Tuesday’s slate of MLB action features 16 total games, including three outside the continental United States. That might be a single day record! Here is everything you need to know from the world of baseball Tuesday. Make sure you check back often for updates.
Indians, Twins begin Puerto Rico Series
This week the Indians and Twins will participate in the 2018 Puerto Rico Series, a two-game set at historic Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. MLB has plans to play games abroad in the coming years —— to help globalize the game, and the Puerto Rico Series is part of the initiative.
The Twins and Indians both have two Puerto Rican players on the roster: Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario for Minnesota and Francisco Lindor and Roberto Perez for the Tribe. (Berrios is slated to start Wednesday’s game.) On Monday, Lindor hosted a baseball clinic for approximately 250 students at the grammar school he attended.
Future Hall of Famer and Puerto Rico native Carlos Beltran will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night, and before the game, MLB will honor eight first responders who risked their lives during Hurricane Maria. Here’s what Beltran told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez about baseball returning to Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria:
“Being in Puerto Rico and understanding the situation and what the island has gone through in the last seven or eight months, it’s good to see baseball back on the island,” said Beltran, who is in the process of building 200 homes in Puerto Rico through his foundation. “I’m happy MLB is trying to make the most of the two games by helping people and letting them know they care and are not forgotten.”
Throughout the week MLB has events scheduled to help the community, as well as events to promote the game of baseball.
Ohtani slated to make third start
Bad weather washed away Shohei Ohtani’s third start of the season over the weekend. He will instead get the ball Tuesday night in the biggest test of his brief MLB career. The red hot Red Sox (13-2) are in Anaheim for the first of three against the equally red hot Angels (13-3).
Ohtani has been excellent on both sides of the ball so far, hitting .367/.424/.767 with three home runs in 33 plate appearances while throwing 13 innings with a 2.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts. In his last start Ohtani retired the first 19 batters he faced, and finished with one hit and one walk allowed in seven shutout innings.
While the triple-digit fastball gets all the attention, Ohtani’s nasty split-finger fastball has been his top pitch so far this season. He’s thrown the pitch 58 times, batters have swung at it 37 times, and they’ve missed 26 times. That 70.3 percent whiffs-per-swing rate is insane. A great whiffs-per-swing rate on a splitter is around 40 percent.
The Red Sox have been an aggressive team at the plate under new manager Alex Cora. They’ve swung at the first pitch in 29.6 percent of their plate appearances so far this season, the ninth highest rate in baseball. Ohtani’s fastball is so good he can power it by hitters even when they’re sitting on it. And when he gets ahead, that splitter is devastating. Putting the ball in play early in the count may be the best way to attack Ohtani.
- Top Nationals prospect OF Victor Robles does not need surgery on his injured left arm, the team announced. Robles hyperextended his elbow making a diving catch in Triple-A last week. He did not suffer any structural damage but will be sidelined several weeks.
- Brewers 1B Eric Thames is expected to avoid the disabled list, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He is nursing an adductor strain and was reevaluated Monday. Thames remains day-to-day.
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