Xander Bogaerts homered twice and Rafael Devers also left the yard to propel the Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over a blistering-hot Indians squad, which had won 10 of their last 14 contests, on Wednesday afternoon. It was the perfect microcosm for the defending World Series champion Red Sox’ massively disappointing 2019 campaign. The high-priced, uber-talented roster has largely underperformed, leaving them seven and a half games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. In contrast, Bogaerts and Devers have been exceptional, evolving into the franchise cornerstones many prospect evaluators envisioned during their minor-league days. The dynamic infield tandem combined for a whopping 16 hits, three home runs and nine RBI in the three-game series against the Indians. Bogaerts reached base four times in the series finale, filling the stat sheet with a single, two homers -- his fourth multi-homer game of the season -- four RBI and also drew a walk. He blasted a solo homer in the third inning and also hammered a three-run shot in the seventh inning. The 26-year-old shortstop, who inked a six-year, $120 million contract extension back in April, owns a .305/.382/.561 triple-slash line with 27 home runs, 90 RBI and four stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Devers followed up his franchise-record six-hit performance on Tuesday night with a first-inning single and his 25th round-tripper of the season off Indians ace Shane Bieber in the third inning. He finally grounded out in the fifth, ending a string of eight consecutive at-bats with a hit. The 22-year-old burgeoning superstar has been on an absolute tear lately, logging 13 hits over his last five games. He now leads the American League in hits (160), RBI (94) and doubles (43) and also ranks second in batting average (.327) behind only Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (.337).
Editor’s Note: Stay ahead of the competition from wire to wire with rankings, customizable projections, trade evaluator, exclusive columns and more in our Season Pass. And start using optimized lineups on Yahoo!, DraftKings and FanDuel with our DFS Toolkit.
Harper Homers Twice, Phillies Roll Cubs
It was the Phillies’ big-ticket offseason acquisitions -- Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto -- that propelled them to an impressive 11-1 blowout victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night. Harper, who signed a massive 13-year, $330 million free agent contract last offseason, went 3-for-3 and homered twice in the one-sided affair. The 26-year-old outfielder set the tone right away, tattooing a two-run tater off Cole Hamels in the opening frame and also added a solo shot off reliever Alec Mills in the sixth inning. It was his second multi-homer game of the season and the second time he’s accomplished the feat in less than a week. After a well-documented sluggish start to the year, he’s begun to really heat up in recent weeks, launching six round-trippers in just 13 games this month. The Phillies also got a stellar performances from catcher J.T. Realmuto, who clubbed a grand slam in the third inning, and Aaron Nola, who struck out seven batters over seven innings of one-run ball, in this one. The good news for Philadelphia is that they’re now sitting just two games out of the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The bad news is that they’ll likely be without veteran starting pitcher Jake Arrieta for the remainder of the season. The 33-year-old righty was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday afternoon seems likely to undergo season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. To his credit, he managed to pitch through the injury for awhile, but it certainly had an adverse impact on his performance. He should be ready to return by next spring, but the Phillies will definitely miss his postseason experience if they’re still in the playoff picture once October rolls around.
Taillon Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
The Pirates’ organization was dealt a devastating blow with the news that Opening Day starter Jameson Taillon is expected to miss the entire 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery for the second time in his professional career on Tuesday. The 27-year-old right-hander, who had been sidelined since May 1, was expected to undergo a less invasive surgery to repair a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow on Tuesday. That procedure still would’ve ended his 2019 campaign, but it only carried a seven-to-nine month recovery period, which would’ve given him a chance to potentially return by May or June next year. According to reports, Dr. David Altchek, who performed that procedure, determined during the initial operation that Taillon also required ulnar collateral ligament revision surgery and performed that procedure as well. Simply put, this was the worst-case scenario outcome and will have a massive impact on the Pirates’ long-term plans. For Taillon, it’s just the latest setback in a career that has been derailed by injuries at multiple junctures. It’s becoming more common these days, but the list of starting pitchers who have undergone multiple Tommy John surgeries and enjoyed lengthy big-league careers is rather small. Notable names include: Nathan Eovaldi, Daniel Hudson, Josh Johnson, Chris Capuano, Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen, Joakim Soria, Edinson Volquez and Jonny Venters. It’s impossible to forecast Taillon’s long-term outlook, but if there were ever a pitcher who could persevere and overcome the odds and re-establish himself as a top-of-the-rotation arm, it would be him.
