MLB

Baddoo's historic MLB show continues, Giolito-Bieber duel lives up to the hype

By Sports Desk April 14, 2021

Akil Baddoo's history-making MLB season continued after starring in the Detroit Tigers' 8-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Tigers rookie Baddoo – selected in the Rule five draft, which aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be willing to play them in the major leagues – has made a flying start to his career with the Tigers.

Baddoo, who was a Rule five pick in December having been originally drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016, is already the first player in modern MLB history to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

The 22-year-old outfielder added to that on Tuesday after homering in the Tigers' comprehensive victory away to the Astros in Houston.

Through eight games, Baddoo has four homers, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his 1.043 slugging percentage is the highest in American League (AL) history through eight career games.

Baddoo is also the first Tigers player to drive in a run in six or more of his first eight career games since Don Ross in 1931, while only four players in MLB history have had more than six such games – Jorge Soler most recently with seven in 2014.

 

Giolito and Bieber put on a show, Duvall makes history

The Shane Bieber-Lucas Giolito pitching duel did not disappoint as the Cleveland Indians edged the Chicago White Sox 2-0. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Bieber pitched three-hit ball over nine scoreless innings in a battle of the All-Star aces. Bieber also finished with 11 strikeouts. Bieber has 35 strikeouts this season. Through three appearances of a season since 1983, only Nolan Ryan (37 in 1973) and Gerrit Cole (36 in 2018) have only managed more. Giolito also impressed across seven scoreless innings, only giving up three hits with eight strikeouts.

Adam Duvall posted seven RBIs in the Miami Marlins' 14-8 success against the Atlanta Braves. In September last year, he had nine RBIs for the Braves against the Marlins. Duvall in the first player in history with a seven-plus RBI game for both sides of the same matchup, per Stats Perform. He also joined Alex Rodriguez as the only two players since 1954 to have multiple games with seven RBIs, two homers and four runs.

The Pittsburgh Pirates topped the San Diego Padres 8-4, despite walking 13 and hitting three batters. According to Stats Perform, the Pirates are the first team to issue at least 16 combined batters walked and batters hit in a nine-inning win since the Browns in 1948.

 

Strasburg struggles

Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals were put to the sword 14-3 by the St Louis Cardinals. World Series champion and MVP Strasburg gave up eight hits, eight runs – seven earned – and three homers on five walks across four tough innings. Strasburg was replaced after allowing all three batters to reach base in the fifth, leading to a nine-run inning for the Cardinals.

 

Betts back with a bang

Following a four-game absence due to a stiff lower back, Mookie Betts made a smashing return to the Los Angeles Dodgers' line-up. He hit a 394-foot home run as the World Series champions routed the Colorado Rockies 7-0.

 

Tuesday's results

Oakland Athletics 7-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles 7-6 Seattle Mariners
New York Mets 4-3 Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets 4-0 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 4-2 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-4 San Diego Padres
Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 New York Mets
Texas Rangers 8-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Miami Marlins 14-8 Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs 3-2 Milwaukee Brewers
St Louis Cardinals 14-3 Washington Nationals
Kansas City Royals 3-2 Los Angeles Angels
Cleveland Indians 2-0 Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers 8-2 Houston Astros
San Francisco Giants 7-6 Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-0 Colorado Rockies

 

Red Sox at Twins

American League (AL) East leaders the Red Sox (7-3) will put their seven-game winning streak on the line in a doubleheader against the Twins (5-5) on Wednesday.

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    Haaland produced an incredible display as City swatted aside Manchester United for a 6-3 derby win on Sunday, scoring a treble and teeing up two goals for fellow hat-trick hero Phil Foden.

    The Norwegian – who has scored 14 goals in his first eight Premier League appearances – has now scored a hat-trick in three successive home league games, becoming the first player to do so in the competition's history.

    After watching Haaland tear United apart at the Etihad Stadium, Schmeichel picked out similarities between the 22-year-old and several striking legends.

    "The biggest part of a good striker is patience. I played against some of the best strikers, and when they go missing is when you really have to concentrate," the former United and City goalkeeper told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "The Cristiano Ronaldos, the Filippo Inzaghis of this world – they disappear then all of a sudden they get the chance.

    "When you look at Haaland, you see different players. That Zlatan-like goal, and Ronaldo is in there too. You see top, top strikers in one.

    "That is why he is so dangerous. He has the luxury of seeing many top strikers and they are all put into one player."

    Haaland's dominant display on Sunday saw him become just the 25th player to record five goal involvements in a Premier League game – and the youngest to ever do so (22 years, 73 days).

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    Haaland has already found the net 17 times this season, with five of those strikes being laid on by De Bruyne, who has a total of 10 assists in 2022-23.

  • 'Zach doesn't flinch' – Saleh credits returning Wilson after Jets see off Steelers 'Zach doesn't flinch' – Saleh credits returning Wilson after Jets see off Steelers

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    When Gavi made his international debut for Spain in October 2021, most onlookers would have been asking who this fresh-faced teen was.

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    Pablo Martin Paez Gavira made his La Roja debut against Italy in the Nations League at San Siro aged just 17 years and 62 days, becoming Spain's youngest-ever player, taking the record from Angel Zubieta, who had debuted in 1936.

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    Remarkably, Gavi had only made four starts for Barca before getting the nod for his country in that crucial Nations League game, showing the early impact made.

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    Another Barella challenge

    He will come face-to-face with one of those midfielders again on Tuesday, as Barella and Inter welcome Barca to Milan.

    Barella has emerged as one of the finest midfielders in Europe in the last few years, playing a key role in the Nerazzurri's Serie A title win in 2021.

    Comparisons have been made between the Italian and Gavi, which may not make Barella feel all that good considering it makes him the veteran of the debate at the age of 25.

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    Looking at the stats for their clubs last season, Barella made 48 appearances in all competitions for Inter while Gavi made 47 for Barca, albeit the former made 47 starts compared to 36 for the teenager.

    Barella had 16 goal involvements (four goals, 12 assists), while Gavi had seven (two goals, five assists), and the Italian was more of a threat in attack generally, creating 81 chances from open play compared to 25 from the Spaniard.

    He was also more involved on the ball, averaging 55.84 passes per 90 minutes against 45.15, though Gavi did boast a higher success rate, with 89.23 per cent of his passes finding a team-mate against 85.44 per cent from Barella.

    The Inter man had a better tackle success rate of 59.77 per cent to 49.77 per cent, but the Barca youngster claimed more interceptions (32 to 29) despite playing fewer minutes.

    The impressively combative nature of Gavi is also clear when comparing, as he committed 91 fouls to Barella's 37, which might not sound ideal but for a team that attacks as high as Barca do, tactical fouls are often vital to prevent swift counters.

    It appears Barella has the edge on Gavi at the moment as an overall package, but that is hardly a surprise given the latter is more than seven years younger.

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    It could be argued that Gavi continues to be underrated by some.

    With fellow prodigies Pedri and Fati also featuring regularly for Barca and Spain, while being more of a visible goal threat than Gavi, it is easy for him to get a bit lost in all the praise, though it does not seem to be slowing down his growth as a player.

    In late August, Gavi made his 50th appearance for Barcelona, becoming the first LaLiga player born in 2003 or later to reach this figure across all competitions.

    With his long-term future tied to the Catalan giants and with one of the greatest midfielders the game has ever seen guiding him, the sky really is the limit.

    People will certainly know who he is when he takes to the field at San Siro on Tuesday.

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