It’s a Thursday, and that means a smaller schedule. There are just eight games on the docket, with nearly half the league having the day off.
Keep it here throughout the night for the latest and greatest from the night in baseball.
Select games can be streamed regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, .
Baseball schedule/scores for Thursday, August 8
Urshela stays ridiculously hot
Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela came into Thursday’s game in Toronto having hit three homers in his last two games. Very quickly, he kept the good times rolling:
And then in the third inning:
So, yeah, that’s five homers in the past three games and four in the past two. With that second blast, Urshela becomes the first Yankee to register back-to-back multi-homer games since Aaron Judge in 2017. There’s also this:
The 27-year-old Urshela came into this season with a career slash line of .225/.274/.315 and eight home runs in 167 games. Through the third inning on Thursday night, Urshela this season owns a slash line of .323/.367/.570 with 16 home runs in 94 games. Given the absurd number of injuries the Yankees have endured this season, Urshela has been uncommonly valuable thanks to his top-tier production while clocking more than 700 defensive innings at third base. It’s no exaggeration to say he’s in line for some AL MVP support should he keep this up.
Speaking of keeping this up, we keep waiting for Urshela to regress, but it’s getting late out there. In related matters, his expected batting average of .312 ranks in the top 2.0 percent of the league, and his expected slugging percentage of .520 ranks in the top 9.0 percent of the league. Throw in his increased exit velocity and hard-hit rate, and, hey, maybe he’s just learned to hit.
Urshela’s Yankees, meantime, have now won nine straight.
Indians pull closer to Twins
Jose Ramirez continued his hot second half as he tallied two hits and three RBI in the series-opening win over the Twins in Minnesota. Mike Clevinger allowed two runs in seven innings of work while striking out nine and walking one. He now boasts an ERA of 3.02 for the season.
The Indians’ win means they’re now just one game back of the Twins in the AL Central while also having a solid grip on the top wild-card spot in the AL. It’s a stunning turn of events in the division. As recently as June 3, the Twins had an 11.5-game lead in the division. Since June 4, though, the Indians are an MLB-best 40-16. Coming into Thursday’s game, the SportsLine Projection Model favored the Twins, giving them a 58.1 percent chance of winning the division. Those margins, however, are getting tighter by the day.
The Indians are now 5-5 against the Twins this season.
Sale dominates Halos
Coming off a disaster start against the Yankees, Chris Sale twirled an absolute gem against the Angels:
Sale’s ERA for the season now stands at 4.41, which speaks to the up-and-down nature of his 2019 season thus far. With those 13 Ks, Sale has reached 200 strikeouts for a seventh straight season. Sale in this one threw his fastest pitch of the season (a 98.4 mph fastball to Albert Pujols). And then there’s this:
Maybe Sale has figured something given his excellence and velocity jump during this start? Or maybe this season will remain a befuddling one for the ace lefty.
Castellanos keeps delivering for Cubs
Nick Castellanos was the Cubs’ signature addition leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, and the former Tiger has rewarded their efforts thus far. Coming into Thursday’s slate, Castellanos was batting .379/.400/.690 with six doubles in seven games (!) since the trade. No, Castellanos isn’t going to continue raking like that, but he can hit (118 OPS+ since the start of the 2016 season). As well, it’s possible the trade out of hopeless Detroit to a certifiable contender has renewed his focus and sense of purpose.
Speaking of all that, Nicky Two-Bags broke character in a very productive way against the Reds on Thursday:
He’d homer again later in the game, which gives him 13 overall this season to go with 43 doubles. He’s looking like a key stretch-drive bat for the NL Central leaders thus far. Speaking of which:
Also in this one, Javier Baez, facing a position player on the mound,.
Bichette makes history
The Yankees and Blue Jays slugged it out in Toronto on Thursday night, and Jays rookie shortstop Bo Bichette once again brought the lumber.
Bichette homered in the fifth, and then in the sixth he made some history with dad Dante looking on:
Indeed, Bichette has now doubled in an MLB-record nine straight games. Perhaps more impressive is that Bichette’s home run in the fifth gave him 12 extra-base hits in his first 11 games. That was a record, which Bichette obviously extended to 13 extra-base hits in his first 11 games.
Overall, the 21-year-old is now batting .417/.462/.854 through the first 52 plate appearances of his career. That’s obviously unsustainable, but Bichette in some quarters is regarded as a top-10 overall prospect. So he’s got a tremendously high ceiling. Thus far, he’s done nothing but demolish those already lofty expectations.
Highlight of the day: Calhoun goes and gets it
Kole Calhoun is a pretty big dude with plenty of pop in his bat, but his power hitter’s profile doesn’t prevent him from going and getting the ball on occasion. Check out this snare in Fenway at the expense of Xander Bogaerts on Thursday night:
Per Statcast, that one had a catch probability of just 35 percent. The highlight makes it look even better than that, though. Way to lay out for it, big guy.