2020 MLB Season: Inter-league simulation, May 18-21

After 5 inter-league series this week, both leagues have 37 victories in inter-league play. Here’s how they fared during of 5/18-21 of the 2020 MLB season

If the simulated version of the 2020 MLB season suggests anything, it is that the two leagues are evenly balanced.

Roughly 50 games into that simulation,  all teams save for the Oakland Athletics have played at least one interleague series. The results of those inter-league matchups to date could not be more even: 37 wins for the American League, 37 for the Nationals.

The Nationals evened the slate this week, winning seven of the 11 inter-league meetings.

The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds had center stage in inter-league play, splitting two games at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The results left both teams a game and a half behind their respective division leaders, Minnesota in the AL Central and St. Louis in the NL Central.

Cincinnati won 5-2 on Tuesday behind Luis Castillo’s seven and two-thirds innings of four-hit ball. Jesse Winker tripled home two insurance runs in the seventh and added a sacrifice fly. Castillo ran his record to 3-4, matching Indians loser Zach Plesac.

Cleveland got even on Wednesday with an 11-0 blowout victory behind Shane Bieber, 5-2. The Indians took all the suspense out early, smashing Reds starter Wade Miley and reliever Tyler Mahle for nine runs in the third inning alone. Orlando Mercado homered in the first and doubled three more home in the third inning.

In Milwaukee, the AL East-leading New York Yankees took two hits. They lost two of three inter-league games to the Brewers and they also lost another starting pitcher. Masahiro Tanaka left Tuesday’s 5-2 loss after facing just one batter with arm stiffness, and afterward, manager Aaron Boone said they expect Tanaka to be sidelined for up to two weeks.

Tanaka joins James Paxton and Luis Severino among pre-season rotation stalwarts now sidelined. Paxton is expected back in about a month, but Severino has been ruled out for 2020.

In Tanaka’s absence, the New York bullpen was unable to contain the Brewers, who got two-run home runs from Christian Yelich and Eric Sogard. Freddy Peralta made his sixth start and won for the third time without a loss, holding the Yankees to two runs over seven innings. Josh Hader got the save.

Gio Urshela’s two-run first-inning home run got the Yankees off to proper start Wednesday, but they had to overcome a 3-2 deficit with a three-run seventh for the 5-3 victory. Tyler Wade’s third hit drove home the go-ahead run in that inning.

But Milwaukee claimed the series finale Wednesday 10-1, tying into starter Jonathan Loaisiga, 5-3, for six runs in the first two innings. Yelich and Omar Narvaez both homered in a four-run Milwaukee first.

Related Story: 2020 MLB Season: Simulating AL games, May 18-21

At Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, the White Sox and Colorado split a pair of mid-week inter-league games. The Sox won 9-2 Tuesday behind Gio Gonzalez, 4-4 in a game that featured home runs by five different players. Eloy Jimenez, Yasmani Grandal, and Nomar Mazara went deep for Chicago, David Dahl, and Charlie Blackmon for the Rockies.

San Francisco and Detroit also split their series on the coast. The Tigers won 4-1 Tuesday behind Jordan Zimmerman’s seven strong innings. Zimmerman, 5-1 for a team that is 11-32 when anybody else pitches, allowed just five hits and Mike Yastrzemski’s home run. He lowered his ERA to 2.88.

The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, polished off Seattle in two labor-intensive contests in Washington. The Nats needed 10 innings to take the first game 7-5 on Eric Thames’ walk-off blast against Brandon Brennan. Thames’ homer also wasted Kyle Seager’s two home runs off Washington starter Max Scherzer, who allowed a total of four in his five innings of work.

Next: 2020 MLB Season: Simulating NL games, May 18-21

The Nats also won Wednesday, but it wasn’t any easier. The final this time was 5-4, Yoshi Hirano giving up the decisive run on three Washington hits in the bottom of the ninth. Juan Soto got the walk-off single, sending Michael Taylor across. Anibal Sanchez, 5-3, was the winner.

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