Buxton to the rescue?
The Minnesota Twins had lost five games in a row before beating the Texas Rangers 4-3 on Sunday. That coincided with the major-league debut of center fielder Byron Buxton, who went 0-for-4 but score the eventual winning run in the ninth inning. Buxton, the second overall pick in 2012, replaced Aaron Hicks on the roster. Hicks is on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury.
The ‘pen is not mightier
To say the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen is bad would be an overly generous statement. The truth is it is downright terrible. Atlanta is tied for first in the majors with 13 blown saves and its bullpen ERA is 4.64, highest in the National League and second highest overall (better than only the Oakland Athletics). The Braves are 4-8 in their last 12 overall and the over is 12-2-1 in their last 15.
Do the cha-cha for Chi Chi
Since being called up the majors, Chi Chi Gonzalez has astounded for the Texas Rangers. The 23-year-old right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.42 ERA with one complete game (June 5 at the Kansas City Royals). Gonzalez will hope to continue his run on Tuesday when Texas hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers.
WAG of the Day
Byron Buxton’s girlfriend Lindsey Tillery
* What in the name of Carlos Martinez is going on out here?!?! Since giving up seven runs in consecutive starts at the beginning of May, the St. Louis Cardinals’ righty has suddenly caught fire. His ERA has shrunk from 4.89 to 2.93 in the span of six outings. He has allowed a mere three runs in his last 33.2 innings. Martinez will take the mound again on Tuesday against visiting Minnesota. The Cardinals are 5-0 in his last five starts and the under is 4-0 in his last four.
* The Detroit Tigers’ pitching staff appears to be in good hands at the moment. Justin Verlander returned with a solid start this past Saturday and David Price has regained his form after a relative rough stretch from late April through mid May. Price (6-2, 2.44 ERA) has tossed two straight complete games and has given up only three earned runs in his last 32.2 innings. The southpaw will be back in action at the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
* Miami Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton extended his hitting streak to seven games on Sunday. Stanton (.261, 23 HR, 59 RBI) homered five times and drove in 12 runs this past week. He has hit safely in 12 of 13 games this month and his June batting average stands at .391.
* The Royals watched four of their regulars hit .136 or worse last week. Second baseman Omar Infante and right fielder Alex Rios both went 1-for-19, designated hitter Kendrys Morales batted .125, and shortstop Alcides Escobar compiled a .136 average. Kansas City is on a two-game skid and the under is 10-1-1 in the team’s last 12 outings.
New York Mets (34-25-5 O/U): A stellar over play throughout the season so far, the Mets have really picked it up of late. They are 5-0 O/U in their last five overall after coming back to win a 10-8 slugfest against Atlanta on Sunday. New York has crossed the plate 28 times in its last five games and has allowed 33 runs in its last six.
* The Boston Red Sox are dealing with a whole host of physical problems (actually, they are struggling with a myriad of problems). Center fielder Mookie Betts was sidelined by a back injury on Saturday and Sunday. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is dealing with quad tightness but played on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Hanley Ramirez is less than 100 percent because of knee and hamstring issues. At 10 games under .500, Boston—which has lost six in a row—is the only AL East team with a losing record.
* San Francisco Giants’ right fielder Hunter Pence has been placed on the 15-day disabled list—retroactive to June 3—because of wrist tendinitis. Pence (.282, 2 HR, 13 RBI) has not played since June 2, when he sustained an initial injury diving for a fly ball. The Giants have lost four in row and the under is 3-0 in their last three games.
* Forecasts are calling for a 51 percent chance of rain in Boston when the Red Sox host the Atlanta Braves Monday evening.
* Conditions could be windy at Wrigley Field Tuesday evening when the Cubs host the Indians. Wind is expected to blow in from left-center field at around 11 miles per hour during the game.