The Giants-Rockies game at Coors Field on Tuesday night had all of the ingredients for a slugfest. The game-time temperature was 93 degrees, which just added to the hitter-friendly conditions at Coors Field. Somehow, starters Peter Lambert and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow three runs over 11 innings. With Will Smith bringing a 2.11 ERA into the bottom of the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead, it looked as if this would wind up as a low-scoring affair.
Trevor Story turned the tide with a leadoff home run, and three batters later, Ian Desmond tied the game with a two-run drive into the center field stands. That resulted in Smith’s second blown save in 26 opportunities. Raimel Tapia singled on Smith’s next pitch, but he would get stranded on first base after the lefty struck out Ryan McMahon and Tony Wolters.
Not only did Smith keep himself from getting his first loss of the season, but he came away with his third win. Wade Davis handed the lead right back to the Giants, issuing one-out walks to Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval and allowing them to score on RBI singles from Alex Dickerson and Brandon Crawford. At that point, Bryan Shaw relieved Davis, and Dickerson and Crawford subsequently scored. Davis fell to 1-4, as Mark Melancon held the Rockies scoreless in the bottom of the 10th.
While Smith got the better result, there may be more reason to be worried about him than the inconsistent Davis. Over his last five appearances covering five innings, Smith has induced swinging strikes at a mere 9.5 percent rate. That’s in stark contrast to the 16.0 percent SwStr% Smith compiled over 34.1 innings through July 3. Meanwhile, Davis’ biggest problem in Tuesday night’s performance was an utter lack of control, as he threw only three of his 22 pitches in the strike zone. That was not a problem over his previous four innings, in which Davis located pitches in the zone at a 45.2 percent rate and induced swinging strikes at a 21.4 percent rate.
It was also a hot night in Philadelphia, but in the Phillies’ 9-8 win over the Dodgers, starters and relievers alike fueled the high-scoring game. Neither Hector Neris nor Kenley Jansen fared well, though both closers had plausible excuses for their meltdowns. Neris’ entry into the game to start off the top of the ninth inning was pushed back due to a rain delay that was called just as he was ready to deliver his first pitch. When the inning finally began, Neris kicked it off by walking Max Muncy and giving up an A.J. Pollock single on a 2-0 fastball. A one-out Matt Beaty homer turned a 6-5 Phillies lead into an 8-6 deficit. Neris would make two more pitches: a low splitter taken for a ball and a 95 mph fastball that hit David Freese. That second pitch got Neris ejected, and Ranger Suarez ended the inning on a double play ball from Russell Martin.
Jansen’s portion of the inning seemed to start off well enough, as he got Adam Haseley to hit a grounder off his ankle that deflected to Freese at first base for an out. However, Jansen’s ankle went numb, and he went on to give up four consecutive hits, the final one being a Bryce Harper walk-off double. It remains to be seen if Jansen will be able to pitch on Wednesday night. Pedro Baez has been the obvious next-in-line pitcher for saves for most of this season, but he has struggled lately, and on Tuesday night, he pitched the seventh inning (albeit with a one-run deficit) and Yimi Garcia pitched the eighth.
So far it has not been an encouraging week for Carlos Martinez‘s fantasy owners. On Monday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cardinals may trade him prior to the July 31 deadline. On Tuesday night, Martinez had a shaky outing, taking the loss in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Pirates. At least performance-wise, there are no reasons to be concerned about Martinez’s viability as a closer, as he had not allowed a run over his previous six outings.
Colin Poche had been on the fringes of the Rays’ cloudy closer situation, but that may not be the case for long. The rookie got the final two outs of the seventh inning, protecting a 3-2 lead over the Yankees, but he fell apart in the eighth, giving up an Aaron Judge two-run homer and a Didi Gregorius grand slam. Poche has now allowed nine runs, including four home runs, over his last 3.2 innings.
Ken Giles (elbow) was unavailable to pitch for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, but if he had been available, he likely would have pitched the bottom of the ninth inning of their 10-4 win over the Red Sox. The Jays held a 6-4 lead from the top of the sixth inning through the bottom of the eighth, and Charlie Montoyo employed his setup corps of Justin Shafer, Tim Mayza and David Phelps to keep their lead intact until he needed a closer. Heath Hembree and Ryan Weber allowed the Jays to tack on four runs in the top of the ninth, but Daniel Hudson — who recorded a save on Saturday against the Yankees’ in Giles’ absence — still came in for the bottom of the inning. Giles threw 20 pitches off a mound on Tuesday and is expected to be available on Wednesday.
Quick hits; Edwin Diaz and Felipe Vazquez each recorded their 21st save of the season on Tuesday night…The Red Sox optioned Ryan Brasier to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and called up Darwinzon Hernandez. The 22-year-old lefty pitched a scoreless inning in the Red Sox’s loss to the Blue Jays…The Marlins placed Austin Brice on the 10-day IL with a right forearm flexor strain and activated Tayron Guerrero, who tossed a scoreless eighth inning in a 12-7 win over the Padres.
Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.