AL Quick Hits: Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday morning that Gerrit Cole (hamstring) “reports feeling good.”. … Tommy Pham (hand) drilled a two-run homer in his return to the Rays' starting lineup Wednesday versus the Padres after missing two games due to lingering discomfort in his right hand. … Rays placed Avisail Garcia on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain. … Blake Snell (elbow) played catch for the second time in three days on Wednesday. … Luke Voit (hernia) hit in the cage and took grounders on Wednesday. … James McCann slugged a go-ahead grand slam to lead the White Sox over the Astros in a high-scoring affair. … Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and Yuli Gurriel went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs and three RBI in the losing effort. … Elvis Andrus collected four hits and stole two bases to propel the Rangers past the Blue Jays. … Danny Santana went 2-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and three runs scored in that contest … Matt Chapman crushed a pair of solo homers to lead the Athletics’ over the Giants in an interleague tilt. … Gary Sanchez went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer to help the Yankees sink the Orioles. … Renato Nunez went 5-for-5 with a pair of RBI and runs scored in the losing effort. … Shane Bieber whiffed seven batters over six innings in a loss to the Red Sox. … Daniel Vogelbach and J.P. Crawford belted solo homers in the Mariners’ loss to the Tigers. … Alex Bregman went 2-for-5 with three RBI in his return to the Astros’ starting lineup against the White Sox. … Carlos Carrasco (cancer) has been cleared to begin throwing to live hitters this Friday. … Athletics purchased the contract of infielder Corban Joseph from Triple-A Las Vegas. The 30-year-old hit .371/.421/.585 with 13 home runs, 35 doubles, and 73 RBI in 97 games this season. … Sean Manaea (shoulder, side) is expected to join the Athletics after one more minor league rehab start. … CC Sabathia (knee) will return to the Yankees' starting rotation Sunday against the Indians. … According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Athletics plan to keep Matt Harvey, who inked a minor-league deal on Wednesday, as a starting pitcher.
NL Quick Hits: Max Scherzer (back) said Wednesday that he feels ready to return. He threw two-plus innings in a simulated game on Tuesday and then followed that up with a throwing session on Wednesday morning. He could be back in the Nationals’ starting rotation as soon as this weekend. … Mets placed Jeff McNeil on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. He’s expected to return when first eligible. … Fernando Tatis Jr. (back) is expected to be placed on the 10-day injured list on Thursday. … Robbie Ray was removed from his start Wednesday versus the Rockies after just two innings due to lower back spasms. He’ll undergo an MRI on Thursday. … Clayton Kershaw recorded 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a win over the Marlins. … Rookie outfielder Edwin Rios launched a pair of homers in that Dodgers’ victory. … Anthony Rendon went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI in the Nationals’ blowout win over the Reds. … Juan Soto and Victor Robles combined for five hits and a pair of stolen bases in that one. … Aristides Aquino drilled his ninth homer in the loss. He's the first player in major-league history to hit nine home runs in his first 14 big-league games. … Trevor Bauer was hammered for nine runs over 4 1/3 innings in that lopsided affair. … Trent Grisham swatted a go-ahead three-run homer to propel the Brewers to a comeback win over the Twins. … Nolan Arenado slugged a walk-off, two-run homer to lift the Rockies over the Diamondbacks. … Ketel Marte went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI in the loss. … Luis Urias doubled and drove in three runs in the Padres’ win over the Rays. … Mike Yastrzemski clubbed a three-run homer in the Giants’ loss to the Athletics. … Randy Arozarena went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his major-league debut against the Royals. … Chris Archer struck out 10 batters over five innings in a loss to the Angels. … Giants activated Alex Dickerson from the 10-day injured list. He wound up missing two weeks with a mild right oblique strain. … Jason Heyward was scratched from the Cubs' starting lineup Wednesday versus the Phillies due to left knee inflammation. … Dereck Rodriguez and Jeff Samardzija are expected to start for the Giants on Thursday and Friday, respectively, in Arizona.