Tyler Gilbert of the Arizona Diamondbacks makes his starting debut as a rookie on the mound to deliver this year’s eighth no-hitter, tying the Major League Baseball record set in 1884. Alex Clark, Mathias Altman-Kurosaki, and I delve into what made the moment so special, even if it has happened three times before in MLB history.
And the tides are shifting throughout MLB for teams competing for a playoff spot, namely in the American League and National League East and maybe even the NL Central. We break down the recent stretch of disappointing play coming from both the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox, who have potentially stumbled their way out of the playoff picture, despite previously leading their divisions.
But let us not count out the Cincinnati Reds, who are currently 10 games above .500 and clawing their way back into the wildcard mix at just one game back behind the San Diego Padres for the second spot. We get into all that and more in this week’s episode of Cheap Seats Chatter.
Cheap Seats Chatter: Tyler Gilbert’s First Ever Start
For the fourth time ever, and the first time since 1953, a rookie pitcher in his major league starting debut throws a no-hitter. Arizona Diamondback Tyler Gilbert, at age 27 and in just his fourth appearance, goes for the full nine innings, yielding zero hits, zero errors, three walks and striking out five against the San Diego Padres on August 14.
There have not been too many silver linings this season for the Diamondbacks, who have stumbled to the worst record in the NL, but this certainly has been one of them. And technically, if counting seven-inning games that are a part of doubleheaders, this would be the Diamondbacks’ second no-hitter of the season, as Madison Bumgarner notched the feat on April 25 against the Atlanta Braves. Considering he was drafted back in 2015 and has moved around the minor league system eight different times within three organizations, it has been a long journey for Gilbert, but he is off to a promising start thus far.
Cheap Seats Chatter: Reds Rising Up
The NL Central could very well be in the bag sooner, rather than later for the sizzling Milwaukee Brewers, but that does not mean the Reds are out of it. In fact, at ten games above .500, Cincinnati is currently tied with the Padres for a wildcard spot in the NL. While there may be some concerns about pitching, especially within the bullpen, it should not come as too much of a shock, considering how explosive the club has been offensively. The Reds are fourth in runs scored, fifth in home runs, and fifth in average league-wide on the season. Joey Votto, in particular, has been heating up with a staggering 17 home runs in his last 32 games, while hitting .336 and slugging .815.
With only the Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago White Sox remaining in their schedule, as far as post-season competition is concerned, it is entirely feasible for the Reds to hold strong to their level of contention. But their pitching all season has been a liablity that warrants monitoring. Outside of Wade Miley and perhaps to a lesser degree Tyler Mahle, the team’s rotation proves to be very tumultuous. Currently ranked 18th in earned run average, 16th in opposing batting average, and 23rd in walks plus hits per inning pitched, there is a lot of cause for concern. And it does not get much better for the bullpen, which ranks near the bottom in several categories as well. It should also be interesting to see how the Reds handle left-fielder Jesse Winker‘s stint on the 10-day injured list with an intercostal strain that is expected to keep him out until at least September.
Cheap Seats Chatter: Mets Submerge Below .500
It may be time to hit the panic button for the New York Mets, because they have devolved into an ugly, hot mess in recent weeks. At 6-16 over their last 22, this team is in need of some sort of resuscitation, whether that be their hitting that continues to remain stagnant or their pitching that previously was a force to be reckoned with. Prior to June 30, the Mets posted a 3.10 ERA collectively, but, since then, that number has skyrocketed to a 4.85. And it certainly has not helped losing previously likely-NL MVP favorite Jacob deGrom to forearm/elbow injury that will keep him out at least until mid-September.
Now six games back, where they trail not only the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, but also the Philadelphia Phillies, the window is closing rapidly for the Mets to earn their first divisional crown since their NL pennant in 2015. And in all likelihood, considering what we are witnessing in the NL West with the number of contenders residing there, the Metropolitans most likely will have to win the division to earn a playoff bid. It will not be easy either with competition like the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants immediately coming up and, later on, the New York Yankees, the Red Sox, the Brewers, the Phillies, and the Braves.
To further compound the current worry state of the team, it does not help having to cope with the unfortunate absence of both Francisco Lindor and newly-acquired Javy Baez due to injury. They both may be expected to be back in the near-future, but how many more games can they afford to be without them before their recent demise gets out of hand?
Cheap Seats Chatter: Flashes of 2011 Nightmare?
It was August 31, 2011, and the Boston Red Sox were holding the best record in the American League at 31 games above .500. Then came September and an unfathomable collapse. From the AL best to not even in the playoffs, the Red Sox went from immaculate to tarnished in just a matter of a month, acquiescing to a 7-20 record within that span of time. It cannot happen again, right?…RIGHT??!! Well, the Red Sox have spiraled into an 8-14 stretch over the last 22 games themselves, similar to that of the Mets. Right now, the Red Sox are third in the division behind the Yankees and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
They have returned both Chris Sale and brand new trade deadline acquisition Kyle Schwarber, who both could bolster this team to the degree of reestablishing contention. But they could have to hit their stride early to get this team back into its previous rhythm, because the Red Sox currently lack a spot in the AL Wild Card with the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics holding both.
And then there are the Toronto Blue Jays, who, yes maybe struggling right now, but are still in the mix of things to make a legitimate run for the post season at still six games above .500. They cool down with tough competition, facing the Texas Rangers this weekend and, right after, the Minnesota Twins, which should help their cause. But the Rays are right there waiting for them in a four game series scheduled at the end of August that could prove to be crucial to the AL East’s standings and, in particular, with the Red Sox.
For the full discussion, make sure to tune into the full Cheap Seats Chatter podcast on Spotify at: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5NYvcOLM08SPGn9krzDp7i
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