New York Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker is getting back to his dominant form after dealing with injuries at the start of the season.
The Mets have been one of the top teams in the league (24-14) and now that Walker is showing signs of improvement on the mound, the Mets are an even more formidable rotation to be reckoned with this season.
In his last start on May 12, Walker was lights out against the Washington Nationals.
He went seven innings, giving up three hits and striking out one without allowing a run. That’s the start the Mets have been waiting to see from Walker since he returned from the injured list.
It was a much better performance than his previous outing back on May 6th against the Philadelphia Phillies. Walker gave up six earned runs and nine hits that game.
Talk about a bounce back performance from Walker. That is exactly what he needed.
In an article from the New York Post, Walker talked about how he was effective against the Nationals.
“The game plan was to go in and throw at least eight curveballs,” Walker said after picking up the win against the Nationals. “I feel like when I throw a lot of curveballs, at least 8-10 per game, it just slows them down, and I was throwing it for strikes and getting swings and ground balls, swings and misses, so we just kept throwing it.”
Reportedly, Walker dealt with some back tightness during the game, but that did not impact him on the mound.
“I was trying to go eight [innings], but seven was good, and I think just getting the up-downs now and my pitch count up … now after this outing I feel I should be good to go deep every game,” he said.
Through four starts this season, Walker has a 1-0 record, throwing 18 innings with a 3.00 ERA and has struck out eight. Those are impressive numbers for Walker, especially since he dealt with injury at the start of the season. Dealing with shoulder bursitis is nothing to play with, especially when you are a pitcher.
The Mets will certainly keep a close eye on Walker as the season progresses and see how he continues to perform on the mound.
MLBbro veteran Josh Harrison, two-time All-Star, has bounced around the league the last few seasons. The two-time All-Star Swiss army knife has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics since 2011.
He is in his first year with the Chicago White Sox and this is his fourth team in four seasons. Harrison wants to help this Chicago team make a run to the World Series this year. And his veteran leadership will certainly have a huge impact in the clubhouse.
Harrison has struggled at the plate this season only hitting .156 through 21 games. But the White Sox know his value and know that as the season progresses, he will have numerous opportunities to help the team win ball games.
Our MLBbro could not wait to join the White Sox this season.
“When this opportunity presented itself, it was almost a no-brainer for me,” Harrison said on the “White Sox Talk Podcast” back in March.
Though Harrison has a lot of experience in the majors, he’s not a postseason veteran. During his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he played in a total of four postseason games from 2013 to 2015.
Now, he’s on one of the top teams in the American League the past two seasons.
Before joining the team, Harrison already knew how talented the White Sox were and how they were approaching the season as serious title contenders.
“I don’t have to mention the pitching staff,” he said of the team’s bullpen. “You (also) got Eloy [Jiménez], Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, I definitely took it as a compliment when they came after me, I was very elated.”
Harrison can pretty much play any position on the infield, as he has already played some third base for Chicago. But having him up the middle with fellow MLBbro Tim Anderson makes so much sense for the White Sox defensively.
With those two anchoring the middle, it makes them that much more secure on the infield.
“When I was presented with the opportunity,” Harrison said, “looking around the infield, second base, I feel like I can blend in with this team, sure-handed up the middle and help any way that I can.”
Through 32 games, the White Sox are in third place in the American League Central, just three games behind the division-leading Twins. This should be an interesting race in that division and once the White Sox (16-17) get healthy, they’ll be a team to reckon with.
Once Harrison gets things going offensively, he’ll present another threat at the plate opposing teams have to deal with.
“We know what we’re capable of on paper, but I’m not really interested in on paper,” Harrison said. “Paper has nothing to do with in between those white lines.
“We know what we have. It’s about us going out there, starting today.”
Be on the lookout for Harrison over there playing on the South Side. Though he signed a one-year contract with the White Sox, how he performs this season will determine his standing with the team going forward.
MLBbro Cole Tucker is on his way back to the minor leagues. According to reports, on Thursday, infielder Rodolfo Castro was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis, and the Pittsburgh Pirates utility player was optioned to Indianapolis.
Tucker was very optimistic entering the season but got off to a rough start offensively. He’s struggled to find a rhythm at the plate and that can be frustrating for any hitter. In 18 games between shortstop, second base and right field, Tucker slashed just .175/.175/.222 with no homers or walks, just two RBIs and a 39.7% strikeout rate
MLB Clock Was Ticking: Forget Switch-Hitting
Tucker could hear the minor league grim reaper getting closer and knew something needed to change at the plate for him to have success, so he abandoned switch-hitting in hopes of regaining a steady, productive stroke from one side of the plate
For his career, Tucker’s hitting .192 from the right side, so one can imagine why he wants to swing from the left side of the plate.
“I’m tired of getting the bat shoved up my butt right-handed, bluntly,” Tucker said in an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I just want to give myself the best chance I can to succeed, and right now I think that’s left-handed.”
Since he made his debut with the Pirates in 2019, Tucker has struggled to have success consistently in the big leagues. But despite his demotion, the Pirates are still high on Tucker. There have been spurts throughout his career where he’s shown signs of promise. The Pirates aren’t giving up on him just yet.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he sent Tucker down to get consistent at-bats and work on his lefty swing more consistently.
