MLB News & Moments You Should Know: 6/6/2024

Two very different first hits, plus a homer you'd probably expect.

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Today’s Headlines


1,159 For 1

Back in 2013, the Diamondbacks took Jamie Westbrook with the 14th pick in the fifth round of the amateur draft. He spent the next decade playing in the minors for five different teams, going to Milwuakee, Detroit, the Yankees, and Boston. Until Sunday, when the Red Sox called put him in the game as a pinch hitter. He went 0-for-2, and then 0-for-4 on Tuesday. But Wednesday? Well, see below:

It sounds like Boston is planning on running Westbrook out as their starting 2B against lefties, which would mean he’s finally getting a chance to put together some major league time. I’m always an absolute sucker for a story like this, where a guy just keeps grinding and finally gets a shot with a big league club, combined with his family and all of his teammates on the Sox being so excited for him.

How can you not be romantic about baseball?

Justyn, Way Out

Justyn-Henry Malloy didn’t have to wait nearly as long for his first big league hit, but it did go a bit farther:

Malloy ended the day going 2-for-23, adding a single in the eighth. He’ll look to recreate his 2023 Triple-A season, where he hit 23 dingers to go with a .277/.417/.474 line across 135 games for the Tigers as they try to get above .500 on the season.


The Dodgers are in Pittsburgh this week, and that has good odds of meaning it’s time to talk about something Paul Skenes related, with the added bonus of it being Shohei Ohtani related. Well I mean, in this case specifically them facing off against each other on Wednesday afternoon. Skenes jumped out to an early lead, with a hellacious K to kick things off:

Like I said, hellacious.

Ohtani isn’t one to rest on his laurels, though, coming back up in the third inning and launching one 415 feet out to center:

He would also add a 107.6 mph single in the fifth, but it was Skenes who arguably won the day since, well, he got the literal W for the Pirates. That gives him a 3-0 record and a 3.00 ERA for the year so far. Plus a casual 35.7% strikeout rate. No biggie.

(I mean, Ohtani is also hitting .322/.390/.598 with 15 homers and 16 stolen bases, too. It’s not like this is particularly one-sided.)

Hels Bells

You see, because Ryan Helsley is a closer, and all that?

First to 20 saves isn’t nothing, but it’s pretty wild given that the Cardinals only have 29 wins total. Helsley is personally responsible for ensuring 66% of his teams wins in the early going this year. That’s pretty impressive.

Estes Rocket

Seattle remains the only team in the AL West above .500, but Oakland beat them Wednesday behind a very impressive showing from a name you might not expect:

That solitary hit came in the seventh inning, breaking up what had been a perfect game for Joey Estes in his seventh big league start. Mason Miller locked down a five-out save to seal the win, although he did give up a home run to Julio Rodríguez on a 102.5mph fastball, which is tied for the fastest pitch to result in a dinger since 2008. That’s something.

O Cade

Baltimore is looking to promote another top prospect today, although this time it’s not a hitter:

I don’t know much about prospects, but Cade Povich seems to be a consensus top 100 name, and in the top 10 for the O’s team rankings. He was #6 on the Stash Rankings on The List this week, and Rudy summed him up on Monday’s Stash List article thusly:

The 24-year-old left-hander didn’t make a strong statement on Friday for Triple-A Norfolk, giving up six runs in three innings against Gwinnett. It was the first time all season that the 6-foot-3, 185-pound southpaw has given up more than three runs. Camden Yards with its cavernous left-field dimensions is perfect for lefty fly-ball pitchers like Povich, so he could be a difference-maker in fantasy once he gets the shot that should be coming soon.


Best Moments From Yesterday


Garbage Time Hit

Sorry, to be entirely clear, TJ Friedl hit this two-run shot in the fifth inning to tie the game, so it was pretty emphatically not garbage time, it just seemed fitting for the section header.

I don’t think I’ve noticed the little reliever jail they have under the bullpen out there in Colorado, it makes the celebrations funnier and slightly more disturbing.

Anyway, the Reds gave the lead back, but scored two in the eighth and then had a big six run ninth inning to finish their sweep of the Rockies.

Whatcha Gonna Do?

I really need somebody to get Will Smith into the booth at some point to do color commentary along the same lines as he did for Martin Lawrence on the first pitch in Miami yesterday.

This is some Hawk Harrelson-level “here’s a noise I am making, you should know what I mean.” It’s the sonic opposite of an understated Keith Hernandez sigh. It’s magic.

Pitchface, Meet Fieldface?

I love a good pitchface, the ridiculous contortions a pitcher’s facial features will undergo as they try to hurl a ball as hard as possible that can be captured so elegantly by a still camera. Well, we got kind of the opposite of that from Carlos Rodón as he watched the corner outfielders behind him make some pretty nice plays on fly balls:

The plays in question are a running, at-the-wall catch from Alex Verdugo to end the second inning:

And a leaping, over the wall foul grab by Juan Soto in the fourth:

Soto’s been a +1 OAA right fielder this year, his best mark since 2021, to go along with his premium offensive contributions. Pretty cool dude, if I may say so myself.

And if you’d like to hear Rodón react as Soto went up and over the side wall, the Yankees’ mics picked him up shockingly loud and clear:

Rodón’s off to a wildly better start to 2024 than last season, rocking an 8-2 record with a 3.08 ERA. He threw 100 pitches on Wednesday, and his final one of the day was a 98 mph fastball. That’s pretty spiffy.


Pitching Stashes

And we’ll stop back off in Pittsburgh real quick to close things out with some wonderful facial hair from the SportsNet crew:

And also whatever this is:


Injuries and Other Moves


⚾ The Giants activated Austin Slater and optioned Luis Matos as the corresponding move.

⚾ San Francisco also confirmed that Blake Snell has a “mild” left groin strain, with no timetable available as of Wednesday night.

⚾ Bruce Bochy described Corey Seager as experincing “hamstring tightness” and will re-evaluate after the day off.

Manny Machado left last night’s game with a “mild” hip flexor strain.

Kenta Maeda was removed in the first inning of yesterday’s game due to right-side abdominal discomfort.

The Rockies expect to send Kris Bryant back to the IL as his ribs are still causing him some issues.

Cubs pitching prospect Cade Horton is going to be shut down for 3-4 weeks due to a lat strain.



Articles You Should Read


One Fastball Isn’t EnoughJustin Choi, FanGraphs


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


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Closing Time

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Asher Dratel

Asher hails from Brooklyn, wears a 2008 Joba Chamberlain jersey to every Yankees game he attends, and pronounces BABIP funny. Appreciator of Beefy Lad dingers and beers. @asherd.bsky.social on Bluesky.

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