Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Matt Holliday's return to Colorado could be storybook ending

Taking the weekly journey around MLB: 


 
Arizona Diamondbacks
— Clay Buchholz's renaissance continues in the desert, with seven scoreless innings in a Wednesday win his latest canvas. He's been a God send for the Diamondbacks ...
— Buchholz has credited Arizona pitching strategist Dan Haren for his resurgence, saying he's been integral to his shift in approach and preparation ...
— D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo, who managed Buchholz as both a bench coach and interim manager in Boston, also said that the pitcher's pace is vastly improved now compared to his time in the AL East ...
— Paul Goldschmidt's homer on Wednesday pushed him ahead of team legend Luis Gonzalez into first place all-time at Chase Park. The first baseman has 29 on the season ...
 
Atlanta Braves
— There's still a long ways to go, but the Braves suddenly holding a three-game division lead feels significant. That young team truly believes ...
— The bats have been good enough, but it was Atlanta's rotation that was the big difference maker in the recent three-game sweep of Pittsburgh. Julio Teheran went seven innings with just one walk and two hits on Wednesday ... though the lone hit did tie the game at the time ...
— The current Ronald Acuña lead-off home run tracker: 20. He's entering rare company ...


Baltimore Orioles
— The Orioles played 10 games in Canada this year. They won zero ...
— Outfielder Cedric Mullins, the prospect who displaced Adam Jones to right, is a lot of fun to watch ...
— Hunter Harvey is a terrific talent who has had horrible luck with injuries. The latest tests to his elbow indicated no structural damage, which is at least some respite for Orioles fans ...
— The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo Encina wrote not to expect many call-ups in September despite the O's flurry of trade activity around the deadline. That may be frustrating for Baltimore fans, but it's also sound developmental strategy.
 
Boston Red Sox
— The Red Sox dropped a series finale to Tampa Bay, then lost the first two against Cleveland for a three-game losing streak. That was the first time they lost three in a row in four months. That's how consistent they have been ...
— Teammate Mookie Betts has seemed to be designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez's biggest obstacle to a triple crown, with Betts' batting average hovering around .350 most of the second half. In the past week Betts has dipped to .340 while Martinez continues climbing, now up to .333 ...
— There's a debate brewing about just how many innings ace Chris Sale needs to pitch to "deserve" the Cy Young. He went back on the disabled list before the Indians series with shoulder bursitis, though the team is expressing confidence he'll be very rested and ready for late September. What that means for the individual awards, however, is another story ...
— Sale's statistics make it hard to overlook him, no matter how much he does or doesn't play later this year. Sale’s 13.5 strikeouts-per-nine is tops in the majors in 2018, and on pace to be the best single-season K/9 in Major League Baseball history ...
— David Price was both efficient and impressive against the Rays Saturday night. After he said it was, "about time," he pitched like the player they paid $32 million per season for.
 
Chicago Cubs
— The Daniel Murphy trade came at a critical time for the Cubs, who were in a mini-slump. A day later they hit three home runs — David Bote, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo — and added an RBI single from Murphy in a win against the Tigers ...
— Murphy is a noted Cub killer. He hit four home runs against them for the Mets in the 2015 National League championship series. In 55 career games against the Cubs he has hit .325/.365/.553 with nine homers and 22 RBI ...
— Pitcher Cole Hamels stats in his four starts since being brought over from the Rangers: 3 quality starts, 3 wins, 25 IP, 16 hits, 6 walks, 23 strikeouts and a 0.72 ERA. Pretty, pretty good.


   
Chicago White Sox
— Michael Kopech's debut on Tuesday was enough of an event to get everyone's attention, even that of Pedro Martinez ...
— Kopech's reaction to Martinez's tweet? "This is a dream, man ..." ...
— Chicago Sun-Times reporter Daryl Van Schouwen captured the best reaction in the clubhouse when Kopech arrived. The would-be ace was greeted by fellow former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada, who also came over in the Chris Sale trade. Kopech's immediate response? "You smell good as always."
 
Cincinnati Reds
— Both starting pitcher Matt Harvey and outfielder Billy Hamilton were claimed on revocable waivers. It's possible a deal could be made with the teams that claimed them, or maybe the claims were just made to block opponents from doing the same ...
— There was plenty of hope about Robert Stevenson when he was called up from Louisville, but so far the hope has fizzled into a rough ERA: He's at 7.59 in three starts since making the drive over from horse country ...
— Still no word about potential talks to make interim manager Jim Riggleman the permanent appointment, though those would be most likely after the season anyway.

