Mining the News & Lineups (6/4/21) by Jeff Zimmerman June 4, 2021 American League Angels • Phil Gosselin (vs LHP) and Kean Wong (v RHP) are in a second base platoon. • Juan Lagares (.558) has started 13 of 14 games in center field. • If promoted, Jo Adell will need to stick in the majors. As general manager Perry Minasian said last week, the Angels want Adell to stick in the Majors when they bring him up, instead of having to shuttle him between Triple-A and the big leagues. To get the call, he’ll either be hitting or the Angels’ management will have given up on the season. • Dylan Bundy has been dealing with a foot issue hampering his control. Bundy is 0-6 with a 6.49 ERA and 53 strikeouts, 15 walks and 12 homers allowed in 51 1/3 innings. Giving up homers was an issue for him with the Orioles — he served up a league-leading 41 in 2018 and 29 in ’19 — but he seemed to correct that issue last year. He’s also been dealing with a foot injury that could be hampering his ability to locate the ball. His strikeout rate and walk rate are similar to last year, but his home run rate has tripled. So it’ll be about keeping the ball in the park going forward for him to turn it around. Astros • Chas McCormick (.697 OPS) has started nine of the last 11 games. Athletics • Matt Chapman is now batting seventh (.653 OPS). • Chad Pinder, Jed Lowrie, and Tony Kemp are sharing two positions, second base and left field with Laureano went on the IL. • Mitch Moreland is only starting against righties. Blue Jays • Crazy consistent. • Joe Panik (vs RHP) and Santiago Espinal (vs LHP) are in a third base platoon. • Rowdy Tellez (1.032 OPS over the last two weeks) has started three of the last four games. • Ross Stripling thought he was tipping his pitches. The change to the delivery helped Stripling twofold. One, he believed he was tipping his pitches. He’s sure he was giving batters a sneak preview based on how high he raised his hands. “How high I raised my hands both out of the stretch and out of the windup was so inconsistent, that it was different outing to outing, it was different inning to inning,” he said. “So, I can’t say that every curveball I threw I was going up to my head and every other one was going up to my chin, but it was enough, where it was definitely a thing. And certain outings probably (I) was tipping more than others.” Keeping his hands closer to his belt for every pitch rather than moving his hands up and down helps with his timing, too, he said, and likely makes him more deceptive, which is key for a pitcher such as Stripling who relies on fooling batters rather than blowing them away. Indians • Owen Miller’s (.308 OPS) full-time at-bats may have dried up with Bradley Zimmer (.745 OPS) starting the last three games. Mariners • J.P. Crawford (.653 OPS) is now leading off with Jarred Kelenic (.416 OPS) moving off the leadoff spot to batting fifth or sixth. • Jake Fraley (1.006 OPS) has started four straight games. • Donovan Walton (.517 OPS) has started six of the last seven games. Orioles • DJ Stewart (.897 OPS for the last month) has hit fifth for three straight games. • Stevie Wilkerson (vs RHP) and Pat Valaika (vs LHP) are in a platoon at second base. Rangers • After starting the season in complete disarray, it has settled down into a predictable pattern. • Brock Holt (vs LHP) and Charlie Culberson (vs RHP) are in a platoon at third base. Rays • Taylor Walls (.600 OPS) has started nine of the 12 games since being called up. • The Rays don’t hide who is on the way out, the undesirables are buried at the bottom of the lineup. Right now it’s Walls along with the center-field timeshare of Kevin Kiermaier and Brett Phillips. If only the Rays had some talented replacements for both positions in AAA. Red Sox • Set except that Bobby Dalbec (.616 OPS) and Danny Santana (.679 OPS) are splitting time at first base. • Also Christian Arroyo (.741 OPS) and Marwin Gonzalez (.554 OPS) sharing the second base job. Royals • The top half is set while the bottom has turned into a pillow fight for playing time. None of Nicky Lopez, Hunter Dozier, Michael A. Taylor, Jorge Soler, Hanser Alberto, Kelvin Gutierrez, and Jarrod Dyson have an OPS over .700. Tigers • Akil Baddoo (.853 OPS), Victor Reyes (on IL, .451 OPS), Nomar Mazara (.557 OPS), and Niko Goodrum (.643) have shared two outfield spots. Keep an eye on Baddoo who is hitting .343/.520/.543 over the last 28 days. • Jonathan Schoop (.305/.371/.526 and 5 HR over the last month) is now batting cleanup. • Tarik Skubal dropped a splitter and added a curveball. Skubal has looked like a different pitcher since ditching the splitter he honed during the offseason. And Sunday, he used his curveball as well as ever, adding a fourth weapon to complement an already solid fastball-slider-change combo. “It’s huge,” Skubal said of the curveball. “It’s a big change of pace. It’s a lot slower, and it’s almost an auto-take or a late swing for the most part. It’s a big pitch to slow guys down when they’re trying to be aggressive, and if they are trying to be aggressive, hopefully, they swing later and ground out or pop out.” Twins • Gilberto Celestino (.725 OPS in AAA) has started two straight in centerfield. • Ryan Jeffers has started two straight at catcher with Mitch Garver out. • Alex Kirilloff (.710 OPS), Trevor Larnach (.799 OPS), and Kyle Garlick (.767 OPS) are sharing two outfield spots. • Jorge Polanco has led off three of the last five games. • Nick Gordon has started two straight games at second base. • Kenta Maeda has been pitching through soreness all season. He also indicated that Maeda has been pitching through that arm soreness this