MLB News & Moments You Should Know: 5/20/2024

Ohtani wins it. Manoah finally wins. A Sunday full of Ws.

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Today’s Headlines


Walk it Off, Sho


One of the few knocks against Shohei Ohtani with the Angels was a lack of dramatic and memorable moments, even if that was kind of expected with a team that won so sparsely. Now with the Dodgers, Shohei is getting plenty of chances to win, and yesterday he delivered his first walk-off hit since 2020. In a hard-fought game that saw the Reds scratch and claw to tie the game after an early two-run homer by Andy Pages, they failed to score their ghost runner in the tenth, setting up the stage for Ohtani’s heroics. Facing closer Alexis Díaz (who now has three losses on the season) and down to his final strike, the MVP favorite added to his resume with a signature moment. The Dodgers are now 32-17, already opening what should be an insurmountable lead in the NL West.

Excellent, Mr. Burnes


In what looked like a marquee pitching matchup between George Kirby and Corbin Burnes, only the Orioles righty held up his end of the bargain, earning his fourth win of the season with a brilliant six-inning effort. Ten starts into his Baltimore career, the trade for the former NL Cy Young looks like a stroke of genius, as Burnes has gone at least 5.2 innings in every outing, and has yet to allow more than three runs in a game. His ERA now stands at a sparkly 2.56, while today’s 11-strikeout effort matched his season-high. On the other side, Kirby was roughed up for five runs in six innings of work, including a lead-off homer by Gunnar Henderson that set the tone for the Orioles.

Vintage Manoah


Over the past two seasons, Alek Manoah has become one of the most polarizing pitchers in the sport, especially after his disastrous 2023 led to a notorious banishment to the minors. Still, he is still only 26 years old and two years removed from a third-place Cy Young finish, which is why the Blue Jays will probably continue to give him a chance to regain his form.

Sunday, he pitched his best game in more than a year, earning his first win of 2024 with an impressive seven-inning performance with only one hit and one walk allowed against seven strikeouts. He was supported by a strong Daniel Vogelbach game, as the hulking slugger opened the scoring with his first homer of the season and ended up scoring thrice, as Alejandro Kirk delivered a clutch double that put the game away. If Manoah manages to recoup some of his early-career magic, the Blue Jays could suddenly become a different kind of contender.

Best Moments From Yesterday


Giants Complete Rare Sweep


Entering this weekend, the Giants were the only team in MLB without a three-game winning streak, while the Rockies owned the longest active winning streak in baseball. As usual, things turned around quickly, as San Francisco finally broke through with a W3 and today completed their first sweep of 2024, beating Colorado 4-1. The biggest story of the game came in a new chapter of the great Jordan Hicks experiment, as the former closer improved to 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA, pitching five innings with three hits, a walk, and only one strikeout. His solid start was complemented by four relievers who combined for four scoreless frames to secure the win. Despite the recent rash of injuries that has left San Francisco’s lineup with only five of their projected starters in the lineup, the team may finally be clicking.

Chill Will Brennan


In 2023, Will Brennan ended a 14-inning marathon for the Guardians with a walk-off double against the Astros. Today, he revisited his flair for the dramatic, even if it was only the ninth. After a brutal error by closer Emmanuel Clase allowed the Twins to tie the game, Minnesota sent hard-throwing Jhoan Duran to try and send the game to extras. Following two outs and two walks, Brennan stepped up to the plate with a chance to win it, and he ambushed Duran’s first pitch to hit a walk-off homer. It was Brennan’s fifth homer of the season, as well as Cleveland’s fifth win against the Twins, who are still chasing their first win in this key matchup for the AL Central.


Happy SoxDay


The Boston Red Sox have started to fade after a solid start to the season, as they now stand 9.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. However, when it comes to playing on Sunday, they are the best team in baseball. Boston improved to an 7-0 in Sunday games, which now includes a +37 run differential after blowing out the Cardinals 11-3. This is particularly remarkable, and most likely a fun coincidence, as Boston is 16-24 with a -9 differential on all other days. Today’s win was fueled by a great Nick Pivetta start (a solo homer allowed in six innings), and Rafael Devers getting a homer for a fifth straight game. Maybe Alex Cora should convince his players that every day could actually be a Sunday.

Hips Don’t Lie, Get an RBI


The trade for Luis Arraez may end up being one of the defining moves of 2024, as the two-time defending batting champion has provided a jolt for the Padres, with many comparing his bat wizardry to Tony Gwynn’s. The move has also rejuvenated Arraez, who went from languishing with the Marlins to contending with San Diego, and today he showed just how much fun he is having. Using his version of the Soto Shuffle, Arraez decided to do a little dance after taking a clear ball, adding a nice touch on national television as the Padres enjoyed a blowout win in Atlanta.


Bird’s-Eye View 


The history of animals roaming around baseball fields is long, and has included rally squirrels, curse-filled black cats, and curious pelicans. Today, we can add a rebellious bird to the list, as this little guy took a privileged spot on the infield and refused to leave on friendly terms. As the little winged friend tried to enjoy what would become the Yankees’ seventh straight win, opposing players failed to corral him, and it took a member of the grounds crew and a Yankee hat acting as a net to finally get the bird off the field. Here’s hoping that it got at least a few parting sunflower seeds.

Injuries and Other Moves


⚾ Following Saturday’s blown save that led to a loss, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza announced that closer Edwin Diaz will be assigned to lower-leverage spots as he builds his confidence back up. Diaz was reportedly open to this idea, after converting only one of his last five save chances. While his salary and reputation suggest that he should be back to full-time closing soon, having a 5.50 ERA after missing a full season is certainly hard to take for the Mets. While today’s game did not feature a traditional save situation in the ninth, Reed Garrett earned the save by pitching the final two frames. 

⚾ The Cubs are facing mixed results from the injury front, as they are still struggling to field their headlining double-play combo. On one hand, star shortstop Dansby Swanson is expected to return from a short IL stint, as the team is expected to have him back for Tuesday’s series opener against Atlanta. On the other, second baseman Nico Hoerner has not played since May 13, and the team will evaluate if he should head to the IL following Monday’s day off. While Nick Madrigal has been a capable replacement defensively, his lack of offense (62 wRC+) has been evident during Chicago’s recent skid. 

⚾ As the Astros are slowly climbing out of their early-season hole, things continue to look better, as the team indicated that three veterans are soon returning to the big-league roster. On the position player side, José Abreu and Chas McCormick are expected to return this very week. McCormick has been out with a hamstring injury since late April, while Abreu was demoted following a dismal start to the season. While playing time for both is still unclear, their presence should be important for the offense as a whole. More importantly, starting pitcher José Urquidy is expected to make one more rehab start before returning to the rotation. With Houston facing multiple pitching absences, Urquidy’s return will be key. 


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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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