The first day of August brings with it a lot of old faces in new places. Some of the storylines worth watching from a truncated schedule include Danny Salazar making his season debut in Cleveland, the Rays looking to sweep the Red Sox, and the Cubs and Cardinals wrapping up their series, with the winner taking first place.
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Baseball scores for Thursday, August 1
Mets win seventh in a row
A day after the Mets elected to stand pat rather than trade off Noah Syndergaard, Edwin Diaz, or Zack Wheeler, the last of those three rewarded them with a strong effort en route to the team’s seventh consecutive victory.
Wheeler threw seven shutout innings, fanning seven and permitting just four hits and no walks against the White Sox. He generated 18 swinging strikes on 88 pitches, including five on each his slider and his changeup. He also coerced seven whiffs on his fastballs.
Offensively, the Mets were led by Robinson Cano, who broke out of a slump with a two-hit day: a home run and a double that drove in two of New York’s four runs.
The Mets are now 53-55 and four games back in the hunt for a wild-card spot.
A’s beat Hader again
For the third time in the last four games, the Brewers lost Thursday. And for the second time in those four games, stud reliever Josh Hader took the loss. Tuesday night Hader gave up a walk-off home run to Matt Olson. On Thursday, he surrendered a go-ahead two-run home run to Matt Chapman in the eighth inning.
Hader has allowed five home runs in his last 11 1/3 innings and he’s allowed 11 homers in 52 1/3 innings this season. That’s after allowing nine homers in 81 1/3 innings last year. To be fair to Hader, everyone is giving up more homers this year. As a late-inning reliever though, it hurts more when he can’t keep the ball in the park.
Thursday was Hader’s third straight day on the mound — he threw only eight pitches Tuesday and 10 pitches Wednesday — something he’d never done in his career. Even with the relatively low pitch counts (he threw 16 pitches Thursday), chances are Hader won’t be available Friday and maybe not Saturday either. That’s a problem with the Brewers going to Wrigley Field.
As for the Athletics, they’ve won four of their last five games to climb into a tie with the Rays for the second wild-card spot. Trade deadline pickup Homer Bailey held Milwaukee to just two runs in six workmanlike innings Thursday.
Salazar grinds through 2019 debut
For the first time since Game 4 of the 2017 ALDS, Indians righty Danny Salazar toed the slab in a big league game Thursday night. Shoulder surgery cost him all of last season and the first four months of this season.
Because baseball is cruel, Salazar’s third MLB pitch in nearly two years was hit out of the park. George Springer tagged him for a leadoff homer. Salazar had to grind through his start and finished his night having allowed two solo homers in four innings while on a pitch limit. He looked more like a crafty veteran than the flamethrower we last saw in 2017.
Salazar’s velocity was down noticeably Thursday. His fastball averaged 95.3 mph in 2017. On Thursday, it averaged 87.0 mph and he did not throw a pitch harder than 88.3 mph. Salazar could regain velocity as he builds arm strength and gets further away from surgery, though his days of sitting mid-90s may be over.
The Indians traded Trevor Bauer earlier this week and both Corey Kluber (forearm) and Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) remain on the injured list. Salazar may not be a true impact pitcher so soon after surgery, but he’s healthy and he adds depth, and that’s good enough for an Indians team still in the AL Central race.
Dyson costs Twins in debut
You have to feel a little bad for Sam Dyson. On Wednesday, Dyson was traded to the Twins as part of their deadline rush to upgrade the bullpen. On Thursday, in his first appearance with his new team, he issued two walks and allowed two hits and three runs to score without recording an out.
The Twins had a 4-1 lead over the Marlins when Dyson entered. They were up one when Dyson left, with Taylor Rogers then permitting the tying run to score. The Twins would later lose by a 5-4 score in 12 innings on a Harold Ramirez walk-off homer.
“Didn’t execute, didn’t get the job done,” Dyson told reporters, including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, following the game. “These guys went after it and played their asses off. We had the lead. I didn’t do my job as part of the team. That’s a bad first impression. Hopefully there’s no more of those.”
On the bright side, things can’t get much worse for Dyson. Rather, they’re likely to get better — he had a 2.47 ERA with the Giants for a reason.