Red Sox 5, Twins 4
Drew had himself quite a night while hitting at the bottom of Boston’s lineup. He not only led the team with four hits and three RBI, but one of his hits was a game-tying home run in the seventh inning and another was a walk-off single to left-center field to end the game in the 11th inning. Since taking over as Boston’s everyday shortstop in mid-April, Drew has had plenty of struggles at the plate, but his big showing on Monday brought his season line up to .225/.317/.380, a rough offensive line made tolerable by his impressive defense. On the plus side for Drew, after an ugly start to his season, he has been better as of late, reaching base in ten straight games with 11 RBI over that span.
In the first three games since returning from a back injury which prompted him to miss seven games, Victorino was just 1 for 12 at the plate, but he broke out the mini slump in a big way on Monday with a three-hit day that featured his first home run as a member of the Red Sox. Even with the home run, Victorino’s power numbers are down compared to past seasons, but he’s hitting line drives at the highest rate of his career, which accounts for a career-best .333 BABIP. Given his speed, those line drives are going to find outfield gaps eventually. Victorino won’t be sitting at two doubles for very long.
Braves 7, Reds 4
Finally thawing after a thick offensive cold streak to begin the season, Simmons is beginning to resemble the player that starred during March’s World Baseball Classic. Simmons had his second three-hit game of the last week on Monday night with two of his hits going for home runs. The homers doubled his season total while his four RBI gave him 15 on the season to go with 17 runs scored. Simmons is now hitting .252/.305/.402 through 29 games, though it doesn’t really matter what his offensive numbers look like considering he’s already established himself as the defensive shortstop in baseball thanks to his incredible throwing arm and near-limitless range. Whether he hits or not, Simmons is a star.
In his season-debut following shoulder surgery over the winter, McCann went hitless in four at-bats with a walk, but his results aren’t important. At least not yet. All that matters for McCann is that he was back behind the plate for Atlanta and appeared more than capable of handling the catching duties. Last season was the worst of McCann’s career as battled through the injury which later required surgery. In 2011, his last fully healthy season, McCann hit .270/.351/.466, and provided his shoulder is sound, there’s no reason to think McCann can’t get close to replicating that kind of production.
Indians 7, Athletics 3
Cabrera’s big day began as the second half of back-to-back home runs in the first inning, and in the fifth he added a second home run to his box score. Entering the game, Cabrera had just two home runs and a meager .374 slugging-percentage. After the game, which also included a walk, Cabrera was slugging .437, a number perfectly in line with his production from 2012 (.423) and near his breakout 2011 (.460). Provided he gets his strikeout rate back to prior levels (22.6% during 2013; 16.6% in career), Cabrera will have no trouble providing star-level offensive output at the shortstop position. With all the slugging surrounding him in Cleveland’s batting order, Cabrera is possibly looking at his first career 100 RBI, 100 run season should he keep drawing walks while upping his rate of contact.
Blue Jays 8, Rays 7
After coming up short in the first inning with two men on base, Longoria didn’t fail in the third as he drove home four with a grand slam to left field, extending Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-0. The lead didn’t last, but Longoria’s home run still counted. The blast was Longoria’s seventh of the season and the four RBI ran his 2013 total to 19. He continues to strike out at a slightly higher rate than in past seasons, but he’s replaced some of his groundballs with line drives, resulting in a career-best .341 BABIP through 31 games. And given Longoria’s personal history, he’s also doing the most important thing possible: staying healthy. He’s yet to miss a game this season.
Cubs 9, Rangers 2
Rizzo’s hot-hitting ways continued with a three-hit night in which he added a fourth trip to the base paths with a seven-pitch walk. Among his three hits was his ninth home run of the season, a shot in the eighth inning to add the final two runs to Chicago’s hefty total. Rizzo has now hit in seven straight games, including have three three-hit showings during that span. He’s slowly cutting down on his strikeouts and making better contact, and the results has been a dramatic increase in his batting average over the past two weeks. Rizzo is now hitting .262/.348/.557 with 25 RBI. There’s nothing about him that doesn’t scream 'future superstar.’
Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 2
Arizona as a team notched 15 hits on Monday night, and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had his share of those with a team-high four base knocks. Among those hits were three singles and a two-run home run which was preceded by a controversial call on what appeared to be a routine fly out followed by a drop during the transfer process but was instead ruled as an error. The homer was Goldschmidt’s sixth of the season, putting him well ahead of his pace from last season in the long-ball department. He is also sitting at 24 RBI through 31 games, a nice sum when paired with a .316/.411/.530 slash-line. At his current rate of improvement, it’s becoming difficult to put a ceiling on Goldschmidt’s offensive abilities.
Phillies 6, Giants 2
Young continued to exhibit his change in approach at the plate while reaching base four times in Philadelphia’s win. Rather than chase a pitch, Young worked a nice walk in which he saw nothing in his hitting zone, and in his other at-bats, when presented with a pitch he could drive, he did just that. Young had a pair of doubles, the first of which drove home Philadelphia’s first two runs of the game and the second of which set up his eventual scoring of the team’s fourth. He’s now hitting .333/.398/.423 in what is unequivocally an unexpected bounce-back season for the 36-year old infielder.
For the second game in a row, Pence was the extent of the San Francisco offense. Following up his four-RBI showing from Sunday night, Pence scored both of the Giants’ runs on Monday. He got the team on the board with a solo home run in the second inning, and in the eighth scored on a throwing error after doubling. He may not do things in an orthodox fashion, and he may have a few flaws to his game, but Pence is a decently-effective hitter and easily one of the most fun outfielders in baseball. Pence is up to six homers and 20 RBI through 32 games, putting him on pace for a career-high in home runs and back-to-back 100 RBI seasons.