There is a famous saying out there that claims "good things come in threes". And over the course of the last four days in the majors, fans and players a like have got to witness some historic accomplishments. I already touched on Albert Pujols hitting his 600th home run and Edinson Volquez tossing a no-hitter on the day of his best friend's birthday. But the latest and perhaps craziest accomplishment of them all came at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, where 27-year-old Scooter Gennett became just the 17th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in one game. He is the first player to do so since Josh Hamilton did it in 2012 with the Texas Rangers. Other Notable members of this elusive club include Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Willie Mayes, to name a few. What makes this feat even more shocking is the fact that heading into the game, Gennett was mired in a 1-for-20 slump over his last handful of games. By going 5-5 on Tuesday, he was able to raise his batting average by a whopping 32 points to .302.
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Gennett doesn't exactly look like he has much pop in his bat. However, despite standing just 5-foot-10 and weighing in at 185 pounds, Gennett can now stake his claim to being the only MLB player in history to get five hits, four home runs and 10 RBIs in one game. He now also holds the Reds' record for total bases in a game with 17. Gennett claimed he had over 270 texts after the game, and rightfully so - he deserved every bit of congratulations because an accomplishment like that doesn't happen often. Side note: Gennett finished 1-4 last night with a single, a strikeout and two double plays.
Thursday's MLB slate features a good mix of afternoon and evening baseball with four matinees and eight nightcaps. For the batch of night games, all eyes will be on Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs welcome the red-hot Colorado Rockies to town. The Rockies have won four straight, while the Cubbies have won five of their last six. The pitching matchup is Tyler Chatwood versus Jon Lester, and the Cubs are currently -200 favorites .
All odds are courtesy of 5Dimes.
Houston Astros vs Kansas City Royals
It was a weird turn of events last night at Kauffman Stadium when the Astros' scheduled starter, Dallas Keuchel, was scratched with an undisclosed illness. The Astros would go on to lose the game by a 7-5 score with spot-starter Dayan Diaz lasting only 2 2/3 innings. That puts a lot of pressure on tonight's scheduled starter, Lance McCullers Jr., to pitch deep into the ball game and give the bullpen a bit of a breather.
So far this season McCullers has been of the best pitchers in the American League as he owns a 6-1 record with a 2.71 ERA a 1.11 WHIP with 81 strikeouts and just 21 walks. In his latest outing, McCullers was a bit shaky as he surrendered four runs on six hits in just over four innings. That was against Texas, though, which is a better offensive team than the Royals. Despite that performance, McCullers was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for May as he finished 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA. I expect McCullers to bounce back with a quality start and add to his 1-0 record in two career starts against tonight's opponent.
The Royals will counter with Jason Hammel, who in my opinion has seen better days. Hammel owns an ERA just shy of six and has just two wins on the season - both against the defending AL Champion Cleveland Indians. Those two wins are a far cry from his 15-win season with the Cubs last year. Opponents are hitting .295 off Hammel, but he is doing a good job at limiting the opposition to a .220 average with runners in scoring position.
The Astros took Game 1 of this series while the Royals have taken the last two. The Astros are still the best team in baseball, and they will have the superior pitcher on the mound tonight. McCullers needs to be solid to give the bullpen a rest, and I believe he gets the job done tonight. Let's take the Astros in a wire-to-wire win.
Pick: Houston Astros -0.5 (-135) First Five Innings
Miami Marlins vs Pittsburgh Pirates
To some this may seem like an idiotic play, but I don't mind being considered a contrarian on some occasions. I think we are going too see plenty of runs in this game between two teams who flat out struggle to score runs. Both teams are ranked lower than 20th in runs per game, but both teams have also been experiencing a mini offensive outbreak over the last handful of games.
For example, Miami comes to town on the heels of a 6-5 win at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. If you eliminate their two prior games against the Cubs (both losses), the Marlins have put up six, three and seven runs in three wins. The Wrigley Field weather can make even the most offensively-gifted teams look ordinary, which is why I am not second guessing the Marlins bats. PNC Park is a solid place to hit, especially during the summer months. To further my point, the Pirates have put up 37 runs over their last five games despite losing three of those games. The offense is starting to come alive only to watch the starting pitching and bullpen play falter.
Tonight's starters come into this game in completely opposite fashion. Volquez just tossed his first career no-hitter, while Gerrit Cole allowed seven runs on eight hits in five innings against the New York Mets. Cole has been terrible this season, and I expect him to struggle once again tonight. Volquez, on the other hand, just reached the pitching apex - and now he must return to reality. Prior to his no-no, Volquez was 1-7 with an ERA more than four. I expect him to return to form and turn in a performance to forget.
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