3 Up, 3 Down: Pillar makes incredible catch, Mets outlast Giants, and A’s come back

3 for today:

Kevin Pillar makes another Superman-style catch

Since 2015, Pillar has 34 Defensive Runs Saved in center field. Pretty impressive, right? Well, that’s only good for second among all center fielders, as Kevin Kiermaier has 74 in that span. Now, that’s not meant to degrade what Pillar has done. It’s just meant to demonstrate how easy it is to forget just how good Pillar is in the field due to Kiermaier’s excellence, which is a shame.

And it’s plays like the one Pillar made on Monday night that make his defense something we should not ignore. I mean, just look at this:

That’s probably the catch of the year so far, and it is certainly one of the best of the last few years. But I’m not even sure it’s Pillar’s best. This was two years ago, and I still don’t know how he did it:

Mets down Giants in back-and-forth contest

The Mets and Giants are two of the last three NL champions. This year, however, they’re both struggling quite a bit. Both teams are dealing with significant injury issues as well as various under-performing players. Coming into this game, the Giants were a terrible 11-21 while the Mets were a respectable yet disappointing 14-16. Well, on Monday night, the two teams provided quite the entertaining contest.

Right-hander Jacob deGrom started for New York, and lefty Matt Moore started for San Francisco. The Giants got things started right away, as Hunter Pence followed a one-out walk by Brandon Belt with a two-run homer. But the Mets responded in the bottom of the inning with a run of their own to make it a 2-1 San Francisco lead.

The score remained the same until the Mets finally broke through in the fifth to tie it at two. But… Buster Posey took deGrom deep in the sixth to take back the lead, 3-2. But guess what? The Mets scored on Curtis Granderson double in the bottom of the sixth to tie things right back up.

Both teams’ relievers managed to keep the score tied, and neither team really threatened. Except for once. In the eighth, New York strung a couple of walks and a single together to load the bases against Derek Law. That brought Asdrubal Cabrera to the plate with a chance to give his team the lead. Instead, he grounded into a double play. Onward.

Jeurys Familia set down the Giants in order in the ninth to keep the game locked at three. Josh Osich then walked Michael Conforto to lead off the inning, but he recorded the next two outs rather easily. This prompted a pitching change, and Bruce Bochey brought in the hard-throwing Hunter Strickland.

Wilmer Flores was the first batter Strickland faced, and he reached base via a single, which brought Neil Walker to the plate. Walker proceeded to rip a ball down the right field line to give his team the win.

A’s overcome early deficit to defeat Angels

A few years ago, games between these two teams were always a must-watch. The A’s and Angels dominated the AL West for a decade, and games between the two were always tightly contested. Fast forward to today, and the A’s and Angels are fringe-playoff teams at best. Still, they played an entertaining game Monday night.

The game was an Opening Day rematch: Ricky Nolasco of the Angels against Kendall Graveman of the A’s. Both starters were dominant. They both went seven innings and gave up two runs. Nolasco allowed five hits, whiffed 10, and didn’t walk anyone. Graveman gave up seven hits, punched out 6, and walked one.

The dominance of the starters meant that this game would be decided by the bullpens. And that it was. Ryan Madson and Santiago Casilla got Oakland through the ninth inning while David Hernandez and Deolis Guerra got the Angels through it.

Something finally gave in the eleventh when, in his third inning of work, Guerra served up a two-out, walk-off solo shot to Jed Lowrie, his big fly second of the day. And that was that. No matter how irrelevant two rival teams may be, the game they play against each other always seem to be close, and the A’s and Angels are no different.

3 for tomorrow:

Orioles vs. Nationals (Jimenez vs. Scherzer)

Two of the top teams in baseball facing off. Also, Scherzer is pitching, so it’s automatically a must-watch affair.

Blue Jays vs. Indians (Bolsinger vs. Carrasco)

No, I didn’t pick this one because of Bolsinger; I picked it because of Carrasco. He’s an insanely talented pitcher, and hes off to one of the best start in the league.

Dodgers vs. Pirates (Urias vs. Nova)

Ivan Nova’s numbers since joining the Pirates are still mind-boggling for me. Also, Julio Urias is really good and only 20 years old.

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