“In fairness to him, we need to give him an opportunity to work on it probably in an environment that’s a little bit different than here,” Shelton said.
This move that Tucker is making at the plate could be what he just needs.
The Pirates aren’t in a position to give up on young talent, so Tucker will be back. For now, he can spend more time practicing his new approach, without the pressures of producing on a major league level for a team that despite its record is only 6.5 games out of first.
“You’ve just got to go into it with that attitude and that mindset of confidence and coming at it from a place of power,” Tucker said. “It got to the point where I was feeling like, man, I kind of feel like I would feel better hitting left-handed against this guy than right-handed. That’s kind of how we got here.”
The Show is no rodeo for MLBbros. Wishing Tucker the best of luck and a quick return to the big club. By the way, having actress Vanessa Hudgens as a girlfriend is not a bad consolation prize.
Josh Naylor had a historic night on Monday, one for the MLB record book.
Naylor played a significant role in mounting a comeback for the Cleveland Guardians. Going into the ninth inning, the Tribe trailed 8-2 and went on to score six runs to force extra innings and eventually win the game–12-9 over the Chicago White Sox.
JOSH NAYLOR GRAND SLAM 🙌
Guardians score 6 runs in the ninth to tie the game.
Most people may have thought the White Sox were going to cruise to a victory going into the ninth inning, but Naylor and the Guardians had different plans.
Down to their final out in the ninth inning, Naylor stepped up to the plate for the Guardians and hit a grand slam to tie the game up.
Talk about a clutch moment right there, but he wasn’t done. In the 11th inning, he launched a three-run homer to secure the win for the Guardians.
Guardians’ manager Terry Francona has enjoyed watching Naylor at the plate this season.
“We all see some days, it’s a little harder for him to move around a little bit, and that’s understandable,” Francona said in an article from the Akron Beacon Journal. “But he looks really good in the batter’s box. And you can tell when things happen, how much it means. He’s really emotional, but I get it. He missed playing baseball and he missed playing with his teammates, and it means a lot to him.”
It’s good to see Naylor having this success early on in the season because he’s been through a lot.
He was making a name for himself last season in Cleveland before suffering a leg injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
Naylor had to put in the work during the off season to make sure to get back to dominant form.
And his hard work is paying off. Through 19 games this season, he’s hitting .338 with four home runs and 21 RBI. There’s no question that he’s been one of the hottest hitters in the American League as of late. You can see how much confidence he has at the plate now and that has been a key part of his development over the last few seasons.
Naylor possesses a lot of power in that bat and we’re starting to see that more consistently now.
“Nothing surprises me what he can do with the bat,” teammate Franmil Reyes said about Naylor’s performance on Monday night in an ESPN article. “That was amazing. A legendary moment.”
The Guardians have a special talent and need to do all they can to keep him around because he has All-Star potential.
Michael Brantley is picking up where he left off last season. The 14-year veteran has been a spark for the Houston Astros at the plate since he joined the team. His consistency and mechanical mastery at the dish earned him the nickname, “The Professional.”
And this season, he’s still showing why he’s one of the best hitters in the game.
Through 24 games, Brantley is leading the team in batting average (.278) and hits (27). A big reason the Astros wanted to go after Brantley after the 2018 season was because of his ability to hit. Our MLBbro has not disappointed at all and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down at the plate.
This season, Brantley has had numerous clutch hits, just like he has throughout his career.
On May 7, the Astros trailed the Detroit Tigers 2-1 in the eighth inning. With the game on the line, Brantley was calm, cool, and collected as he hit a triple to score Jose Altuve and tie the game.
Brantley would later come in to score to give the Astros the lead and secure the win. He was pleased with how his team fought in that game against the Tigers.
“Tip your cap, but at the same time, this lineup’s always going to fight to the end,” Brantley told the Houston Chronicle. “We got a great group of guys that work hard to grind out at-bats and put up good at-bats over and over and over. So it’s not necessarily how you draw it up, but we’ll take the win.”
“I just think we’re playing as a team,” he said. “Our pitching staff is carrying us, but we’re actually getting some good knocks and some big hits at the times that we need it for this win streak.”
The confidence that this brother has at the plate is amazing. He’s that player that you always want in your lineup because you know he’s going to make the most of his at-bats each and every time he steps in that box.
His presence in the lineup affects the entire team in a positive way. If the Astros find themselves struggling at the plate, Brantley is the guy that can change the whole dynamic of the offense.
This season, he has eight multi-hit games and was recently riding a four-game hitting streak.
Houston is a team that can make some noise going into the postseason and Brantley does not shy away from the big stage.
The numbers speak for themselves when talking about how good of a hitter Brantley is. When his career is over, he will always be considered as one of the top hitters in the game.
And a big reason why he’s the best of the best is the work he puts in during the offseason. Let’s be real, one of the hardest things to do in baseball is hit a ball.
You never know what pitch is coming or how hard it is going to come at you.
But Brantley makes it look easy out there and he’s going to continue to have success this season at the plate because he’s a professional hitter.