With daylight getting shorter each day, the playoff races continue to evolve. Home runs, injuries and bullpens also remain on the radar with 15-to-16 games left on the schedule for major league teams. Last night in a loss, A.J. Pollock added to the list of noted home run accomplishments by batters this season:
A few notes after AJ Pollock's 3rd HR of the game...— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 7, 2019
- 2nd 3-HR game by a @Dodgers player this season (Justin Turner - May 7)
- 1st 3-HR game by a Dodgers player vs the Giants since Kevin Elster on April 11, 2000
- 21st 3-HR game league-wide this season (record is 22 in 2001)
Pollock went 3-for-4 with three solo home runs and his teammate, Joc Pederson did not hit a home run, but padded his hot four-game stretch with two more hits including a double:
Joc Pederson 's last 4 games: 8-for-10 with 2 doubles, 5 home runs and an OPS of 3.318.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) September 7, 2019
The only other NL player in the live-ball era with an OPS of 3.300+ in a 4-game span was Barry Bonds in April 2004 (3.431; min. 10 PA).@Dodgers #LABleedsBlue
Willie Calhoun notched his first multi-home run game of the season launching two in Baltimore tying a career best with four RBI. It’s also his 17th multi-hit game this year. In a loss, Anthony Santander of the Orioles hit his 18th home run driving in two extending his personal hitting streak to 11 games during which he owns a .391 average.
Also recording a double dong night, Tommy Edman of the Cardinals. He went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Hunter Dozier hit his 25th home run and slashing .375/.405/.700 his last 10 games with nine runs, three home runs and eight RBI.
Continuing his breakout season, Ketel Marte racked up three more hits and hit his 31st home run. He leads the National League in multi-hit games (56) and tallied his 17th 3-hit game. Since June 15th, Marte’s played 64 games with 49 runs, 14 home runs, 41 RBI and six steals with a robust .392/.457/.676 slash line.
Eugenio Suárez launched his 42nd home run and drove in four runs among his three hits. Over his last 12 appearances, Suarez owns a .400 average with two doubles, eight home runs and 14 RBI. He also leads the majors with 22 home runs since the All-Star break.
Making it rain once again in Atlanta, Josh Donaldson hit home run number 35 last night:
???? You can stand under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh ???? pic.twitter.com/KjeRkWieun— MLB (@MLB) September 7, 2019
Donaldson’s racked up 28 home runs since June 11th. Fantasy owners can note Austin Riley returned form the injured in this contest as well.
Christian Yelich went 3-for-4 with his 44th home run and three RBI, plus seems to enjoy the throwbacks in Milwaukee:
In one of the odder days in baseball, Nicholas Castellanos gets credit for two home runs, but one in a completed game from May as covered here:
Nicholas Castellanos just homered for the Cubs in MIL. This one counts for September 6 of course, no funky business, but it IS fun to think about this...— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) September 7, 2019
he homered on May 19 for the Tigers against the A's and that game *just* ended.
(also both HR were in the 3rd inning!) pic.twitter.com/CTciGXwzbC
Castellanos went 2-for-4 with his 24th home run in a loss to the Brewers accounting for the Cubs only run.
It’s well below the radar, but Tim Anderson now leads the American League in batting average after notching his 15th multiple hit game over his last 22 played going 2-for-4 with his 16th home run on Friday:
Anderson also needs only four home runs and four stolen bases for his second 20/20 season which would tie a record held by Alex Rios in White Sox history.
Trevor Story racked up two hits and stole his 20th base to become the eighth major league player this year with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Starting Pitcher Spotlight: Keuchel Shines Again
Firing six shutout innings versus Washington, Dallas Keuchel scattered six hits and two walks while striking out three. He’s won each of his last four starts working at least six innings in each with a 0.87 ERA in them. Although Keuchel only generated three swinging strikes, he notched 17 called of his 94 pitches and produced 13 ground balls against 25 hitters faced.
Here’s the other notable starting pitcher performances from Friday:
Brendan McKay , Tampa Bay: 59 pitches, nine swinging strikes, 11 called, 34 CSW%: McKay worked 3.2 scoreless frames with seven strikeouts allowing only one hit against the Blue Jays.
Michael Pineda , Minnesota: 107 pitches, 17 swinging strikes, 18 called, 32.7 CSW%: Although Pineda did not factor in the decision, he recorded his 13th quality start of the year with a season best 10 strikeouts. Pineda yielded four hits, one earned run and two walks over six innings against the Indians.
Lucas Giolito , Chicago White Sox: 103 pitches, 16 swinging strikes, 14 called, 29.1 CSW%. Giolito lost a chance at a win due to his bullpen. He tossed seven innings giving up three hits, two earned runs and a walk with six strikeouts. Over his last eight starts, Giolito owns a 2.72 ERA with 75 strikeouts and seems on the precipice of winning the Comeback Player of the Year award in the American League.
Bullpen Notes: More Struggles For Diaz
Whether it’s an issue of his elbow injury lingering or the move to the spotlight in New York, 2019 will be a season to forget for Edwin Díaz . He suffered his seventh blown save on Friday evening coughing up a two-run home run to J.T. Realmuto and taking an uncomfortable place in the history books:
Edwin Díaz has now allowed 14 9th inning HR this season, tying Francisco Rodríguez (2014 with Brewers) for the most such HR allowed in a season in MLB history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 7, 2019
The Mets have now allowed 31 9th inning HR this season, the most such HR allowed by a team in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/wGCXij0guy
Diaz gets his second win after the Mets walked off a win over the Phillies bullpen when Pete Alonso drew a bases loaded walk. However, not sure how New York puts its faith in Diaz in a high leverage situation while trying to keep its playoff hopes intact. Stay tuned.
Here are the rest of the high leverage events from Friday:
José Leclerc recorded his 11th save working around a hit and a walk while striking out one.
Once again, Pittsburgh used Felipe Vázquez more than an inning in a save situation. Vazquez notched his 25th save giving up two two with three strikeouts in 1.1 innings.
Royals closer Ian Kennedy secured his 27th save allowing a hit and striking out one. He leads the majors in saves since May 30th.
Not sure how to perceive Shane Greene getting the save chance in Atlanta, but he fired a clean ninth for his 23rd save of 2019 with two strikeouts. He’s in the midst of 13 straight scoreless innings allowing four hits, two walks and striking out 13 in them.
Hansel Robles gets his fifth win working two clean innings with three strikeouts.
What To Watch For
For starters, plenty of injury updates:
Bryce Harper left Friday’s game after being hit on the right hand with a pitch. Potential hamate bone injury, more details will ensue.
Robbie Ray left his start due to a blister putting his next start in question with Arizona on the periphery of the Wild Card race.
As for baseball, the developing Wild Card races take center stage today. In the American League, the Fangraphs playoff odds seem to favor the Rays and A’s right now with Cleveland on the outside looking in:
As for the senior circuit, it’s still the Nationals and Cubs atop the heap for the Wild Card:
Washington sends Austin Voth to the mound in Atlanta with Joe Ross sidelined with injury again, Drew Smyly faces Marcus Stroman in the New York and Alex Young matches up with Luis Castillo in Cincinnati.
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MLB.com - Game Notes