 
Cleveland Indians
— The Indians bullpen may not be its 2016 vintage, but it's starting to shape up to be formidable in the postseason. And few can jigger the lineup matchups better than Cleveland manager Terry Francona and longtime bench coach Brad Mills. Boston found that out (again) the hard way on Monday and Tuesday ...
— Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion is still only hitting .232, but his power swing hasn't disappeared. He has 27 home runs on the season ...
— The Tribe activated Josh Tomlin Thursday after he spent more than a month on the disabled list with a strained hamstring ...
— The entire team continues to inscribe "LM 19" as a nod to sick teammate Leonys Martin, who is recovering from a potentially deadly bacterial infection. Doctors recently advised Martin to take the remainder of the season off.

Colorado Rockies
— Matt Holliday has been an oft underappreciated slugger across his MLB career, despite playing for huge market teams including the Cardinals and Yankees. He gets a chance to tie a bow on it all in Denver, particularly if he can help spark the Rockies to a playoff berth ...
— Chris Ianetta won the day with his tweet acknowledging the Holliday signing. Nothing like a self-awareness to drive home the best comedy ...
— The Rockies have won each of pitcher Jon Gray's last nine starts. That's tied for the best in franchise history, alongside Ubaldo Jimenez's run way back in 2010.
 
Detroit Tigers
— Tigers starter Artie Lewicki is headed for his second Tommy John surgery to repair ligaments in his right (throwing) elbow. He'll miss all of 2019 ...
— On the day the Tigers retired former ace Jack Morris' number, manager Ron Gardenhire pulled Matthew Boyd from his start after 90 pitches. Gardenhire said Boyd wasn't pleased and offered up a line that belonged on a t-shirt. He actually made those t-shirts and handed them out Wednesday. The line? “This is what I train for. I’m programmed for this.” Great story from the Detroit News' Chris McCosky chronicles it all ...
— Nice touch: The Tigers honored the late, great motown native Aretha Franklin, and while they did a rainbow formed over the scoreboard.

Houston Astros
— The Astros are one of the more hip, social media-aware clubhouses, so they're all in on the meme game. Here's their latest effort to become one themselves ...
— Jose Altuve is back after missing 21 games, and you can already feel the difference in the team's lineup ...
— Controversial trade deadline pick-up Roberto Osuna has officially been made the team's closer ...
— On Thursday the Astros are hosting what could be the largest-ever fundraiser for an injured Houston Police officer; Jerry Flores wasn't injured in the line of duty, he was critically injured during a freak accident at a charity golf tournament.
 
Kansas City Royals
— Great touch here by the team's alumni: The 1975 Royals are traveling to four locations across the Middle East next month to watch games with the troops. Bret Saberhagen and George Brett will be among the team's representatives making the trip ...
— The Royals were officially eliminated from the postseason on Wednesday ...
— Kansas City's first round pick in the 2018 Draft, Daniel Lynch has impressed at short season Burlington. In 11.1 innings, he's allowed just two earned runs on nine hits and two walks, with 14 strikeouts. Not a bad start.
 
Los Angeles Angels
— Mike Trout is expected back from the family bereavement list this weekend. He's missed more than a week following the sudden death of his brother-in-law, Aaron Cox ...
— Just 24, Cox was also a professional baseball player, going 7-3 with a 3.64 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 12 saves and 96 strikeouts in 101.1 innings across 68 appearances in his minor league career. Cox had been part of the Angels system since he was initially drafted in 2015 ...
— Trout posted an emotional tribute to his late brother-in-law on Instagram Thursday ...
— Outfielder Justin Upton was sent to the DL with a cut on his left index finger.
 


Los Angeles Dodgers
— It didn't seem like the Dodgers saw that sweep at the hands of the Cardinals coming ...
— Closer Kenly Jansen had a blown save and a loss in his first two games after returning from the DL with an irregular heartbeat condition. That's obviously a major concern for the Dodgers as they try to remain in touch in the NL West ...
— Jansen became a father for the third time on Wednesday morning, then showed up at work and gave up the game-winning home run to St. Louis' Paul DeJong ...
— Reports out of Korea claim the Dodgers have signed 17-year-old Korean pitching wunderkind Hyun-Il Choi. Fangraphs/MLB writer Sung Min Kim reported that the Dodgers spent $300,000 on Hyun-Il's signing bonus ...
— Curious about Hyun-Il Choi's repertoire? Check out some of his highlights above.

