Memorial Day has arrived, marking the unofficial start to summer. It’s also near the two-month point on the baseball calendar. A few storylines of note today with around one-third of the regular season in the books:
1. Soroka’s first MLB appearance since 2020:
The Braves are going to recall right-hander Michael Soroka from Triple-A Gwinnett, manager Brian Snitker confirmed last night. He’ll get the start this evening in Oakland. It’s the culmination of a multi-year rehab process for the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up. Soroka pitched to a 2.68 ERA as a 21-year-old that season but saw his career waylaid by successive Achilles tears. He hasn’t thrown a major league pitch since 2020 and has made just three big league starts since his All-Star showing four years ago. Finally healthy, Soroka has logged a 4.33 ERA through eight starts in Gwinnett. Even if this proves a one-off spot start, it’s sure to be a rewarding moment for the former first-round pick after years of brutal injury luck.
Soroka will be opposed by A’s right-hander Paul Blackburn, who’s also making his first MLB appearance of the season. An All-Star in 2022, Blackburn has dealt with various injury concerns of his own over the past ten months. Fingernail and blister issues on his throwing hand cost him the first couple months of this season. Blackburn will try to halt an 11-game losing streak for the A’s, who have fallen to a staggering 10-45 on the year.
2. Twins’ roster move incoming:
The Twins are set to welcome back both Max Kepler and Royce Lewis from the injured list before their series opener in Houston. They’re reportedly optioning Matt Wallner and Kyle Garlick to Triple-A St. Paul to clear active roster space, though they’ll still need to clear a 40-man roster spot. Lewis hasn’t counted against the 40-man since being placed on the 60-day injured list at the start of Spring Training. Unless Minnesota anticipates two-plus month absences for someone like Nick Gordon or Jorge Alcalá — transferring either to the 60-day IL would officially rule them out past the All-Star Break — they’ll need to designate someone for assignment.
3. Can the Cubs stop their skid?
The Cubs were swept at home by the Reds over the weekend. They’ve lost four in a row and dropped to 22-30 overall. They’re now narrowly behind the Rockies and Nationals with the worst record in the National League. The NL Wild Card bubble is still wide open, so it’s too soon to hammer the nail in the coffin. Chicago clearly anticipated hanging around the playoff mix on the heels of an active offseason and a solid 11-6 start. They’ve dropped 17 of 25 games in May, though, and they’ll finish out the month with a three-game set against the 39-16 Rays. Marcus Stroman, who could be one of the trade deadline’s top rental starting pitchers if the Cubs don’t turn things around, gets the ball this afternoon. He’ll be opposed by Tampa Bay rookie righty Taj Bradley.