Luis Garcia tossed a gem against the best team in baseball, throwing six shutout innings with three hits allowed. He walked two batters and struck out seven. After three average starts to begin the season, Garcia has turned it on in his last two outings with 13 innings of shutout baseball and 16 strikeouts between the two. The starts were against good offenses too in Toronto and Tampa Bay. Even in the start before that, he allowed five runs over five innings but still struck out seven batters which has him clear the seven strikeout line in each of his last three outings. A very interesting change to his pitch mix started in his last start, with him jumping his cutter usage to 55% and following that up with a 46% usage in this outing. The cutter produces significantly more whiffs than his fastball does and if that's something that is a deliberate change in his repertoire he could explode.
Ke'Bryan Hayes went 2-for-5 at the plate on Tuesday with a double, two runs batter in and a run scored. Hayes has been on a hot streak since April 13th, hitting .317 with a .561 SLUG in the last ten games before Tuesday night. He's only hit one homer in that span, but has three doubles (four including Tuesday's) and two triples along with two stolen bases. Hayes is forever going to be one minor tweak away from exploding as he combines elite batted ball data that just happens to be paired with a near 50% groundball rate. There is a positive sign this year though with a 25% fly ball rate early this year, which is almost 10% higher than last year and sits just slightly above the league average for this year. He's hitting leadoff as well for one of the surprises in baseball, and if the lifting in his contact continues be sure he's not sitting on a waiver wire somewhere.
Garrett Mitchell is set to undergo surgery on his injured shoulder and is going the essentially miss the rest of the season. Mitchell was off to a fun start the season with three homers and one stolen base, but this will cause him to have another big missed chunk of time, something that he struggled with in the minors as well. Joey Weimer has been the primary centerfielder for the team since Mitchell went on the IL, hitting .217 with one homerun and three stolen bases this year. Wiemer is playing outstanding defense in center and runs extremely well, but the batted ball data doesn't look the absolute best. His strikeout rate is a solid 20% and his walk rate is also well above average at 11%, but it's a 34% hard-hit rate paired with a 51% ground ball rate thus far. I think Wiemer should hold onto the CF job going forward, especially since top prospect Sal Frelick is going to miss a few months with a torn thumb ligament. I'm not rushing out to snag Wiemer right now but in NL leagues it's certainly worth a look since he should get plenty of at bats going forward.
Jared Kelenic's redemption tour continued on Tuesday with a 3-for-4 game against the Phillies, pushing his average to .342 on the year and his OPS sits at 1.121. This has been amazing to see as last year he was basically unplayable while Julio Rodriguez took all the shine, and now he's responded with eight homers in the first month of the season. Everything here looks amazing, just besides the strikeouts. He's chasing less, hitting the ball harder, and barreling the ball more. The strikeouts are still up a bit at 26%, but even that's down from the 30%+ rate that he ran last season. The strikeouts were up last season but then he wasn't hitting the ball hard at all, so we'll take this progression all day.
Charlie Morton dominated the Marlins Tuesday with nine strikeouts over seven innings, allowing just a single run and earning the win. He allowed just three hits and had his usual two walks that he tends to find his way into every start. This outing gives him three straight quality starts and he's allowed two earned runs or less in every start since his first start. This was the first outing we've seen him with the crooked strikeout number though as his previous high for the season was six. He's pretty much doing what we've expected for him to do year in and year out, and now is 3-2 with a 2.76 ERA for the season.
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