Feels like April belongs to Mookie Betts and the Red Sox. Under the guidance of rookie manager Alex Cora, Boston’s won 16 of their first 18 games after disposing of the Angels Thursday night. Once again, Betts homered, his sixth this season, and finished 2-for-5 with two runs and a double. Since his debut in 2014, Betts leads the majors with 12 games with at least three extra-base hits while no other player has eight. It’s also easy to overlook, but Rafael Devers leads the team with 17 RBI, he racked up three hits last night with two more RBI.

Speaking of riches, Eduardo Rodríguez worked six innings giving up three hits, two earned runs and three walks with five strikeouts. He also recorded 20 swinging strikes of his 104 pitches (19.2 swinging strike percentage) along with 12 called strikes versus the Angels who entered the game swinging and missing at pitches 17.5 percent of the time. In spite of the performance, the Red Sox rotational ERA went up to 1.98 on the season. When you’re hot, you’re hot.

That Just Happened

Trying to keep pace in the American League East, the Yankees squared off with Toronto in the Bronx. CC Sabathia returned from the disabled list and made it through 4.1 innings allowing two runs (both unearned) on four hits with a strikeout. Dating back to last year, when Sabathia takes the mound after a Yankees loss, he’s made 13 starts working 76.2 innings with a 1.88 ERA.

Aaron Judge became the fastest player to reach 61 career home runs needing only 199 games surpassing a record which stood since 1988 set by Mark McGwire who reached it in 204 games. Teammate Giancarlo Stanton snapped a 15 at-bat hitless streak with an infield single. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side for his third save in the ninth and he’s whiffed 56.7 percent of hitters faced this year.

Manager Mickey Callaway faces his toughest challenge yet. It’s not his bullpen choices or a lineup decision, rather, what will he do with Matt Harvey . His cantankerous starter entered last night’s game on an 11-game streak in which he pitched five innings or fewer. The good news, Harvey did complete six innings in Atlanta, the bad news, he yielded eight hits and six earned runs in the process. Callaway would not guarantee Harvey’s turn in the rotation. When asked by the media his thoughts, Harvey only responded intimating he’s a starting pitcher and would not speculate on being demoted. Stay tuned to see how the "Dark Knight" handles his career at a crossroads.

Did you know Preston Tucker ’s tied for second in RBI in the majors this year? He went 2-for-4 against the Mets with two doubles and five RBI. Kurt Suzuki added his third home run raising his on-base plus slugging percentage to 1.030 on the year. From 2014-to-2016 Suzuki hit 16 home runs in 1,230 at-bats. After hitting his third dinger, dating back to July first of last season, he’s hit 18, needing only 201 at-bats (a home run every 11.2 at-bats).

Jake Arrieta showed up big versus Pittsburgh striking out 10 in seven innings of work. He only needed 97 pitches, while he allowed only one hit and two walks during his shutout innings with 14 swinging strikes and 20 called. Rhys Hoskins added his third home run and continues to mash right-handed pitching. As for Jameson Taillon , regression hits hard. He lasted less than two innings giving up five earned runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. By the way, rookie Victor Arano worked a clean ninth inning preserving the shutout. He’s faced 25 hitters this year and retired each of them with 10 strikeouts. Keep his name stashed away for potential second half saves.

Milwaukee entered Thursday’s contest with only 24 runs scored in its first 10 game home games at the hitter friendly Miller Park. They exploded for 12 runs on 13 hits including Ryan Braun ’s pinch hit home run (4) driving in three and helping him reach 1,000 RBI for his career. Lorenzo Cain cracked three hits, including his second home run, scored four runs, drove in two and walked once.

Quick Hits

Madison Bumgarner had the pins removed from his hand and remains on track to throw in two weeks before starting his rehab process. He could return by his slated timetable.

San Francisco, desperate for offense, will promote Mac Williamson who’s hit six home runs at Triple-A to start the year with a .489 average. Hunter Pence will land on the disabled list with a thumb issue.

Teoscar Hernandez will try to remain with Toronto when Kendrys Morales returns. Through his first 31 games as a Blue Jay, he’s hit nine home runs with three different games of three RBI.

Texas prospect Willie Calhoun launched two home runs at Triple-A last night, but seems set to stay down until early May so the team can gain an extra year of control. Patience grasshoppers.

Arizona spark plug Chris Owings left the game after colliding with A.J. Pollock but it’s being reported as a contusion and not a concussion. Monitor his progress.

On Tap for Friday

Not only will baseball feature, weather permitting, a 15-game slate with a doubleheader included, but Max Scherzer will face Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles this evening.

Can Sonny Gray translate his continued tinkering to success versus Toronto at home? Will Dylan Bundy keep the Indians offense in a tailspin in a start at home? Who will the White Sox start versus the Astros and does it matter with Justin Verlander on the mound?

Which game yields the higher run total? Miami at Milwaukee or the Cubs at the Rockies?

Can any team slow down Mookie Betts who leads the majors in average (.391), runs (22), slugging percentage (.797) and on-base plus slugging (1.277)? It’s going to be tough to ask Oakland to do so, especially with Kendall Graveman ’s 9.87 ERA pitching tonight. Drew Pomeranz will make his 2018 debut in this same game.

Be sure to check back for the Friday night Closing Bell along with reading all the great DFS work and articles to prepare for the weekend along with waivers on Fantasy Alarm.


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