Quick thoughts on Tuesday's excellent slate of major league action
A's 1, Rangers 0. Yu Darvish just doesn't know how to win. This is a big victory for the A's as they take the first two of the three-game set. Yoenis Cespedes' home run, a 418-foot shot to dead center, was all Oakland needed as Dan Straily pitched seven scoreless innings. The A's are like that bug you have to step on six times before you finally kill it; they just keeping coming back and surprising you. After going 4-10 during a recent stretch, people were already starting to write Oakland off -- "last season was a fluke!" -- but now the A's have won five in a row, four by one run. Are the A's in the Rangers' heads after last season's dramatic surge to the division title? Probably not, but it's food for thought. As for Cespedes, his season line doesn't look all that impressive -- .211/.283/.461 -- but the A's are now 21-12 when he plays, and the guy does seem to deliver a lot of big hits. As well as the Rangers have played, it's worth noting they've played the easiest schedule in the major leagues so far. Some of that is a function of playing in the American League West, in which the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels have been terrible (Texas is 9-3 against those two clubs). So that might not change (the A's are 11-1 against the Astros and Angels). It's also fair to point out the Rangers swept the Boston Red Sox, won three of four against the Detroit Tigers this past weekend and took two of three earlier from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Big hit of the day: Travis Snider's pinch-hit grand slam for the Pirates as they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Cubs. Matt Garza looked good for the Cubs in his season debut but departed after five innings, and the awful Cubs bullpen was awful.
Or maybe Nate McLouth's home run was the big hit of the day, as the Baltimore Orioles snapped a six-game losing streak. McLouth's homer came off lefty Vidal Nuno leading off the 10th; kind of interesting that Buck Showalter didn't hit for McLouth, who is platooned against lefties. Other exciting Orioles news: Kevin Gausman, the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, who has been throwing upper-90s heat in Double-A, will start Thursday. Here's video of Gausman getting his 10th strikeout the other night.
Or maybe Evan Gattis had the big hit -- a pinch-hit game-tying homer in the ninth with two outs, with the Braves winning in the 10th. Like his last homer: love Freddie Freeman's reaction in the dugout. He can't believe it, either.