The Chicago Cubs hung a six-spot on Michael Wacha in the first inning, Josh Tomlin snapped Chris Sale's nine-game win streak and improved his record to 7-0, Jackie Bradley Jr. got halfway to Joe DiMaggio and the Minnesota Twins ... well, let's not talk about the Twins. Five things we learned on Tuesday:
1. Gregory Polanco, 2016 All-Star. Everything is coming together for the 24-year-old Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder. He went 3-for-5 with a long home run to right-center and five RBIs in a 12-1 bashing of poor Shelby Miller and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Polanco is hitting .307/.395/.546, he has played every game, he's drawing walks, he plays a solid right field and did we mention he's just 24? He's a good reminder that we hype prospects so much these days and expect the best ones to be instant stars, but we forget players have different learning curves. Polanco simply appears stronger this year and more aggressive when hitting his pitch: His "well-hit average" has increased from .168 to .242 (ranking fifth among qualified batters). I'm not a big fan of "on pace" numbers, but he's on pace for 63 doubles, 22 home runs, 92 walks, 122 runs and 103 RBIs. All-Star numbers, my friends. And get this: Including this year, Polanco will make $20.9 million the next five seasons -- or less than Jacoby Ellsbury is making in 2016. I wonder if pitchers will start to throw him more inside pitches:
Gregory Polanco loving the outside pitches. Four of his six home runs have been to the opposite field. pic.twitter.com/WlZAnznWL9— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) May 25, 2016
2. Nomar Mazara has a day. Mazara went 3-for-3 with a walk and his seventh home run as the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1, raising his season line to .317/.364/.483. He turned 21 in April. So which young right fielder do you like long-term? Polanco's big advantage is his speed; he could play center field on other teams. Mazara maybe has a little more power potential. How about Mazara as a potential All-Star? Nobody else on offense is really having a big season, with Adrian Beltre and Ian Desmond the best candidates. Cole Hamels is 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA, but his FIP is 4.47. If he keeps bashing, Mazara could find his way as the Rangers' All-Star rep.
If you want to delve into the numbers, Michael Bonzagni reports that Verlander has had much better results with his fastball: .278 average pre-engagement versus .164 post-engagement, and 21 percent swing-and-miss rate versus 37 percent.
4. Stephen Strasburg > Matt Harvey. Strasburg is 11-0 with a 2.14 ERA since last September 15 (8-0, 2.79 in 2016), but the big story from the Washington Nationals' win is that Matt Harvey is still broken. He declined to meet with the reporters after the game, and you can imagine how that went over with the New York media:
Mike Vaccaro, New York Post: Silent Matt Harvey confirms he's the phony Mets have enabled. In related thoughts, I love the New York media.
Maybe Mets fans will take solace in this little nugget:
Matt Harvey's struggles this season are similar to those of Stephen Strasburg through this same date last year. pic.twitter.com/kl7SN8Au9R— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2016