MLB In Full Bloom - Javier Baez Fuels Cubs Victory - 8/8/2014

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Javier Baez hit the game-winning homer in extra innings in his major league debut on Tuesday night as he continued to impress yesterday in hitter-friendly Coors Field. Baez fueled the hype leading up to his home debut today by smacking two home runs to cap a three-hit, four-RBI performance that enabled the Cubs to coast to a 6-2 victory over the Rockies. Strikeouts are going to be an issue for Baez as he fanned nearly 30 percent of the time between Double- and Triple-A, but we're already getting a look at the power he can provide from a middle infield position. It's exciting to see some of the pieces begin to fall into place with the Cubs after four years of losing. Baez doesn't know where he is going to live for the duration of the season, but Cubs fans can look forward to seeing their 21-year-old phenom settle in the batter's box today when he makes his Wrigley Field debut.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jon Lester threw a three-hit shutout against the Twins as the Athletics won 3-0 on Thursday night in Oakland. Lester racked up eight strikeouts and had a perfect game through five innings. He found himself in trouble in the sixth, when Brian Dozier very nearly tied the game with a three-run homer that hooked foul. Outside of that inning, the Twins were helpless against the left-hander. Lester will look to keep it going against the Royals in Kansas City in his next start.
  • Giancarlo Stanton belted his 27th home run of the season in a losing effort Thursday against the Pirates. The Marlins' offense was held in check by Edinson Volquez and the Pirates bullpen until Stanton put the Marlins on the board with a two-run shot in the ninth. Stanton continues to post a .289 BA over 114 games with 27 home runs and 76 RBI.
  • Angel Pagan (back) went 2-for-5 in his return from the disabled list on Thursday. Pagan returned to his usual role as the Giants' leadoff hitter after missing seven weeks with a back injury. He will hit for average and be a good source of runs and stolen bases. Pagan is definitely worth a pick up if he was dropped due to his injury.
  • Jake Lamb went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in his major league debut in the Diamondbacks' 6-2 loss to the Royals on Thursday. Lamb, a sixth round pick in 2012, batted .318 with 14 home runs and 79 RBI in 103 games at Double-A. He figures to get regular playing  for the starting spot at third. The rookie should be picked up in NL-Only leagues and deeper mixed league formats.
  • Wily Peralta collected his MLB-leading 14th win Thursday against the Giants, allowing one run on seven hits and a walk over 6.2 innings and he struck out nine. Big strikeout numbers like this have been rare for Peralta, who entered Thursday's action with just 99 strikeouts in 138 innings. But even if he hasn't been totally dominant, he's been steady and the Brewers offense has been very supportive. He'll try to make it 15 wins Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley.
  • Kyle Hendricks completed eight innings and held the Rockies to two runs in Thursday's win. Hendricks doesn't miss a whole lot of bats, but in his last three starts, he's walked a total of two batters and given up just one solo home run. Overall, he's 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA, with the lone loss coming in a 1-0 game. His peripherals say he's been lucky so far, but if he keeps getting grounders and avoiding walks, he won't fall far.
  • The Chicago Cubs claimed Cole Hamels off waivers earlier this week, but it appears unlikely that the Cubs and the Phillies will make a trade for the left-hander. Hamels has more than four years left on his $144 million, six-year Phillies deal. It was reported that Hamels was claimed Wednesday, so the 48-hour window to complete a trade would close Friday.