With home runs and youth being served in 2019, it’s easy to overlook veteran production. However, on Sunday Justin Verlander and Nelson Cruz reached milestones putting their teams in prime position for the postseason. Verlander reached 20 wins for the second time in his career in a labored outing spanning five innings giving up six hits, two earned runs and two walks with five strikeouts, but:



Verlander fell short of reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career which will make him the 18th pitcher in history to surpass the mark. He gets one more start against these same Angels looking for at least six more strikeouts for 3,000 and 12 more for 300 again this season. On the year, Verlander owns a 2.53 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. 

Nelson Cruz launched his 40th home run on Sunday during a 12-8 win over the Royals: 



He finished 2-for-3 scoring four runs, driving in one and walking twice. He’s also the third Twins player with 40 home runs in a season and the 26th player to record four seasons with at least 40 home runs in them. Miguel Sanó racked up his fifth multi-home run game this year raising his total to 33 with four RBI. He’s tied his career high in RBI. 

Here’s the other notable hitting performances from Sunday: 

George Springer had himself a day: 



Helping the Astros win the American League West for the third straight year, Springer drove in four, has hit seven home runs his last eight contests and 11 over his last 16. Alex Bregman added his 39th home run and Yordan Alvarez went 4-for-4 with two doubles. 

Three Yankees homered in their last home game of the season. Aaron Judge (26), D.J. LeMahieu (26) and Brett Gardner (27). Judge has blasted 14 home runs his last 29 games with a .297/.381/.730 slash line with 25 runs, six doubles, 21 RBI and 14 walks. LeMahieu’s in the midst of a nine game hit streak with a .412/.442/.634 slash and leads the majors with 60 multi-hit games. Gardner’s also on a nine game hit streak with eight runs, three doubles, four home rus and 11 RBI. 

Fueling the Brewers offense, Eric Thames launched two home runs driving in three. Keston Hiura went 1-for-4 moving his hit streak to seven and he’s recorded at least a hit in 22 of his last 28 games with a .305 average, 22 runs, 10 doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBI. 

A two home run game for Willie Calhoun . He’s hit 20 this year. Since his recall on July 26th hitting .265/.319/.551 with 30 runs, 15 home runs and 31 RBI. Shin-Soo Choo notched a smash and dash hitting his 23rd home run while stealing his 13th base. 

Pacing the Dodgers offense, Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam. He’s hit 46 home runs this year but cratered a bit in the second half. Will Smith (14), Corey Seager (18) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (1) also homered. 

Remember during FAAB-a-palooza when Oscar Mercardo did not garner huge bids? His owners do. Mercado hit his 14th home run driving in three putting the Indians into a tie for the last Wild Card spot with the Rays. Franmil Reyes hit his 36th home run as well. 

Starting Pitcher Spotlight: Severino shines

With Domingo Germán out for the rest of the year, the return of Luis Severino could be the salvo for the Yankees postseason chances. Severino notched his first win since September 25th of last year firing five shutout innings scattering three hits with nine strikeouts. He only tossed 80 pitches generating 13 swinging strikes and 13 called for a 32.5 called plus swinging strikes (CSW) percentage. He’s yet to allow a run over his first nine innings off the injured reserve and could be fresh entering the playoffs. 

Here’s the other notable starting pitcher outings from Sunday:

  • Nathan Eovaldi , Boston: 100 pitches, 20 swinging strikes, 15 called, 35 CSW%. Eovaldi won his second decision working six innings allowing seven hits, three earned runs and two walks with six strikeouts. 

  • Logan Webb, San Francisco: 90 pitches, 12 swinging strikes, 14 called, 28.9 CSW%. Versus a watered down Braves lineup, Webb logged six innings giving up two hits, one earned run and two walks with seven strikeouts. 

  • Yu Darvish , Chicago Cubs: 110 pitches, 23 swinging strikes, 26 called, 44.5 CSW%. Despite his robust CSW percentage, Darvish lost the game working into the ninth inning due to his manager’s complete distrust in the bullpen. Darvish finished with his eighth loss yielding seven hits, three earned runs and striking out 12 in 8.1 innings. 

  • Lance Lynn , Texas: 111 pitches, 20 swinging strikes, 19 called, 35.1 CSW%. Lynn racked up his 15th win lasting 5.1 innings giving up seven hits, two earned runs and a walk with 12 strikeouts. 

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu , Los Angeles Dodgers: 95 pitches, 15 swinging strikes, 14 called, 30.5 CSW%. Ryu recorded his 13th win allowing six hits and three earned runs with eight strikeouts. 

Bullpen Notes: As the Wild Card turns

On a collision course to match-up in the play-in game for the National League, Washington and Milwaukee’s bullpens seem to be trending in opposite directions. Hunter Strickland and Wander Suero combined to give up four earned runs blowing a win for Austin Voth on Sunday. This bullpen also blew a win for Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. Fueling the Brewers ascension into a tie for the top Wild Card spot, Josh Hader recorded his 35th save working around a hit over 1.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. 



Milwaukee’s won eight of its last nine games and 15 of its last 17. For a reference point, here’s the two teams bullpen results since the start of September: 

  • Washington: 2-3 record, two saves, 61 IP, 5.75 ERA, 5.26 xFIP, 1.69 WHIP, 8.9 strikeouts minus walks percentage

  • Milwaukee: 12-2 record, 10 saves, 99 IP, 2.82 ERA, 3.21 xFIP, 0.98 WHIP, 26.7 strikeouts minus walks percentage

Here’s the rest of the high leverage moments from Sunday: 

  • Richard Bleier notched his fourth save with two scoreless innings and a strikeout for the Orioles. 

  • The normally reliable Seth Lugo coughed up a home run to Tucker Barnhart in the eighth but Jusin Wilson closed out his fourth save walking one and striking out two in the ninth. 

  • Good luck predicting a Marlins save. Jeff Brigham gets his first with a clean inning and Ryne Stanek his fifth hold walking one with three strikeouts setting him up. 

  • Save number eight for Joe Jiménez giving up a hit in a scoreless outing. 

  • Will Smith recorded his 34th save yielding a hit and striking out two. 

  • Providing Carlos Martínez with a much needed day off, Andrew Miller stepped in for his sixth save allowing a hit and striking out one. 

What To Watch For

A small slate features Patrick Corbin trying to put the Nationals back in line to host the play-in game facing the Phillies. 

Blake Snell will try to increase his innings at home versus the Red Sox trying to move back in front of Cleveland for the last playoff spot in the American League. 

Adam Wainwright brings his recent run of magic to Arizona trying to inch the Cardinals closer to clinching the National League Central. 

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Statistical Credits: 

MLB.com - Game Notes