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The hot stove is certainly cooking. Already, a handful of noteworthy moves have been made ahead of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET trade deadline. Teams that were borderline buyers have turned into sellers and some sellers are acting as if there is a clearance sale. Oh, yeah, and there are still games going on, so let’s jump into Friday’s action.
Two Arms For Dodgers
Pitching has been the sore spot for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, so it was no surprise that was the focus of their trade needs. The Dodgers addressed that need in part by acquiring starter Lance Lynn and reliever Joe Kelly from the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Trayce Thompson and Double-A pitchers Nick Nastrini and Jordan Leasure. The numbers on Lynn and Kelly aren’t great, but there are underlying positives that the Dodgers hope to capitalize on with a change of scenery. For Kelly, it is a return to L.A., where he had been a key member of the Dodgers’ bullpen.
Welcome to LA, Lance! pic.twitter.com/U6xnOZ4ZaP
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 28, 2023
Welcome back, Joe! pic.twitter.com/STVVWu2Td5
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 28, 2023
Astros Get Graveman
Looking to add depth to their bullpen and bolster that unit for next season, the Houston Astros re-acquired right-hander Kendall Graveman from the White Sox for catching prospect Korey Lee. Graveman was picked up by the Astros two years ago during his walk year and signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the White Sox before the 2022 season, so the Astros will have him for not only the stretch run this year but all of 2024 as well. For the White Sox, it was the third trade in as many days, with Chicago dealing five pitchers off its staff.
Welcome back to H-Town, Kendall! pic.twitter.com/Dn0o4P5Y5v
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 28, 2023
Ohtani Hits No. 39, But Cramps Up
A day after one of the more incredible single-day performances, two-way Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was back at it, smashing the first pitch he saw in Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays for his MLB-leading 39th homer. But Ohtani, who threw a one-hit shutout in Game 1 and hit two homers in Game 2 of a doubleheader Thursday against the Detroit Tigers, was replaced in the ninth inning by a pinch-hitter down 4-1 with the bases loaded due to cramps in both legs. His replacement, Michael Stefanic, struck out. Angels manager Phil Nevin said Ohtani will be evaluated Saturday as to whether he will be in the lineup.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 28, 2023
Santander, Orioles Spoil Judge’s Return
While Aaron Judge was back in the New York Yankees‘ lineup for the first time since June 3rd, it was the Baltimore Orioles proving why they are the team leading the American League East. Anthony Santander crushed a 2-0 pitch from Tommy Kahnle over the right-field fence for the game’s only run in a 1-0 Orioles victory. Santander’s solo shot was his 18th homer of the season and provided a dramatic ending to a terrific pitching duel. Both teams finished with four hits. Orioles rookie Grayson Rodriguez allowed three hits in six and one-third innings, while Yankees ace Gerrit Cole scattered three hits over seven innings. Judge went 0-for-1 and walked three times in his first game back from his toe injury.
SANTANDER SENDS US HOME!!!!! pic.twitter.com/fr2aJPxR89
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 29, 2023
Tauchman Robs Cardinals Of Walk-off
It was a play that epitomized where the two teams were. Two outs, bottom of the ninth inning with the tying run on third base, St. Louis Cardinals pinch-hitter Alec Burleson did what he needed to by drilling Adbert Alzolay’s pitch deep to center field for what appeared to be a game-winning homer. The only problem was the Cubs center fielder Mike Tauchman had his eye on denying the Cardinals and timed his leap at the wall perfectly to snag the ball and preserve a 3-2 Chicago victory. The Cubs won for the seventh straight game and ninth time in 10 games to move over .500 at 52-51.
HOLY COW!! MIKE TAUCHMAN!
CUBS WIN! pic.twitter.com/K7nFdwZ8im
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2023
Rangers’ Heim Has Wrist Strain
Jonah Heim, one of the better two-way catchers this season, is expected to miss two to three weeks for the Texas Rangers with a strained left wrist tendon. He was placed on the 10-day IL. Heim is expected to rest and rehab the wrist, hoping to avoid season-ending surgery. He has a .280/.337/.479 slash line with 14 homers and 70 RBI. The Rangers acquired Kevin Plawecki from the San Diego Padres for cash to add depth. Plawecki hit a walk-off single against the Rangers’ Triple-A team Thursday, then switched dugouts Friday.
Mikolas Suspended 5 Games
Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas was suspended five games for throwing at the Cubs’ Ian Happ in Thursday’s series opener. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol was also suspended for one game and both Mikolas and Marmol were fined. Mikolas appealed his suspension in hopes of reducing the penalty, so he remains active.
Reds Extend Bell
Manager David Bell, who has guided the Cincinnati Reds through a roller-coaster ride the last few seasons, was given a three-year contract extension through 2026. Bell’s Reds are 57-48 after beating the Dodgers 6-5 Friday and are just a half-game behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.
Best Moments From Yesterday
A Miami Goodbye
Miguel Cabrera is a shadow of the hitter he once was, so his farewell tour this season has been rather under the radar. But Friday was different as Cabrera’s Tigers visited the Miami Marlins. It was in Miami that Cabrera made his name. Including an 87-game rookie year in 2003 as a 20-year-old, Cabrera hit 138 homers in five seasons with the Marlins. So this stop on his farewell tour meant a little more than the others.
You never forget your roots. ? pic.twitter.com/k39nci3msv
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 28, 2023
The new rules in the MLB this season have created some unique situations, but rain still is king when it comes to the strange but true. Take the Philadelphia Phillies–Pittsburgh Pirates game. Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler was dominating, striking out 11 and on his way to a 12th when rain forced a halt to play with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and a 1-2 count on Pirates rookie catcher Endy Rodríguez. When play resumed, Jeff Hoffman relieved Wheeler and struck out Rodriguez on the next pitch, creating a one-pitch strikeout for Hoffman.
We have a one-pitch strikeout in Pittsburgh for Jeff Hoffman, thanks to all those raindrops! pic.twitter.com/VdSspudMmm
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 29, 2023
Injuries and Other Moves
The Colorado Rockies will promote right-hander Chris Flexen from Triple-A to start Saturday’s game against the Oakland A’s. Flexen recently signed with the Rockies after being released by the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets.
Brewers left-handed reliever Justin Wilson (Tommy John surgery) was activated from the 60-day IL to make his season debut but injured his left lat or triceps on his final warmup pitch in the bullpen and will go back on the IL Saturday.
Articles You Should Read
Trade signals Mets acknowledge failure of season — Will Sammon, The Athletic
Padres’ wealth of talent can’t overcome bad luck — Emma Baccellieri, Sports Illustrated
Angels’ Nevin finds his ‘defining moment’ as manager — Sarah Valenzuela, Los Angeles Times
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