Baseball mourns the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died Monday at the age of 27. Police discovered Skaggs’ body in his hotel room just hours prior to the scheduled start of his team’s series against the Rangers in Arlington. Neither foul play nor suicide is suspected. A number of MLB players are grieving the loss of Skaggs, who was a beloved teammate and clubhouse presence and also spent time with the Diamondbacks. 

While the scheduled Angels-Rangers game was postponed following news of Skaggs’ death, the remaining five games on MLB schedule proceeded as planned. Updates can be found below. 

Baseball schedule/scores for Monday, July 1

Brewers move into sole possession of first in NL Central

The muddled and somewhat mediocre NL Central underwent a small shift on Monday night as the Brewers moved into first place by a single game over the Cubs. 

In the win in Cincy, the Brewers put five runs up against the Reds’ bullpen. Of particular note was Christian Yelich’s 30th home run of the season (reminder: it’s July 1): 

Yelich continues to defy those who expected him to regress in 2019. Thus far, he has been more productive than he was in his MVP season of 2018. 

Also making noise was rookie second baseman Keston Hiura. Hiura was recalled from the minors not long ago to replace the struggling Travis Shaw, who was optioned. Here’s Hiura cracking his sixth home run of the season: 

With that blast, Hiura is now batting .282/.333/.526 in 84 plate appearances. While the three walks vs. 28 strikeouts raise some concerns, Hiura backs up that production with glowing scouting reports and a strong minor-league track record. Right now, the Brewers are a better team with him in the lineup. 

Moving forward, the SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) still leans Cubs in the NL Central, but the race is looking like a close one. At this juncture, no team in the NL Central is out of it, which could make for a pretty compelling second half of the season in the Midwest. 

Bell homers three times against Cubs

As you see above, the Pirates ritually abused the visiting Cubs on Monday night. All-Star and Home Run Derby participant Josh Bell had much to do with that margin as he homered thrice and drove in seven runs. Here’s a look at his third bomb of the night, which came off Craig Kimbrel: 

Bell’s now slashing .308/.381/.654 in 2019 with 25 home runs, which is only one shy of his career high. There’s also this: 

Good company, that. As for the Pirates’ infield as a whole, it was walking with the gods on Monday night at PNC: 

Bell is also just the the fourth PIrate ever to his at least three homers, four hits, and seven RBI in a game. In matters related, he’s in the NL MVP discussion at the midpoint. 

Quick hits