The Royals’ bullpen was fifth in the American League with a 3.55 ERA heading into Friday, so the club is not necessarily missing the arm of left-hander Will Smith. But Smith is doing a great job in Milwaukee.
Smith, who was traded last off-season for outfielder Nori Aoki, has a 0.91 ERA (three earned run in 29 2/3 innings) with 37 strikeouts.
Smith made 16 starts for the Royals in 2012, but was used mostly out of the bullpen last year. He’s loving that role in Milwaukee.
Left-handers are hitting just .132 against Smith, so he’s being used in key situations late in games. It sure beats making the I-29 trek between Kansas City and Class AAA Omaha, which Smith did frequently a year go.
“I love it,” he said. “I just prefer to be in the big leagues. Last year, it’s not Kansas City’s fault, what they did, but up and down seven times. That’s just how it was. I was that guy last year.
“That taught me I’m not going to take a day for granted up here, what I’m doing. If I start up here, if I’m in the bullpen up here, it doesn’t matter. I’m here. I love the high-leverage situations. It’s fun.
The Giants are 10-2 in Tim Hudson’s starts, including 8-1 following a loss.
Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for his throw Tuesday that nailed the Angels’ Howie Kendrick at the plate.
Baltimore’s Zach Britton has yet to allow a run in 18 2/3 innings at home this season.
Tigers closer Joe Nathan has allowed 10 earned runs in his last five games (3 1/3 innings). He gave up 10 earned runs all last season with the Rangers.
Heading into Friday’s games, the Padres were hitting .146 in the month of June.
Boston’s David Ortiz is hitting .178 in June.
When the Red Sox beat the Orioles 1-0 on Tuesday, it snapped a 574-game streak (2007-2014) without a 1-0 game at Camden Yards; the longest 1-0 drought at a major-league venue was 846 games (1995-2005) at Coors Field and the active leader is, again, Coors Field (2010-present) with 326 straight without a 1-0 final score.
White Sox DH Adam Dunn has the lowest career batting average (.238) among all major-leaguers with 450 or more homers, “beating” Harmon Killebrew (.256 BA and 573 HRs).
Over the course of six-plus games, Washington starters struck out 51 batters without issuing a walk. As noted by Elias, they’re the first rotation ever to do that, at least since they started keeping track of these things in 1914.
You need to know
After home or road wins, the Nationals’ clubhouse is turned into a 70’s night club complete with a fog machine, red-and-blue strobe lights and a reflective disco ball.
The Royals’ Greg Holland and Sergio Romo of the Giants, through Wednesday, were the only closers in the bigs so far this season who had recorded double-digit save totals at home without blowing one; Holland was 12 for 12 at Kauffman Stadium while Romo was 10 for 10 at AT&T Park.
Detroit’s Victor Martinez struck out for the 17th time on Friday and now has more strikeouts than homers (16).
Words of wisdom
“As I was standing there behind home plate, this giant beach ball is coming in, and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness! That’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.’ I really thought it was a run, and the ball comes flying in. I was like, ‘How did that get here?’ ”
| Oakland pitcher Luke Gregerson on The Throw from Yoenis Cespedes on Tuesday
Compiled with help of baseball reporters around the country
Stats through Friday unless otherwise noted