Miami Marlins
—  Suspended Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña's defense for his actions when he hit Braves rookie Ronald Acuña: I'm "misunderstood." ...
— Pitcher Caleb Smith currently leads the Marlins with five victories. If the season finishes that way, the Marlins will become the first team in MLB history to have a staff wins leader with fewer than six victories, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald ...
— With the Yankees in town this week, former Marlins-cum-Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton said he's still rooting for the Fish ...

Milwaukee Brewers
— First baseman Jesus Aguilar nearly had his head taken off when he leaned over to buckle his belt as pitcher Freddy Peralta attempted a pick-off throw. The incident made for lighthearted viewing after, but it was terrifying in the moment ...
— There's concern about the starting pitching among the fan base, sure, but GM David Stearns isn't listening to it ...
— Think the Crew could use Scooter Gennett this year? The former Milwaukee second baseman is hitting .312 (third in the NL) with 18 homers, 72 RBI and an .850 OPS ... for Cincinnati. Milwaukee traded Gennett following Jonathan Villar's big year in 2016; Villar now plays for Baltimore and the Brewers have started nine different players at second this season. Ouch ...
 
Minnesota Twins
— It's been a tough, lost season for Ervin Santana. The team's presumed Opening Day starter, Santana instead started the season on the DL, took until July 25 to finally make an appearance, allowed multiple runs in each of his five starts and then ended up back on the DL. Now some writers are calling for the team to shut him down. They have a point ...
— The Twins held their eighth annual Minnesota Twins Diversity Celebration on Wednesday, with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in attendance. Good for them ...
— The father of catcher Tyler Austin vented on Twitter that the Yankees shouldn't have traded his son. Counterpoint: Tyler Austin's father shouldn't have started a Twitter account ...
— Cool fact: Austin and new teammate Alan Busenitz were teammates when they were 10 years old.



 
New York Mets
— Jay Bruce is finally set to come off the disabled list on Friday. He's been out for more than two months ...
— The Mets approach to their front office for next year has been covered ad nauseam in this space, but it's worth noting that the Mets media is now starting to pick sides ...
— One blog is calling for a return of Omar Minaya to the top job, while another is calling for a complete organizational re-vamp, from scouting and player development on up. Both seem relatively unlikely, though you never know in New York ...
— Really interesting piece from Abbey Mastracco of the North Jersey Record, who catches up with Mets minor leaguer Ty Kelly about the difficulty in being a vegan in baseball.


New York Yankees
— Pedro Martinez questioned the Yankees effort after a lackluster-feeling extra innings victory in Miami on Tuesday, and Brett Gardner didn't like it ...
— That didn't deter Pedro, who doubled-down on his statement the next day: "I am saying that the energy of the teams that win in the World Series, it is different than what I'm seeing from the Yankees now." ...
— Aroldis Chapman's trip to the DL (reportedly for knee pain) followed a dip in velocity down from his triple-digit normal highs to "just" 96 mph ...
— Despite the concerns, Chapman has 31 saves in 49 games and 84 strikeouts in 47 innings. Not too shabby ...
— Shortstop Didi Gregorious was also recently sent to the DL ...
— Justus Sheffield is expected to be used out of the bullpen when he is eventually called up in September. The real question is how high he can rise when he makes it up.
 


Oakland Athletics
— The A's couldn't complete the sweep of the Astros, with Justin Verlander proving the stopper again. There's still plenty of time, and they haven't lost any additional ground since ...
— A's rookie Ramon Laureano has impressed early, so much so that manager Bob Melvin moved him all the way up to No. 2 in the lineup on Wednesday. The lineup promotion may not have had the desired result, however; Laureano went 0-for-4 on Wednesday, with two groundouts and two strikeouts ...
— The team announced that it has contracted Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design the team's proposed new ballpark, which is still caught between two potential sites (one near the current Oakland Coliseum site and the other at Howard Terminal) ...
— The A's kick off the 2019 season with a "home" series against the Mariners ... in Tokyo. Not sure how fans feel about that ...


Philadelphia Phillies
— If the Phillies miss the playoffs, they can probably blame the Mets. Philadelphia is 5-8 against the Mets with three still to play against the not-so-Amazin's. Meanwhile, the Braves are 12-4 against the Mets. That's a four-game swing, at the very least ...
— Not that they're giving up the fight. The Phillies added lefty reliever Luis Avilan on Wednesday in a trade with the White Sox ...
— Meanwhile, recently acquired first baseman Justin Bour was sent to the disabled list with a left oblique strain ...
— Aaron Nola is in the midst of a truly historic season. He's held opponents to four or fewer runs in 29 straight starts, second only to Clayton Kershaw in all of MLB.
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
— The sweep at the hands of the Braves dropped the Pirates to 2-7 in their last nine games. They're just 7-13 since the non-waiver trade deadline, when they appeared poised for a run at a playoff berth ...
— Jason Rollison broke down how Chris Archer has brought back his slider as a significant pitch since his trade from the Rays ...
— The Pirates hit into a record-tying seven double plays in a loss to the Cubs.

