MLB Morning News – 6/28/23

Get caught up on everything you need to know from Tuesday's games.

Stay updated on everything baseball with our morning MLB News & Moments articles. We’ve got you covered to keep you in the know.

Tuesday gave us a full slate of games, including a Shohei start and a rough day for the mighty AL East . Let’s get into it!


Today’s Headlines


Ohtani clinches MVP (?)


At this point, it has become almost moot to list Shohei Ohtani’s superlatives and accomplishments, but today’s game may become the quintessential performancethe one that solidifies his status as MVP, even as early as June. The day started auspiciously, with two pitching strikeouts and a solo HR at the plate during the first inning. That would be only a sign of things to come. Ohtani would lead the Angels to a 4-2 victory, finishing his day with 10 strikeouts and two homers, while allowing a single run. He is now 7-3 with a 3.02 ERA on the mound and sports a 1.040 OPS while leading the league in homers at the plate. Today, he became the first AL pitcher with 10 Ks and a homer since CC Sabathia in 2008, and it marked the first time in his career in which he struck out 10 and hit a homer in the same outing. At this point, the price tag on his upcoming free agency is bound to be unprecedented.


Kershaw, master of altitude


Most pitchers see a date at Coors Field as something dreadful, but Clayton Kershaw is not most pitchers. The future Hall of Famer was masterful again, starting his day with five no-hit innings and cruising to his 10th win of the season with a final line of six scoreless innings and only two baserunners allowed. Even as he only added two strikeouts to his tally, Kershaw relied on inducing soft contact and easy outs for his defense. Even as it would appear difficult to treat Kershaw as underrated, he has found a way to become an unlikely Cy Young candidate. The Dodgers kept pace with the Giants and Dbacks atop the NL West, and the win included JD Martinez’s 300th career home run.



Kind of a bad day, eh?


June 27, 2023 will probably be a day the Toronto Blue Jays will want to forget. It all started with erstwhile ace Alek Manoah getting a rehab start in rookie ball, which was supposed to help him get back on track aiming for a return to the Majors. It went as poorly as it could, with Manoah allowing 11 runs over 2.2 innings against a lineup of teenagers. The big-league club served as no consolation, as they squandered a brilliant 12-K outing by Kevin Gausman, losing 3-0 at home to the surging Giants. While the Blue Jays outhit San Francisco and had several scoring opportunities, they went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The only good news for Toronto is that every other AL East team lost as well, creating no further separation in the division.



Yankees bitten by underdog


Even with a 20+ difference in the win column and a $200 million+ gap in payroll, the Yankees were not able to flex their power against the lowly A’s, losing 2-1 in Oakland. The game was another reminder of how much New York is struggling offensively, going hitless with runners in scoring position, striking out 11 times, and getting their lone run via a homer by the much-maligned Josh Donaldson. Jhony Brito’s strong pitching performance was matched by Oakland’s Paul Blackburn, who earned his first win of the season. The Yankees have now played 18 games following Aaron Judge’s injuryin 9 of them, they have scored two or fewer runs.



The Marlins are real and spectacular


While their run differential remains negative, it is becoming harder and harder to think that the Marlins are not a true contender. Today’s 10-1 bludgeoning of the Red Sox becomes yet another example of how Miami is primed to make some noise deep into the season. Luis Arraez collected two more hits to keep his average close to .400, Joey Wendle went for 4-for-4, while Jazz Chisholm Jr. returned after a lengthy stay on the IL and hit a double in his first at-bat en route to a 2-RBI day. On a more encouraging sign, reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara showed flashes of his 2022 self, tossing seven innings of one-run ball. In a year full of fun, dynamic squads, the Marlins may be the most well-rounded of them all.



Best Moments From Yesterday


The weirdest pitchout ever


In the bottom of the eighth inning of a tense one-run game, the Royals had speedy Nicky Lopez at first. Sensing a potential steal, the Guardians alertly called a pitchout, which apparently was missed by pitcher Trevor Stephan. With a 92-mph fastball moving away from him, somehow rookie catcher Bo Naylor was not only able to catch the ball, but pirouetted expertly to make a throw and get Lopez out by a mile. The highlight is bound to become the catching version of this legendary at-bat.



Age is just a number (times two)


In a season that has been invigorated by the exploits of young stars and exciting rookies, the baseball gods gave us a reminder that talent comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages. With lefty Rich Hill, age 43, getting the start, 42-year-old Nelson Cruz was penciled in as DH to give us one of the oldest combined matchups in recent baseball history. While Cruz went 1-for-3 with an RBI single against Hill, the southpaw led the Pirates to a win, as he earned the 89th victory of his career.



A Brandon family reunion


One of the best parts of the new MLB schedule is seeing unique matchups and ex-teammate reunions throughout the year. One of the most significant happened today, as long-time Giants stalwart Brandon Belt got to face his former team for the first time. It also meant a nice photo op for him and namesake Brandon Crawford, one of his best friends and co-star in this Giants promo from a few years ago. Unite, Brandons of the world!





Following an early exit on Monday’s game against the Rangers, it was confirmed that Matthew Boyd’s elbow injury is severe enough to require Tommy John surgery. This marks the second significant injury for Boyd in less than two years, as he had flexor tendon surgery on his pitching arm in late 2021, making a brief return in 2022 that helped him regain some of his value, as he signed a $10 million free-agent contract with the Tigers last offseason. His numbers this year had been pedestrian (5.45 ERA over 15 starts), and he will come out of this surgery as a free agent again, with a likely timetable to return for the 2025 season.

The Diamondbacks announced that co-ace Merrill Kelly was placed on the 15-day IL with right calf inflammation, with the move being retroactive to Sunday. While the timing of the injury is not ideal as Arizona navigates a tough schedule before the All-Star break, the team can take solace in the fact that it is not an arm ailment. Kelly has been instrumental for Arizona, with a 9-4 record and 3.22 ERA over 16 starts.

Two very recognizable faces were scratched from today’s games, one on the mound and the other from the dugout. For the Padres, Yu Darvish was removed as today’s starter with an illness, which is apparently serious enough to leave him out of the whole series in Pittsburgh, with his status still up in the air for the next one in Cincinnati. In Kansas City, the visiting Guardians played without manager Terry Francona, after he went to a local hospital for precautionary tests. While Francona was feeling well enough to address the situation before the game, this marks another instance in which he has had health issues, making his status for the rest of the season and beyond something to monitor.


Articles You Should Read


Eury Pérez, Starting StrongBen Clemens, Fangraphs

3 Deadline Strategies for the MetsAnthony DiComo, MLB.com


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


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The Prospect Watchlist

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Pablo Figueroa

Pablo Figueroa is a Baseball Writer here at Pitcher List, with experience as a writer since 2013. He lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico - proud home of Los Rieleros. When he´s not thinking about baseball , he's a husband, owns two dogs, watches random episodes of The Sopranos , plays padel, and works on his day job to pay the bills.

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