season; the 2020 AL Cy Young Award runner-up has a 5.27 ERA through nine starts. “It’s something that we want to make sure that we get rid of,” Baldelli said. “We don’t want to be looking at this for the next four months. We want to make sure that this is something that while we’re taking this IL stint, that we’re able to shake.” White Sox • Besides the ever-rotating second spot, the top five spots are set. • Some combination of Jake Lamb (.931 OPS), Billy Hamilton (.661 OPS), Leury García (.582 OPS), and Adam Eaton (.658 OPS) are splitting time with two outfield spots. Yankees • Rougned Odor (.636 OPS) has started eight of ten games. • Miquel Andujar (.623 OPS) has started six straight. • Since returning from the IL, Giancarlo Stanton (.814 OPS) has started four of seven. National League Braves • Same all the time but everyone moves up one spot with the sh__bag not available. • Abraham Almonte (vs RHP) and Ehire Adrianza (vs LHP) look to be in a left-field platoon. Brewers • Willy Adames is hitting second against lefties. Since joining the Brewers, his slash line is .286/.375/.476. • Keston Hiura (vs LHP) and Daniel Vogelbach (vs RHP) are in a first base platoon. • Travis Shaw (vs RHP) and Luis Urías (vs LHP) are still in a third base platoon. Cardinals • Eerily consistent. • Edmundo Sosa (.765 OPS) has started 17 straight games. Cubs • The 29-year-old Patrick Wisdom (1.398 OPS) has started four of the last five games at third base. • Eric Sogard (.637 OPS) has started eight of the last nine games at second. • Sergio Alcántara has started in two of the last three games. He was hot in AAA (.940 OPS) and that production has continued into the majors (1.600 OPS). Diamondbacks • Pavin Smith (vs RHP) and Christian Walker (vs LHP) may be in a first base platoon. Josh Reddick is hitting enough (.327/.327/.462) to get some outfield time forcing Smith to the infield. Since Walker (.550 OPS) hasn’t got going, he’s sitting. • When in the lineup, Carson Kelly hits in the top half. Dodgers • Since coming off the IL, Cody Bellinger is hitting cleanup. • Zach McKinstry has started four of five games since coming off the IL at three different positions (2B, 3B, OF). • With Bellinger and McKinstry back, one of the regulars has to sit when Albert Pujols starts. Over the last few games, it looks like some of the healthy bats (Taylor, Turner, Betts) all got a day off. Keep an eye on the playing time especially when A.J Pollock returns this weekend. • Cody Bellinger has been making some swing adjustments. The Dodgers sent assistant hitting coach Aaron Bates along with Bellinger and McKinstry as they went through part of their rehab, with Bates continuing to work with Bellinger on some of the swing adjustments he was hoping to make (along with FaceTime hitting sessions with hitting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc and Brant Brown), with Roberts saying Bellinger is now “in a really good place mechanically, mentally.” Giants • The Giants are the Rays of the National League with most players in a platoon or timeshare. Here are the players who are not in a timeshare: Mike Yastrzemski (when healthy) Donovan Solano Brandon Crawford Evan Longoria (when healthy) Buster Posey Everyone else doesn’t have a full-time role. Marlins • Since coming off the IL, Starling Marte is batting second. • Isan Diaz (.473 OPS) has started seven straight. • Jon Berti (.573 OPS, 4 SB) has started seven of the last eight games. • Garrett Cooper (.751 OPS, 1.147 OPS over the last two weeks) is now batting cleanup. Mets • José Peraza (.627 OPS, 0 SB) has started nine straight at second base. • Billy McKinney (.687 OPS) has started six of seven in the outfield. • Mason Williams has started three of four in centerfield. Nationals • Josh Bell (vs RHP) and Ryan Zimmerman (vs LHP) are in a first base platoon. • Josh Harrison (.270/.345/.390) has hit second for the last four games moving Juan Soto down to the three spot. • Kyle Schwarber has moved from batting fourth to sixth even though he’s hitting .280/.374/.538 over the last month. Padres • Consistent besides the occasional off day. • It’ll be interesting to see how the outfield playing time shakes out with Trent Grisham (.898 OPS) coming off the IL today. Tommy Pham (.684 OPS) might not continue to lead off. Jurickson Profar (.641 OPS) has started 16 of 17 so will he or Wil Myers (.737 OPS) head to the bench. It’s a playing time situation to monitor over the weekend. Phillies • Odúbel Herrera (.794 OPS, 4 HR, 3 SB) is now leading off with Andrew McCutchen (.731 OPS, 9 HR, 3 SB) hitting sixth. • Brad Miller (.805 OPS) has started 10 straight games. • I could see Alec Bohm (.213/.257/.310) getting demoted once Harper comes off the IL with Miller moving to third base. • Ronald Torreyes (.317/.349/.463) has started five straight at shortstop. Pirates • Ke’Bryan Hayes slotted into the #2 spot after coming off the IL. • Ben Gamel (vs RHP) and Ka’ai Tom (vs LHP) are in an outfield platoon. • Will Craig (vs LHP) and Erik Gonzalez (vs RHP) seem to be platooning at first base. Reds • Eugenio Suárez is back to leading off. • Catcher-qualified Tyler Stephenson (.701 OPS) is getting full-time at-bats at catcher and first base. Also, he’s batting cleanup. • Max Schrock (.824 OPS) has started in four of the last seven games. Rockies • The injuries to Story and Hampson have several players moving around with Yonathan Daza and Josh Fuentes garnering full-time at-bats. • In two of the last four games, Matt Adams (.496 OPS) has started for C.J. Cron (.833 OPS) at first base. • Dom Nunez continues to get most of the catcher starts even though he had a .442 OPS in May.