The last time the Pirates and Cubs took the field at PNC Park, Chicago beat up on Pittsburgh’s ace and stifled the Bucs’ bats en route to a National League Wild Card Game victory. The circumstances may have been different, but the script was largely the same in the Cubs’ 7-2 win on Monday night.
Sending 11 men to the plate in a six-run, six-hit bottom of the third inning, the Reds got the best of their former ace Johnny Cueto. But the Giants beat up a vulnerable bullpen for five runs in the top of the seventh to get the 9-6 win Monday at Great American Ball Park.
Manny Machado’s hot start has earned the Orioles third baseman American League Player of the Month honors for April.
Four weeks into the regular season, there are a dozen Major League teams with a winning record. None of them are in the National League West.
Tim Lincecum will hold a long-awaited throwing showcase for scouts on Friday in Scottsdale, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links). As many as 20 teams are expected to attend, including representatives from the Orioles, Padres and the Giants, Lincecum’s former team. As of February, a return to the Giants was still Lincecum’s preference, as the right-hander told at least one person while visiting his old teammates during Spring Training, CSNBayArea.com’s Alex Pavlovic reports. The Giants have long said that they would be interested in a reunion with Lincecum if “the Freak” was willing to take on a bullpen role, and Pavlovic reports that this relief-only stance hasn’t necessarily changed even though the club’s rotation has had some early struggles. Lincecum, for his part, wants to return as a starter and has been working out all winter in order to rebuild his durability and velocity following hip surgery that shortened his 2015 season. He reportedly wanted to be in top form before officially throwing for scouts, which is why the showcase (rumored to be imminent for four months) is only taking place this week. There is no small amount of mystery surrounding Lincecum’s condition as scouts have been kept away from his workouts, though recent reports have him throwing 70 pitches on an every-five-days basis and throwing in the 90 mph range off of flat ground. If Lincecum looks good in his showcase, he would likely be able to find a starting job with one of the many interested teams, though it might be on a minor league contract given his health history
Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado picked a clutch moment Sunday to give himself the Major League home run lead.
The no-trade protection in Ryan Braun’s contract allows the star outfielder to block a deal to every team besides the Angels, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins and Padres, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Like most players with partial no-trade clauses, Braun has the ability to change the teams on his no-trade list each year; last season, the Angels, Dodgers, Marlins, Nationals and Rays were the only clubs that escaped Braun’s veto power. Braun is in his first season of a five-year, $105MM extension that he signed way back in 2011, when he still had almost five full years remaining on his previous extension with the Brewers. It’s been a roller-coaster for Braun and the Brewers ever since — superstar seasons in 2011 and 2012, a 65-game suspension in 2013 for his role in the Biogenesis scandal and some recurring injuries, particularly to his thumb. Braun rebounded for a very productive year in 2015, though his future salary commitments have made him a possible trade chip now that the Brewers are rebuilding.
Scuffling throughout the second half of April, and in particular on the road, the Giants made sure not to leave Flushing without a parting gift. Madison Bumgarner outpitched Noah Syndergaard on Sunday, Hunter Pence clubbed a two-run homer and the Giants snapped the Mets’ eight-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory of their own at Citi Field.
Josh Hamilton, trying to battle back from left knee problems that kept him out of Spring Training, went 0-for-2 Saturday night but reached on an error in his second at-bat; he was soon doubled off at second but aggravated his knee at some point during his jaunt halfway around the diamond.
Right-hander Tim Adleman will start Sunday for the Reds against the Pirates in place of Raisel Iglesias, who was placed on the disabled list with an impingement in his right shoulder.