MLB News & Moments You Should Know: 5/19/2024

Imanaga adds seven more shutout innings to lower ERA to 0.84.

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How fleeting is success in MLB? Just a week ago, we were chronicling the Minnesota Twins‘ 12-game winning streak. Since then? The Twins haven’t won, dropping their sixth straight Saturday, getting pounded by the Cleveland Guardians 11-4. Baseball has hot and cold streaks all the time, which makes this 162-game journey such an incredible thing to watch.


Today’s Headlines


More Zeroes For Imanaga

When you start being linked with certain names, accomplishments start to be put in proper perspective. After Shota Imanaga tossed seven more shutout innings in the Chicago Cubs‘ 1-0 walk-off win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Japanese right-hander has an ERA of 0.84. It is the lowest mark through a pitcher’s first nine career starts since Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Fernando Valenzuela’s 0.91 in 1981. Imanaga allowed four hits while walking one and striking out seven and now has the fourth-best ERA in his first nine starts. But on this day, Imanaga was matched by the Pirates’ Bailey Falter, who scattered three hits over 7.2 innings. It led to a dramatic finish when Christopher Morel singled home Cody Bellinger from second in the bottom of the ninth. The play needed a replay review to confirm the safe call.


Soto Smashes, Gil Deals As Yankees Win 6th Straight

The question you have to ask with any team’s quick early start to the season is: How real is this? Following the New York Yankees‘ 6-1 triumph over the Chicago White Sox, they are 32-15 with six consecutive victories. But what do the numbers behind that say? Their Pythagorean record entering Saturday was 31-15, so perfect there. They are playing similarly at home (15-6) as they are on the road (17-9), and they are beating teams above .500 (15-7) at about the same rate they are teams below .500 (17-8). There are two factors why the team that finished fourth in the American League East is now leading the division at this early stage.

First is Juan Soto. The generational hitting talent has thrived in pinstripes, notching his first two-homer game Saturday against the White Sox as part of a 4-for-4 day. Second, is starting pitching. That was evidenced by right-hander Luis Gil, who struck out 14 (a record for a Yankees rookie) in six innings. Soto’s pair of smashes gave him 11 on the season, joining Aaron Judge (12) and Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his 11th just before Soto’s second blast, in double digits.


Jays Searching For Answers

Perhaps it was fitting that the Toronto Blue Jays jumped out to a 4-0 lead, only to lose 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays. It came following Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins meeting the media pregame as his team has underachieved this season, entering Saturday’s action 19-24. Atkins expressed faith that the Jays could turn it around and contend, yet also said the team’s struggles have been hard to identify. “We just see it as something we need to correct,” Atkins said. “You don’t just tell someone to swing harder or swing in certain counts more aggressively. It’s not as simple as that. Hitting is the most dynamic and challenging challenge in professional sport.”


Matos’ Sizzling Start Continues

You might not know that Luis Matos made his MLB debut in 2023, playing in 76 games for the San Francisco Giants. But it only took back-to-back games in 2024 to make himself known to scores of baseball fans. Just a day after driving in a career-high five runs, the center fielder went one better by plating six runs and making a highlight-reel catch in the Giants’ 14-4 triumph over the Colorado Rockies.

Matos has had quite the week since being called up from Triple-A. After making the Opening Day roster and playing one game before going down, Matos has now driven in 17 runs in six games in which he has had a plate appearance, the most to start a season in franchise history. His 17 RBIs are also three more than he had in 228 at-bats last year. As part of his big day Saturday, which included hitting a three-run homer, Matos also crashed into the wall in left-center to rob a homer from Alan Trejo.


Best Moments From Yesterday


Shredding In The Cove

The San Francisco Giants held Skate Day, which included a Skate Jam in McCovey Cove and a long-sleeve hooded shirt, designed by city artist Jeremy Fish, given to the first 15,000 fans. A true Only in San Francisco moment.


It’s Mandatory

If it is your bobblehead day, you are required by international baseball law to do something special. For Cleveland Guardians third baseman José Ramírez, that meant not only hitting a home run but doing it to cap a 12-pitch at-bat. Oh, and he also approves of his bobblehead (not everyone does).


Injuries and Other Moves


The New York Mets offered slugging first baseman Pete Alonso a seven-year, $158 million contract last summer, but the deal never got close to being consummated.

Baltimore Orioles right-handed starter Grayson Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) was activated off the 15-day IL and started Saturday vs. the Seattle Mariners. Right-hander Mike Baumann was designated for assignment.

Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung (wrist surgery) had his timeline for a return pushed back yet again. Originally slated to miss six weeks, that was stretched to eight to 10 weeks following the procedure and has now been extended until around the All-Star break. Jung was hit by a pitch on April 1 in the team’s fourth game of the season.

Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke is working out in Arizona as he continues to contemplate a return. Greinke, a 40-year-old right-hander who became a free agent after the 2023 season, is using the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ spring training facility as a courtesy from one of his former teams.

Giants right-handed starter Alex Cobb (right shoulder irritation) had a second cortisone shot in his right shoulder and has temporarily halted his throwing program. Cobb developed the shoulder issue in April as he was making his way back from hip surgery in October.

Atlanta right-handed reliever Pierce Johnson (right elbow inflammation) has been activated from the 15-day IL.

The Tampa Bay Rays acquired left-hander Richard Lovelady from the Chicago Cubs for minor-league left-hander Jeff Belge. Lovelady had been designated for assignment by the Cubs this week.


Articles You Should Read


Will A’s trade Miller? The thought is ridiculous and typical — John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle

Should umpires be connected to PitchCom?  Correa thinks so — Dayn Perry, CBS Sports

‘Freak of nature’: Inside Ohtani’s hot start with Dodgers — Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


Starting Pitcher Roundup

Hitter Performances

Reliever Ranks

Starting Pitcher Streamers


Steve Drumwright

Steve Drumwright is a lifelong baseball fan who retired as a player before he had the chance to be cut from the freshman team in high school. He recovered to become a sportswriter and have a successful journalism career at newspapers in Wisconsin and California. Follow him on Twitter and Threads @DrummerWrites.

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