 
St. Louis Cardinals
— Kolten Wong is supremely confident of his defensive capabilities at second base. Here's what he told the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold: "If I don't win the Gold Glove, there is something wrong with it." ...
— The addition of Matt Adams came at just the right time, with Marcell Ozuna headed to the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation ...
— Yahoo's Tim Brown breaks down how the Cardinals resurrected a moribund season, starting with interim manager Mike Shildt's promotion.
 
San Diego Padres
— Tough news for infielder Christian Villanueva, who appears lost for the season with a fractured finger ...
— Utilityman extraordinaire Wil Myers took a tough grounder to the face during batting practice Wednesday but was cleared of any significant damage after ...
— Despite a tough start in which he allowed five runs in 2/3 of an inning, Padres manager Andy Green remains very high on rookie starting pitcher Jacob Nix.

San Francisco Giants
— Madison Bumgarner outdueled presumptive NL Cy Young favorite Jacob deGrom in a 3-1 victory Thursday afternoon and looked good doing it ...
— Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the Giants continue to take significant risk by playing Buster Posey behind the plate with an existing hip injury. It seems likely he'll soon undergo season-ending hip surgery ...
— Andrew McCutchen has had a down year since moving to the Bay Area, and some see him as the team's most likely and ideal waiver wire trade chip. There might be some contenders where he could make sense ...
This wasn't a particularly good look for Giants pitcher Derek Holland, particularly in that market ...


 
Seattle Mariners
— With another late loss to the division rival Astros Wednesday, the Mariners are now 5.5 games back in the division and 4.5 behind the A's for the second Wild Card berth. What once looked like a promontory waltz to a playoff berth suddenly seems like a very long shot ...
— One bright spot: Felix Hernandez passed Andy Pettitte for 40th place on the all-time strikeout list ...
— Robinson Cano is playing at third base since his return from a PED suspension, which might just be where he winds up moving forward, too ...
— Seattle added Jean Segura and Ben Gamel on the same day. They'll need both of their bats at their hottest if a chase down of the A's or Astros is on the cards.
 

Tampa Bay Rays
Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated went deep on the Rays "opener" concept and their flexible notion of starting pitching ...
— Don't look now, but the Rays — expected doormats of the AL East — are suddenly five games above .500. They're going to finish even-Steven or better. Just watch ...
— If Kevin Kiermaier is the best center fielder in the AL East, he certainly knows how to give credit where it's due, too ...
— Rays pitchers had a 27-inning scoreless streak earlier this week.
 
Texas Rangers
— How you know a team and its fans are already looking to 2019: Rangers media has started speculating about a run at Dallas native Clayton Kershaw ...
— Neat fact from the Dallas Morning News: Cory Gearin, the right-handed reliever who throws sidearm, learned the pitch from former Braves reliever Gene Garber ...
— There's chatter that Jose Leclerc could be the franchise's long-term solution in the late innings.

 Toronto Blue Jays
— Justin Smoak cleared revocable waivers. The question is whether Toronto would actually trade him. He would seem to have a market ...
— Aaron Sanchez moves into the pantheon of weird baseball injuries with the report that his 60-day DL stint was caused by a cut from his suitcase ...
— Uberprospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is close to a pretty remarkable hallmark: He's batting .390 with 13 games to go in the minor league season. Apparently he needs to go approximately 22-for-47 the rest of the way to finish about .400 across both AA and AAA ...
 — There remains the distinct possibility that Josh Donaldson could be involved in a deal before the waiver deadline. It's no sure thing, but he could be in play very late.


Washington Nationals
— The fire sale finally started in earned with the deals that sent Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and Matt Adams to the Cardinals ...
— We may be the first, but probably not the last, to wonder whether the Nats have brought bad luck on themselves because of how they handled former manager Dusty Baker ...
— Former outfielder Jayson Werth agreed with us about Baker on last week's edition of Inside Baseball ...
— Apparently the Dodgers were the team that put in a claim on Bryce Harper, but the two teams couldn't work out a trade ...
— Co-owner Mark Lerner penned a letter to fans after the trades of Murphy and Adams, explaining why the team didn't go in a different direction at the trade deadline.


Trending