The Upper Deck

Welcome to The Upper Deck, Baseball America’s daily look at the biggest stories around the game and some lighter fare.


Rockies righthander Chad Bettis made his season debut Monday and before he stepped on the mound, already had the biggest win of his career. Bettis made his first start after having chemotherapy to treat testicular cancer in the offseason. Bettis had surgery last fall and then had chemotherapy in March after the cancer unexpectedly spread to his lymph nodes. Fittingly, Bettis delivered seven scoreless innings against the Braves in a 3-0 victory.

“It crept in this morning, when I woke up, just thinking about everything that had happened, everything that my family and I had been through,” Bettis told reporters. “I was holding back tears until the start.”


The Yankees—coming off a devastating loss to the Red Sox on Sunday—jumped right into the Subway Series against the disappointing Mets. Early homers from Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, but behind homers from Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez, the Yanks rode the longball to a win in the first of the four-game, home-and-home series.


A night after he ruined the Yankees’ evening—and turned around a 103-mph fastball—Rafael Devers was at it again. The Red Sox’s rookie blasted two homers against the Indians’ Trevor Bauer, although Cleveland came out on top, 7-3. Devers has six homers in just 62 at-bats.


No one is hotter in the bigs right now than Giancarlo Stanton. The hulking slugger has 22 homers in his past 34 games, including his 43rd on Monday, giving him the Marlins’ single-season record, bettering Gary Sheffield’s 42 in 1996. Stanton also has 251 career homers, tying Frank Robinson as the 10th-youngest (27 years, 278 days) player in MLB history to reach 250.


Ender Inciarte’s attempt at an inside-the-park home run came up just short, thanks to a fantastic relay from Gerardo Parra to Trevor Story to Jonathan Lucroy.


Claire Smith, a Hall of Fame inductee as the first female J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, threw out the first pitch Monday prior to Game 1 of the Subway Series and did infinitely better than such luminaries as 50 Cent, Gary Dell’Abate and former Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory.

The accomplished writer was just the second woman to be individually honored by the Hall of Fame.


Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, the Mariners will play host to a “Women in Baseball” panel, designed to “offer first-hand accounts from women who work in the baseball industry as they discuss the game today and their place in it.”

The panel includes ESPN Radio reporter Shannon Drayer, Kelly Munro, the Mariners’ senior manager of baseball information, Mariners scout Amanda Hopkins, Sarah Gelles, the Orioles’ director of analytics and major league contracts and Baseball Prospectus writer Meg Rowley.