
Especially after his four-hit day on Sunday, it looks like Mookie Betts will be bringing home his first ever batting title. He’s hitting .343, with the nearest competitor, J.D. Martinez, hitting .329.
American League Quick Hits: Xander Bogaerts was lifted from Sunday night’s game against the Indians as a precautionary measure due to left shoulder soreness. He’s considered day-to-day… James Paxton (illness) will return to the Mariners’ rotation on Monday against the Athletics… Aaron Hicks sat out Sunday’s game with a sore ankle, but he’s expected to return to the Yankees’ lineup on Monday… George Springer was held out of the Astros’ lineup on Sunday due to leg and thumb injuries… Alex Cobb was removed from Sunday’s start against the Yankees after throwing just four pitches when the blister on his right index finger flared up again… Kevin Kiermaier is considered day-to-day after leaving Sunday's game against the Blue Jays with back and shoulder injuries.…Charlie Morton was forced to leave Sunday's start against the Angels after only one inning due to right shoulder discomfort. Astros manager A.J. Hinch called his departure precautionary and expects him to make another start this season… Andrelton Simmons left Sunday’s game with right knee soreness. He’s considered day-to-day and hopes to be in the lineup on Monday… Adalberto Mondesi slugged his 12th home run of the season as the Royals beat the Tigers… Brad Keller allowed just three hits over seven innings of one-run ball in a win against the Tigers… Tim Beckham recorded his first multi-homer game as a member of the Orioles in Sunday’s win over the Yankees… Joey Gallo blasted his 39th home run in a victory over the Mariners… Pressed into emergency duty after Charlie Morton was pulled due to injury after only one inning, Framber Valdez struck out nine over six innings of one-run ball in an impressive win over the Angels… Kyle Gibson fired 7 ⅓ innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Athletics…
National League Quick Hits: Kris Bryant was held out of the Cubs’ starting lineup on Sunday with left shoulder fatigue… Kolten Wong remained out of action on Sunday due to sore hamstrings, he’s considered day-to-day… Edgar Santana will undergo an MRI on his injured right elbow/forearm on Monday and isn’t expected to pitch again this season… Starling Marte was forced to leave Sunday’s game with tightness in his left calf… Chase Anderson will not make his scheduled start on Monday, the Brewers will skip him and go with a bullpen day instead… Steven Souza was lifted from Sunday’s game with a lower back spasm… Chad Wallach belted his first career home run, a three-run shot, powering the Marlins past the Reds… Trevor Richards struck out nine batters over seven shutout innings in a dominant victory over the Reds… Christian Yelich homered, drove in three runs and stole a base as the Brewers routed the Pirates… Miles Mikolas picked up his 17th victory of the season on Sunday, limiting the Giants to two runs (one earned) over seven innings… Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-2 with a homer and a pair of walks as the Cubs topped the White Sox… Matt Carpenter slugged his 36th home run as the Cardinals beat the Giants… Trea Turner swiped his major league-leading 42nd base and scored his 100th run in a loss to the Mets...Victor Robles homered and drove in three runs in that loss. ... Jeff McNeil went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base in a win over the Nationals. He’s now hitting .340/.398/.495 across 221 plate appearances in his impressive rookie campaign… Hyun-Jin Ryu punched out eight over six shutout innings as the Dodgers crushed the Padres… Manny Machado clubbed his 37th home run in that win… On his 34th birthday, Matt Kemp went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and three RBI in a rout of the Padres… Kyle Freeland earned his 16th victory, striking out six over seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks…