Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
It's only May 18, so don't start printing postseason tickets just yet. However, these wins (and losses) are already in the bank, never to be removed from the record of 2017, and playing well now makes life easier later on.
That's good news for the Brewers, who are in first place in the NL Central following an 8-2 run over their last 10 games, and less good news for the Cardinals and Cubs, the former which fell out of first after dropping a two-game series to the Red Sox, and the latter of which hasn't seen first place since May 6 and sits just one game over .500 on the year.
Just like Brewers fans shouldn't get too thrilled about being in first, Cardinals and Cubs fans can't get too broken up about not being there. Yes, the Cubs are just 20-19, but that puts them all of two games back of Milwaukee. The Cards are all of half a game behind, even more impressive when you consider that, thanks to a horrific start to 2017, they were at one point 4.5 games back of first.
With all that being said, the Cubs and Cardinals can't merely dismiss the Brewers as an early season phenomenon. Milwaukee is second in the NL in runs scored, and the only Central team with over 200 already. Yes, they've given up 188 runs, the most in the division, but their run differential (+29) is significantly better than that of the Cards (+15) or Cubs (+8). All three teams, based on run differential, have the record they would be expected to have.
All three clubs have weaknesses, but all three also have plenty of strengths. The Brewers had plenty of potential, but the main question was whether it was going to show itself this year or wait another season or two before manifesting. Given the early season performance, it might be showing itself already. And even if they aren't quite there, these teams' starts are going to help them in the long run.
- We don't expect you to watch every single game, but just know that what went down in an Angels-White Sox matchup was entertaining as can be thanks to an abundance of weird-ass singles.
- Jose Altuve had himself a day, with the Astros second baseman not only going 4 for 5, but all four of those hits were extra-base knocks. A pair of doubles and a pair of triples jumped his slugging percentage from .459 to .510 in one night.
- The benches cleared in Atlanta after a Jose Bautista bat flip that even he admitted was a little much, given it just cut the Braves' lead to 8-4.
- That wasn't the only tense moment in the game, however, as Kevin Pillar possibly directed a homophobic slur at Jason Motte following a quick pitch.
- While Pillar apologized (without saying what he said), it's worth pointing out that if you say homophobic (or racist, or misogynist, or any -ist) words in anger, there is a good chance that it's already something you say. "That's not who I am" or anything like that is basically meaningless, unlike the word they might have used.
- While we're on such a positive note, let's just get it out of the way: Curt Schilling opened his mouth again so that he could say no one denies racism exists while simultaneously denying that racism occurred.
- Meanwhile, Adam Jones donated $20,000 to the Negro League Museum, a place he believes is a valuable educational tool, and not just for black players. Maybe Curt Schilling should take a weekend trip there, though, he's more of a Nazi memorabilia buff when it comes to history.
- Freddie Freeman is undergoing a number of scans on Thursday after he was struck on the hand by a pitch, and initial X-rays were inconclusive.
- Cleveland has been robbed of a homer in three consecutive series, the latest thanks to Kevin Kiermaier and the Rays.
- The A's are buying a fan a new phone after a homer smashed the one they had.
- The Pirates' Jung-Ho Kang lost his appeal of his DUI sentence.