Chris Sale Shelved
The Red Sox made a very unexpected announcement on Saturday when they placed star southpaw Chris Sale on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation.
Red Sox’ team president Dave Dombrowski said that Sale had some stiffness on Wednesday and Thursday, which he informed the training staff about on Friday, leading to the MRI exam that revealed the inflammation.
If that wasn’t enough cause for concern, Dombrowski upped the ante by announcing that Sale is likely to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Dombrowski also noted that he isn't sure when Sale will pitch again. For fantasy owners in redraft leagues, it's a very real possibility that the left-hander could be done for the season.
If that’s the case, you would have to chalk this entire season up as an absolute disaster for the left-hander who was drafted on average as the third starting pitcher off the board this season -- behind only Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. The 30-year-old hurler owns a 6-11 record, 4.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 218/37 K/BB ratio across 147 1/3 innings.
With the Red Sox already 6 ½ games out of a wild card berth in the American League -- with several teams to leapfrog to get there -- perhaps they wind up simply shutting him down for the remainder of the season. There’s certainly no benefit to rushing him back, unless they go on a massive winning streak over the next couple of weeks and make up a lot of that ground.
For the good of the game, all fantasy owners can do now is hope that what started out as an innocent diagnosis of elbow inflammation doesn’t turn into another star hurler requiring Tommy John surgery, as too often seems to be the case in these situations.
Guerrero Jr. heading for MRI
The Red Sox weren’t the only American East club that had some troublesome injury news on Saturday. Blue Jays’ 20-year-old phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had to be removed from their game against the Mariners due to left knee discomfort.
He’ll undergo an MRI exam to determine the severity of the injury. Guerrero Jr. missed a month of action during the 2018 season due to an issue with his left knee, and the hope is that it’s not a recurrence of that same problem -- or anything worse.
While he hasn’t quite lit the world on fire as anticipated upon his arrival in Toronto, Guerrero Jr. is slashing a respectable .274/.345/.464 with 14 homers and 54 RBI in his first 93 big league games. He had also picked up the pace in recent weeks, hitting .356 (31-for-87) with five homers and 24 RBI over his last 23 games.
Like with Chris Sale, we can only hope that his injury is not serious and that the sport won’t be deprived of Guerrero Jr.’s special talents for an extended period of time.
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The Punisher Strikes Again
Another day, another towering home run for Reds’ rookie sensation Aristides Aquino.
The 25-year-old demolished a Miles Mikolas offering into the seats in center field for a three-run shot in the fifth inning on Saturday, increasing the Reds’ lead to 5-1. It was his 11th home run in his first 17 big league games. That, like many other things that Aquino has done in the last week and a half, is another MLB record. The previous record for most home runs in a player’s first 17 games was held by Rhys Hoskins who crushed 10 homers in his first 17 games with the Phillies.
Even more impressive though, is the fact that he had hit just one home run over his first six big league contests. That means that he has now slugged 10 long balls in his last 11 games, driving in 18 runs in the process. Simply stunning.
He’s obviously not going to continue at this impressive of a pace, but every at-bat is certainly must-see television at this point.
In a normal season, Aquino could even have a shot at National League Rookie of the Year honors with the crazy run that he’s on. With the work that Pete Alonso has put in for the Mets though, that award is already spoken for, regardless of how many balls Aquino hits into the stands the remainder of the season.
In the year of the home run, multi-homer games are no longer a rarity, but an expected everyday occurrence. Saturday was no different.
Gleyber Torres crushed a pair of home runs as the Yankees topped the Indians. That makes seven multi-homer games this season for the 22-year-old phenom. The record for most multi-homer games in a single season is 11 -- shared by Hank Greenberg and Sammy Sosa. While Torres will have a shot at matching or exceeding that total, he unfortunately will not get another chance to obliterate the Orioles’ pitching staff again this season.
Astros’ rookie sensation Yordan Alvarez did some yard work of his own on Saturday, clubbing a pair of solo home runs and driving in three in a losing effort against the Athletics. He’s hitting an absurd .344/.426/.719 with 19 homers and 55 RBI through his first 52 big league games.
Ryan McMahon blasted a pair of solo home runs -- two of the Rockies’ five total long balls -- in a lopsided victory over the Marlins. He has been locked in at the plate, smashing five home runs in his last five games.
Ryan Braun collected his first multi-homer game of the season as the Brewers won a wild extra-inning affair against the Nationals in which 11 total home runs were hit. His first solo shot in the fifth inning gave the Brewers a 6-5 lead, then he socked the Brewers’ third home run off of Sean Doolittle in the ninth inning, giving the Crew a 12-11 lead.
