MLBits: Astros Clobber White Sox, Pujols Pursuit of 700, Fried Bests deGrom, Blue Jays Crush the Yankees, More

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MLBits: Astros Clobber White Sox, Pujols Pursuit of 700, Fried Bests deGrom, Blue Jays Crush the Yankees, More

Chicago Cubs

If you had told me this spring that the Bears would score 24 points on the same day that the White Sox allowed 21 runs, I would have probably called you a liar. But, here we are.

Astros Clobber White Sox

The White Sox took the field winners of four of their last five games with a chance to take three-of-four from the American League’s best team, the Houston Astros, before a pivotal weekend tilt with the Guardians. They sent their incumbent ace Lucas Giolito to the mound for the occasion. But, Lucas Giolito delivered a performance on par with his 2022 season rather than the one they needed.

That solo home run to Trey Mancini was only the beginning. Houston would eventually score three touchdowns on the White Sox on Thursday afternoon, chasing Giolito from the game in the fourth inning. Giolito’s final line: 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 85 P.

Alex Bregman had a field day with White Sox pitching. Bregman went 4-for-4 with two home runs and two doubles while driving in six runs for the Astros.

Lucas Giolito’s ERA is now at 5.34 on the season, the second worst mark in baseball among starters, with at least 100 innings pitched. Only Patrick Corbin’s 6.96 ERA is worse than Giolito’s. It’s maddening to see Giolito go from a Cy Young vote-getter and a two-time postseason starter to one of the worst pitchers in baseball so quickly. So much so that if the White Sox were to find a way to sneak into the postseason, Giolito would likely be the fourth starter to get a start.

After the White Sox took two close games from the Astros to open the series and dropped another close one on Wednesday night, Houston served them a big piece of humble pie and reminded them that they’re not in the same class.

Pujols Pursuit of 700

Albert Pujols entered Wednesday’s game off the bench after the Cardinals jumped out to a big lead over the Rockies. The slugger inched closer to history with this grand slam off Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber.

Gomber, a Cardinals player traded to the Rockies in the Nolan Arenado deal, is having a rough season for Colorado. Gomber is sporting a 5.86 ERA.

Pujols’ pinch-hit grand slam was career home run No. 690, putting him just 10 home runs away from the illustrious 700 club, the icing on the cake for a sure-fire Hall of Fame career. The Cardinals have 49 games left this season, but Pujols has been a part-time player for the Cardinals during his farewell tour this season. Pujols has no more than 50 at-bats in any month this season, so with playing time not guaranteed, it’ll be tough to get there. With St. Louis in the thick of a race for a division title, it’s unlikely that Pujols gets any extra at-bats for the sake of chasing 700 home runs.

ESPN Stats & Info provided us with this fun fact on Thursday afternoon:

Fried Bests deGrom

If you’re a fan of pitching duels, last night’s Jacob deGrom vs. Max Fried matchup in Atlanta was one you probably tuned into. If you were instead watching the Bears preseason game, then you missed a good one.

Jacob deGrom, who has been lights out since returning from the IL, was solid again despite leaving with the loss in this one. deGrom allowed three runs on five hits in six and two-thirds innings while striking out nine Braves hitters and walking none. deGrom was charged with the loss when Vaughn Grissom (deGrom was responsible for despite Lugo taking over in relief) scored from first base on this single by Michael Harris II.

That was the difference in a 3-2 win for Atlanta that drew the Braves a game closer to the Mets in the NL East standings. While deGrom was saddled with the loss, he looked like this most of the game:

Max Fried bested deGrom by the narrowest of margins last night, tossing seven innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out six and walking none. A two-run home run by Mark Canha in the top of the fifth inning was the only blemish on Fried’s evening. Fried admitted that squaring off against Jacob deGrom was on his mind last night:

“When you’re going up against a guy like Jacob deGrom, you kind of just bring everything you got.”

Here’s how he answered the call:

Odds and Ends

  • Josh Donaldson’s walk-off grand slam on Wednesday night could have been just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees as they look to break out of their second-half swoon. Instead, the Blue Jays greeted them with a nine-run outburst in the lid-lifter of their weekend series in The Bronx.
  • Royals rookie Michael Massey hit his first career home run on Thursday in Tampa Bay. Massey, who has local ties, was raised in south-suburban Palos Park and is a University of Illinois graduate.
  • Max Fried was doing a little bit of everything for the Braves last night. Here he is flashing some leather:
  • What a play by Adrian Sampson!
  • Manny Machado DESTROYED this Anibal Sanchez offering!
  • Here are all of the home runs from Thursday:
  • Mets’ first baseman Pete Alonso will be playing for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic next spring.
  • Marcell Ozuna just can’t seem to stay out of trouble:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.