Jacob deGrom on a Roll:
With the injuries to teammates Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom had to raise his game to another level, and he did just that. After a not so great first start in June, giving up eight runs in four innings of work against the Texas Rangers, DeGrom went into shutdown mode; four consecutive starts of at least seven innings, and only three earned runs total.
DeGrom’s 12 strikeout performance against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 30th was his third start with 12 or more punch outs this season, tying him with Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale for the most in baseball.
Freddie Freeman Coming Back at 3rd Base:
All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman is on his way back from a broken wrist he suffered back in May, but at a different position. Freeman is currently on a rehab assignment, and is reportedly expected back for the Braves series against the Washington Nationals. Freeman hasn’t played third base since high school, and a short stint at the hot corner in Class-A ball.
The move is being done to keep Matt Adams’ bat in the lineup, and with no DH, the Braves had to make a decision. Obviously, they wouldn’t do this if they didn’t feel that Freeman couldn’t actually play the position, and Adams is a complete liability in left field. Since coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals, Adams is hitting .294 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI’s. This is enough production to earn an everyday spot in the lineup, but if Freeman can’t get it done at third, don’t be surprised if the Braves try to flip Adams for a dime after getting him for a nickel.
Trea Turner out with Broken Wrist:
The Washington Nationals lead over the aforementioned Braves is shrinking. It’s down to seven and a half games, and things aren’t getting better in the Nation’s Capital. Shortstop Trea Turner broke his wrist on Thursday, and is out indefinitely.
The Nats are going to survive offensively. Turner’s 35 stolen bases lead the MLB, and he was on pace to steal 72. Their lineup has three other All-Stars, and Stephen Drew is a veteran who is capable of being a serviceable short stop in Turner’s absence.
In the grand scheme of things this isn’t the organization’s biggest worry. Their bullpen is still atrocious, and they’ll be looking to upgrade there instead of at short stop when the deadline comes around at the end of the month.
Detroit Tigers Need to Deal:
The Detroit Tigers are 36-44, and seven games back in the American League Central. They need to sell at the deadline, but there’s just one big problem. They’re paying guys too much money. They have the fourth highest payroll in all of baseball, and with guys like Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton all making a substantial amount of money while aging, it’s hard to move these guys.
Upton has an opt-out after this season, but he’s still owed about $22-million. After this season, Cabrera is owed $30-million throughout the final eight years of his deal with no opt-out. Nobody wants to pay a 34-year-old Justin Verlander $28-million, even if Detroit were to send cash with Verlander.
Now guys like J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler, who has an option after this season, could be dealt, and they’d be the most likely candidates. Martinez is a unrestricted free agent after this season though so he’d only be a rental. The Tigers need to figure something out, because their farm system is seriously lacking talent. It’ll be interesting to see what the Tigers decide to do at the end of the month.