Braun’s teammate Christian Yelich also got in on the fun on Saturday. The MVP-hopeful led off the ninth inning with a solo shot off of Nationals’ left-hander Sean Doolittle, pulling the Brewers to within two runs at 11-9. He then tagged Javy Guerra for a go-ahead solo shot in the 13th inning -- his 41st homer of the season, tying him with Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger for the big league lead. Yelich finished the night a phenomenal 5-for-6 with three runs scored and four RBI. He also drew a walk in the contest and swiped his 24th base of the season. An absolute monster.
And finally, perhaps the guy that’s having the best season that no one is really talking about -- Danny Santana. The former Twins’ castoff has found new life with the Rangers this season and he’s doing some extremely impressive things at the plate. On Saturday, he crushed two-run homers off of Twins’ ace Jose Berrios in the first and second innings. He’s now hitting .309/.338/.584 with 21 homers, 58 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 95 games. The 28-year-old had hit a total of just 13 home runs over 364 games during his first five years in the big leagues prior to this season.
American League Quick Hits: Shohei Ohtani was able to throw breaking balls during a bullpen session on Saturday - the first time that he has done so since undergoing Tommy John surgery. It was a significant hurdle to overcome, especially since it was the curveball that hurt Ohtani’s elbow the most prior to his surgery. … Stephen Piscotty was removed from Saturday's game against the Astros due to a right ankle injury. … Aroldis Chapman secured his 35th save of the season with a perfect inning against the Indians to protect a one-run lead. ... Carlos Santana had three hits and drove in three runs in the loss to the Bombers... Matt Magill picked up his first career save -- striking out three in a scoreless ninth inning against the Blue Jays. … Bo Bichette belted his fifth home run in the loss there. ... Jordan Zimmermann pitched well in his return from the injured list, striking out six over five shutout innings in a no-decision. … Ryan Yarbrough was even better on the other side, punching out a career-high 10 batters over 6 ⅓ innings of shutout baseball in a no-decision against the Tigers. … Mike Brosseau delivered a pinch-hit walk-off RBI single in the 13th inning to end the battle of offensive ineptitude in that one. … Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his 14th victory of the season, firing 7 ⅓ shutout innings against the Orioles. … Rafael Devers clobbered his 26th home run to pace the Red Sox’ attack in that victory. … Miguel Sano went 3-for-6 and blasted his 23rd home run in a victory over the Rangers. … Brian Goodwin homered and drove in a pair of runs as the Angels topped the White Sox. ... Eloy Jimenez swatted his 21st home run in a losing effort there.
National League Quick Hits: Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias accepted his 20-game suspension for violating MLB’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. He’s already served five games while on administrative leave in May, so he has 15 games remaining to be served. … Max Scherzer (back) threw 64 pitches in a simulated game on Saturday. He’s expected to return to the Nationals’ rotation on Thursday. … Eugenio Suarez (thumb) sat out Saturday’s game as a precautionary measure. He’s tentatively expected to return to the lineup on Sunday. … The Braves placed Ender Inciarte on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. It’s possible that he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season. … Phillies’ closer David Robertson underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Thursday. … Jake Arrieta will undergo season-ending surgery later this month to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow. … Ketel Marte was scratched from the Diamondbacks’ starting lineup on Saturday due to lower back tightness. He’s considered day-to-day and is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday. … Kris Bryant slugged his 25th home run as the Cubs shut out the Pirates. … Jon Lester fired six shutout innings in that victory. … Rowan Wick closed that one out to earn his first career save. … Don’t expect him to see many chances though, as Craig Kimbrel (knee) is slated to return from the injured list on Sunday. … Steven Brault fanned a career-high eight batters in a losing effort against the Cubs. … Josh Donaldson swatted his 29th home run as the Braves topped the Dodgers. … Matt Beaty homered and swiped a base in a losing effort for the Dodgers. … Mark Melancon worked a scoreless ninth inning against the Dodgers to lock down his third save of the season. … Trevor Story went 3-for-3 with a homer, two walks and three RBI in a win over the Marlins. … German Marquez picked up his 12th victory, striking out eight over five innings of two-run baseball against the Marlins. ... Brandon Belt blasted a grand slam and drove in six runs as the Giants topped the Diamondbacks. … Kevin Pillar went 5-for-5 and scored three runs in that win. … Logan Webb was victorious in his big league debut on Saturday, striking out seven while allowing just one unearned run over five innings against the D’Backs. … Jacob deGrom struck out five over seven innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Royals. … Kirby Yates closed out the Phillies to earn his 34th save of the season. … J.T. Realmuto homered again in a losing effort there - his 19th of the season. … Adam Eaton had four hits, including a pair of doubles and a three-run homer -- in a wild loss to the Brewers. … Juan Soto crushed his 26th homer and swiped his 12th base in that one.