When reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich suffered a season-ending knee injury after fouling a ball of his kneecap on September 10, the Brewers slim postseason hopes appeared all but extinguished with three weeks remaining in the regular season. Yet, Milwaukee hasn’t missed a beat winning six consecutive games and 17 of their last 19 overall to clinch an unlikely postseason berth. They routed the division-rival Reds 9-2 on Wednesday evening to officially punch their ticket back to the postseason for the second consecutive year. Franchise icon Ryan Braun launched grand slam to kick-off a six-run explosion in the opening frame. Meanwhile, rookie sensation Keston Hiura and resurgent veteran slugger Eric Thames also left the yard in the lopsided victory. It wasn’t just the Brewers’ offense that did the heavy lifting in this one. Right-hander Jordan Lyles, a savvy trade deadline acquisition by the Milwaukee front office, fired five solid frames after being staked to a massive lead and the Brewers’ bullpen tossed four scoreless innings to close out the victory.
With Milwaukee locking up the final playoff spot, the senior circuit playoff picture has begun to take shape with the five playoff teams set in stone: Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals and Brewers. It remains to be seen how next week’s matchups will shake out. The Brewers are 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the NL Central division crown and one game behind the Nationals for the top Wild Card spot. The top finisher in that race will host the NL Wild Card game on Tuesday. Meanwhile in the American League, the Twins locked up the AL Central division with a victory over the Tigers and a loss by the Indians to the White Sox on Wednesday. It’ll come down to the Athletics, Indians and Rays -- who are separated by less than two games -- for two Wild Card spots.
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Greinke Glimpses History
Astros’ right-hander Zack Greinke came within two outs of his first career no-hitter in his final regular-season start against Seattle on Wednesday night. The 35-year-old veteran carried a no-hit bid into the ninth inning before giving up back-to-back singles to Austin Nola and Tim Lopes. He retired 16 consecutive batters to open the contest before issuing a one-out walk to Dee Gordon in the sixth inning. He was in complete control of his extensive repertoire, racking up an eye-popping 20 swinging strikes and nine strikeouts over 8 1/3 scoreless frames. With the victory, he improved to 18-5 overall this season.. He closes out the regular season with a 2.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 187/30 K/BB ratio across 208 2/3 innings (33 starts). He’ll take the ball for the Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Had Greinke accomplished the feat, it would’ve been the third individual no-hitter of the 2019 campaign. It also would’ve been the third no-hitter for the Astros and the third time that the Mariners had been no-hit this year. Athletics’ right-hander Mike Fiers accomplished the feat versus the Reds on May 7 and Greinke’s Astros’ teammate Justin Verlander tossed his third-career no-hitter versus the Blue Jays on September 1. The Astros and Angels hurled combined no-hitters against the Mariners on August 3 and July 12, respectively. There were three no-hitters in the entire 2018 campaign.
McNeil Injured, Mets Eliminated
On a night in which the Mets were officially eliminated from postseason contention, they also lost versatile second baseman/outfielder and leadoff extraordinaire Jeff McNeil to a season-ending wrist fracture. According to multiple reports, McNeil has been diagnosed with a right distal ulnar fracture after being hit in the wrist in Wednesday’s game against the Marlins. The 27-year-old contact-oriented specialist finishes the 2019 campaign with a .318/.384/.531 triple-slash line along with 83 runs scored, a career-high 23 home runs and 73 RBI across 567 plate appearances in 132 games.
McNeil's injury puts a damper on an otherwise remarkable evening for the Mets, who routed the bottom-feeding Marlins 10-3. Jacob deGrom racked up seven strikeouts over seven shutout frames to close out the regular season on a 23-inning scoreless streak and solidify his status as the front-runner for his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award. The 31-year-old righty finishes the 2019 campaign with a pristine 2.43 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 255/44 K/BB ratio across 203 2/3 innings (32 starts). In addition to deGrom’s stellar performance in this one, rookie sensation Pete Alonso blasted his 51st round-tripper of the season, putting him just one round-tripper shy of tying Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge’s single-season rookie home run record, set back in 2017.
Mondesi Slated For Surgery
Royals’ speedster Adalberto Mondesi is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery next week and is expected to be sidelined for at least 5-6 months. The 24-year-old switch-hitting shortstop has a tear that needs to be repaired after his left shoulder popped out and back in while making a diving stop against the Twins on Sunday. That timeline puts him back right around the start of spring training, but could potentially cause him to miss the start of the 2020 season. Fantasy owners will want to monitor his recovery closely before investing an early-round selection in drafts next spring.
AL Quick Hits: Mookie Betts was held out of the Red Sox’ starting lineup on Wednesday. He was removed from Tuesday night's game with renewed discomfort in his left foot. He’s expected to return on Friday. … Eloy Jimenez was held out of the White Sox’ lineup on Wednesday due to an ear/throat infection. … Carlos Correa (back) remained out of the Astros’ lineup on Wednesday. … Gio Urshela (hand) was held out of the Yankees’ starting lineup on Wednesday. He’s expected to return on Friday. … Khris Davis was held out of the Athletics’ lineup on Wednesday due to the stomach flu. … Willie Calhoun left Wednesday's game against the Red Sox with a left forearm contusion. … Charlie Morton posted nine strikeouts over six scoreless innings in a win over the Yankees. … Matt Chapman socked a go-ahead two-run homer to power the Athletics to a win over the Angels. … Frankie Montas recorded six strikeouts over six innings in a no-decision against the Angels. … Alex Bregman went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Astros to a win over the Mariners. … Rowdy Tellez socked a pair of dingers in the Blue Jays’ victory over the Orioles. … Tim Anderson went 4-for-5 with two runs scored in the White Sox’ win over the Indians. … Jose Ramirez went deep for the second consecutive game in the losing effort. … Rick Porcello whiffed eight over six inning of three-run ball in a win over the Rangers. … Randy Dobnak tossed six one-hit frames in a win over the Tigers. … Bo Bichette (concussion) said Wednesday that he is “symptom-free.” … Domingo German’s administrative leave has been extended through the end of the World Series. He will not pitch in the postseason.
NL Quick Hits: Kris Bryant (ankle) and Javier Baez (thumb) will not return for the Cubs this season. … J.T. Realmuto will undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee Friday. … Sonny Gray underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The 29-year-old righty is expected to be ready for spring training. … Ronald Acuna (hip) has been shut down for the remainder of the regular season. He’s expected to return next week for the postseason. … Diamondbacks have shut down Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver for the remainder of the year. … Starling Marte (wrist) and Josh Bell (groin) will miss the remainder of the regular season. Marte has been sidelined since September 8. Bell hasn’t played since September 13. … Clint Hurdle will return as manager of the Pirates in 2020. … Joc Pederson went 3-for-3 with a pair of solo homers and three RBI to lead the Dodgers past the Padres. … Drew Smyly posted 10 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Nationals. … Anibal Sanchez whiffed seven over seven innings of two-run ball in a win over the Phillies. … Wilmer Flores went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI to lead the Diamondbacks past the Cardinals. … Randy Arozarena went 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored and two stolen bases in the Cardinals’ loss to the Diamondbacks. … Josh Donaldson collected four RBI in the Braves’ rout of the Royals. … Dinelson Lamet recorded 10 strikeouts over five innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers. … Garrett Hampson stole a pair of bases in the Rockies’ loss to the Giants.